The Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has issued a request for proposal (RFP) for the procurement of 100 heavyweight torpedoes for the Indian Navy’s new Scorpene-class (Kalvari-class) of diesel-electric attack submarines (SSKs) being licence-built by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) in Mumbai, according to media reports.
Industry sources told IHS Jane’s earlier this month that the “restricted and classified” RFP was issued in early July to France’s Naval Group, Germany’s Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems, Russia’s Rosoboronexport, and Sweden’s Saab. The heavyweight torpedoes are to be procured under the ‘Buy Global’ category of the MoD’s Defense Procurement Procedure 2016 and will be directly imported.
The Indian Navy reportedly favors the German SeaHake and the French F21 Artemis heavyweight torpedoes.
The Kalvari-class is presently not armed with a modern heavyweight torpedo. According to Indian media reports, for the time being the first-of-class INS Kalvari, which deployed during a military standoff between India and Pakistan this February and March, is armed with an upgraded version of the older German-made AEG SUT 264 torpedo.
A corruption scandal that involved a foreign supplier led to the cancellation of an order for 98 Black Shark torpedoes in 2017. As I explained at the time:
India’s MoD] (…) canceled the order for Black Shark heavyweight torpedoes, built by torpedo maker Whitehead Alenia Systemi Subacquei (WASS), a subsidiary of Italian arms manufacturer Finmeccanica, due to corruption allegations involving another Finmeccanica subsidiary, Agusta Westland. According to the Indian MoD, Agusta Westland representatives allegedly paid bribes for a 2010 purchase of 12 AW medium lift helicopters, which resulted in the termination of the contract in 2014 and the purported blacklisting of the company.
The Indian MoD has not publicly commented on the RFP to date. The selection process will take several months, and it could take two to three years for the new heavyweight torpedoes to enter to service with the Navy.
The Kalvari-class is currently being assembled at the MDL shipyard in Mumbai with the help of France’s Naval Group under the MoD’s Project-75, a $4.16 billion submarine construction program aiming to build six SSKs by 2022. To date, only one out of six SSKs has entered service with the Navy. MDL launched the the fourth Kalvari-class SSK this May.
Under the long-deferred Project-75 India (Project-75 I) six more SSKs, equipped with air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems, are to be built with an Indian partner with the option of building six additional subs. In June, the MoD has issued ‘requests for Expression of Interest’ (REoIs) to local shipyards inviting them to participate in the program.
As I reported previously, BrahMos Aerospace has been working on a supersonic cruise missile, designated BrahMos-NG, for the Navy’s Project-75 I future submarine force.