Project 75I :-Indian Navy’s Mega Submarine Project Update

Source:-Project 75I :-Indian Navy’s Mega Submarine Project Update

Indian Navy was raising the issue of ageing Submarine and spare parts for two decades, but Govt. instead of providing support was more concerned into there profit building exercise through back gate. Well, In the end , ship had already taken lot of water, then we had sad incident of INS Sindhurakshak, INS Sindhuratna and many other surface ships followed, which lead to resignation of then Chief of Naval Staff Admiral D K Joshi.

Current Govt. proactive approach towards the current situation is already being highly appreciated in Defence Circles, Clearance of Project 75(I) by CCS i.e. Cabinet Committee on Security headed by Prime Minster was much awaited step for Indian Navy sub surface.

The Project 75I-class submarine is a follow-on of the Project 75 Kalvari-class submarine for the Indian navy. Under this project, the Indian Navy intends to acquire 6 diesel-electric submarines, which will also feature advanced Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) systems to enable them to stay submerged for longer duration and substantially increase their operational range.

The six new submarines for the P-75I project is the next phase of the same submarine project and will be worth over $ 11.10 billion. According to the Indian Navy, the new submarines will differ from the earlier lot since the qualitative requirements have been altered. The new submarines will have air-independent propulsion (AIP) to enable sustenance under water for longer duration. In addition, there will be advanced detection range and combat management system besides better sensors for optimum performance. The weapon system would be a mix of torpedoes and missiles.

The six new submarines in P-75 I project will outline various critical parameters including the weight and design of the submarine. The Project 75I submarines are expected to be bigger than the 1800-ton Scorpene class being built for P-75 project. The AIP systems will enable greater underwater endurance and land-attack missiles. Besides, they will also incorporate stealth, land-attack capability and other technological advancements.
These are expected to form the backbone of India’s conventional submarine force along with the Scorpene submarines procured from the French firm DCNS. The project 75i submarines would have AIP by default unlike the Scorpene submarines.

The timely completion of this project is crucial keeping in view the already huge rapidly growing Chinese underwater fleet.

Make in India

Project-75 I, expected to cost over Rs. 60,000 crore, will be one of the first projects awarded to the private sector to build submarines with foreign collaboration under the Make in India initiative.
The Indian navy requested information from firms who had independently designed and constructed a complete modern conventional submarine which is currently in service / undergoing sea trials. The submarine should be capable of operating in open ocean and littoral / shallow waters in dense asw and ew environment and able to undertake following missions:-

Anti surface and anti submarine warfare, Supporting operations ashore, ISR missions, Special force and mining ops.
Prospective collaborators were requested to forward data regarding the following capabilities of the proposed design:-
Maximum diving depth without limitation on number of dives, Maximum operating range (dived-snort-surface) and mission endurance, Air independent propulsion system.
Torpedo tubes with capability to launch long range heavy weight wire guided torpedoes, missiles and method for weapon discharge.Externally launched torpedo decoy system.

Top Contenders

Japan was expected to offer its State-of-the-art Soryu Class Submarines. However, the Soryu class submarines are fitted with lithium-ion battery AIP system while submarines under Project 75I requires a fuel cell AIP system. Due to the technological difference, Japan did not replied to the RFI.
This leaves Rubin Design Bureau (Russia), ThyssenKrupp (Germany), Naval Group (France) and Saab (Sweden) in the fray.

Type 214 submarine By Germany:-

The Type 214 is a diesel-electric submarine developed by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft GmbH (HDW). It features diesel propulsion with an air-independent propulsion (AIP) system using Siemens polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) hydrogenfuel cells. The Type 214 submarine is derived from the Type 212, but as an export variant it lacks some of the classified technologies of its smaller predecessor, the most important of which is probably the non-magnetic steel hull, which makes the Type 212 submarine difficult to detect using a magnetic anomaly detector.
The submarine are a matchless, cost-effective solution for navies, whose primary operations are anti-surface ship/submarine operations, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tasks as well as for special forces operations. It is well equipped to operate in littoral waters to deep ocean patrols. Type 214 submarines are relatively cheaper than other submarines in the category.

