Russia is offering India to jointly develop a new diesel-electric attack submarine (SSK) class based on the Russian Amur-1650 SSK, the deputy director of the Russian Federal Service of Military-Technical Cooperation, Vladimir Drozhzhov, said on July 9.
The joint SSK project would reportedly involve a significant transfer of military technology from Russia to India that would go beyond usual license-production agreements.
“We are not put forward [an idea of] usual licensed production of submarine, we are proposing to jointly devise a project with our Indian partners and jointly build the first pilot model on the basis of the Amur-1650 diesel-electric submarine project, equipped with an air-independent propulsion system,” Drozhzhov was quoted as saying by TASS news agency on July 9.
Last month, India’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) said it was seeking to domestically construct six SSKs equipped with air-independent propulsion systems (AIP) under the ministry’s long-deferred Project-75 India (Project-75 I).
Russia is competing with Naval Group (France), Kockums (Sweden) and Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (Germany) for the contract following a request for information (RFI) issued by the Indian MoD for P-75I in July 2017. The Indian MoD is not expected to pick a foreign partner for at least another two years.
The Defense Acquisition Council, the Indian MoD’s principal procurement body approved the procurement of the six new SSKs in January of this year under the MoD’s strategic partnership (SP) model within the framework of the Defense Procurement Procedure 2016.
“Our preliminary proposal is much more favorable than those of other foreign partners,” Drozhzhov said emphasizing that India would be capable of building SSKs without Russian support following technological transfers, the latter of which has proven to be a major stumbling block in joint Indo-Russian defense projects in the past.
The total contract value is estimated at around $6 billion. Under Project 75-I, the Indian Navy will also have the option to manufacture six additional SSKs.
The Amur-1650 is the export version of the Project 677 Lada-class. Notably, Russia has been struggling to develop a functioning AIP system to date and will not equip Lada-class SSKs with AIP for the time being. India in turn has been working on an indigenous AIP system that could be integrated on a proposed Indo-Russian SSK. As I reported last year:
With a total displacement of 2,700 metric tons (submerged), the sub only needs a crew of 38 to operate. Lada-subs are equipped with an advanced sonar and the automated combat control system Litiy. The submarine can accommodate six torpedo tubes and [reportedly] features specialized vertical missile silos for anti-ship and land attack cruise missiles. The Lada-class’ primary mission will be coastal defense against enemy submarines and surface vessels, surveillance and reconnaissance as well as intelligence gathering missions.
Drozhzhov also noted that the new SSK would be armed with the BrahMos supersonic land-attack/anti-ship cruise missile, a joint venture between India’s Defense Research Development Organization and Russian rocket design bureau NPO Mashinostroyeniya.