Amur-class submarine By Russia

The Amur-class submarine (named for the Amur River), is one of the latest Russian submarine designs. It is advertised as an export version of the Lada-class, a modernised version of the Kilo-class submarine with improved acoustic stealth, new combat systems, and an option for air-independent propulsion (AIP).
These submarines are distinguished by the capability of firing up to 6 missiles simultaneously against sea and coastal targets, state-of-the-art electronic warfare systems and a sonar with a unique passive antenna to detect silent targets at a large range. Acoustic signature of the Amur 1650 submarine is several times lower compared to Kilo class submarines which are currently considered to be the most silent in the world.
The new vessels are the fourth generation of the Kilo submarine family, with two models developed.

Saab A-26 : Saab’s A26 submarine has a proven modular design and silent long-endurance. A26 uses the latest stealth technology and advanced tactical communication to allow submarines to integrate their communications with those of other defence forces. Operational flexibility, together with a comprehensive weapons suite, enables it to carry out a wide variety of missions like Maritime security operations, Intelligence operations, Covert mine countermeasure operations, Special operations by carrying, deploying and retrieving special forces along with equipment and underwater vehicles, Underwater work, Anti-submarine & anti-surface warfare, Mine-laying in covert mode.
The A26 submarines fair very well on paper, but not even a single A26 submarines has been commissioned till date. These submarines are not time proven as others in the category.
Saab’s A-26 is still under development and has delayed many times. It is not in service in any nation’s navy, not even in Swedish Navy. Buying of A-26 will be a bad gamble by the Indian Navy.

Scorpenes : Naval Group’s Scorpene submarines are designed for all types of mission, such as surface vessel warfare, anti-submarine warfare, long-range strikes, special operations or intelligence gathering.
With 14 Scorpenes sold to various nations including India, the Naval Group are looking to extend the sale by bagging Project 75I.
Scorpene are may be the runner-up in the Project 75I. Scorpenes are amongst most advanced submarines. But since India already has ordered 6 of them, India might wanted to buy some other variety than Scorpenes. The Scorpene data leak in 2016, may also keep Indians away from future Scorpenes order.

Barracuda Class Submarine

The Barracuda is designed with pump-jet propulsion instead of the conventional propeller, which will make the submarine quieter than propeller-driven ones. The pump-jet-propelled submarines are also faster and easily manoeuvrable. The conventional version of the Barracuda will have a vertical launch system to launch cruise missiles, a requirement for India’s P75I.
What is, however, more interesting is that India has asked France if it will be willing to help with the nuclear reactor technology. The French appear to be inclined. There is no law prohibiting cooperation on naval nuclear reactors (NNRs) which allowed India to lease the Russian Akula class nuclear attack submarine which is currently in operation with the Indian Navy.
If India is indeed seriously looking at the French NNR, it will mark a move from the highly enriched uranium (HEU) core that powers the Arihant-class SSBN to the low-enriched uranium (LEU) core that powers the French nuclear submarines.

Super Kalvari+ class

While Process to initiate Project 75I tender was started in 2014, Navy is yet to select an Indian shipyard nor any foreign original equipment manufacturer has been selected for the program to move forward. Due to delays in implementing Strategic partnership (SP) model and due to long cumbersome procurement procedure adopted to execute the project, many in Indian Navy fear that Project 75I too will face delays of 4-6 years like its predecessor Project-75 program derailing India’s 30-Year Submarine Building Plan for induction of 24 submarines in a phased manner completely.

With China making rapid increase in its footprint in Indian ocean , Recent reports hint that Navy and Government of India are considering a proposal floated by defence PSU to use Kalvari class submarine as a template to develop a new class of submarine which will replace imported content in the submarine with local alternatives sourced from Nuclear Arihant class project.

Kalvari+ will feature DRDO developed Air-independent propulsion (AIP) system and will also incorporate Vertical launch system (VLS) to launch Submarine launched Cruise missiles (SLCM) like BrahMos and Nirbhay. Kalvari+ will have stretched midsection to accommodate VLS due to which submarine will have higher displacement and will also have improved operational range.
Kalvari+ will have higher indigenized content and will have locally developed submarine Sonar suite, periscope and other sub-systems which India can source from Arihant class project. Kalvari+ not only will reduce timeline required to manufacture this six submarines for Indian navy but it also will help Public and Private sector companies to be better prepared to gain experience and expertise before India can initiate Project-76 which is to be executed after Project 75I.

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