Along with P-75 India, our offer for three additional Scorpene submarines is still on table: French Naval Group chairman
At a time when Indian Navy is looking to add more submarines into its fleet, French firm Naval Group has said that its offer to India for buying three additional Scorpene-class submarines was still on and would help India to utilise the investments made by it in the project for last 15 years.
Indian defence PSU Mazagon Dockyards Limited and the French Naval Group have been jointly building the Scorpene-class submarines at Mumbai after the contract was signed in 2005 between the two sides. The Indian Navy is going to induct all the six Scorpene boats in the next three to four years and has already issued a new tender Project 75-India for buying six new submarines with foreign collaboration under the strategic partnership policy.
“The offer is still on the table. We still believe it is a very good solution to keep 15 years of Make in India intact,” Herve Guillou, chairman and chief executive of Naval Group told ANI in an interview.
Guillou was in India last week for reviewing the firm’s Indian operations and held meetings with senior Indian defence and naval leadership.
He said the Naval Group is, of course, going to participate in the tender for supplying the six boats for the P-75 India project with the latest technologies expected by Indian Navy.
On the issue of three additional submarines, as an extension of the ongoing Scorpene submarine project, the Naval Group chairman said the issue was not just about keeping the work going on at the MDL or the personnel there trained for the programme “but also to more than 43 other companies who will have nothing to do for submarine industry after supplying equipment for the sixth Socrpene class boat.”
“Not using them is a huge waste of investment. All your investment will fade away. So, three additional submarines could be a quick and good opportunity for India to keep and to value the investment made in the last 15 years,” he said.
On the ongoing Scorpene programme for the Indian Navy, the Naval Group chairman said the first boat of the class has already been inducted and the “feedback that we are getting from the French Navy also which operated with the INS Kalvari of the Indian Navy during exercise Varuna is that the military performances are good.
Asked about the delays in the induction of the second and third Scorpene class boats in the Navy named INS Khanderi and INS Karanj, the Naval Group chairman said the Khanderi was about to be commissioned in the Navy in the next few coming weeks.
On the issue of observations made by the Indian Navy during the trials of the INS Karanj, the Naval Group said they were aware of six main observations made by the Indian side which are in the process of being addressed and resolved.
He said any submarine being built world over and has more than a million parts and six observations during the trial should not be a major industrial obstacle.
During recent sea trials of the INS Karanj, the Indian Navy had made certain observations regarding the performance of different parts of the submarine and some of the corrections or rectifications suggested can be implemented only after the Monsoons get over.
Responding on more than Rs 50,000 crore Project-75 India for building six bigger and better submarines for the Navy, the Naval Group said it would be offering a solution for the force on the basis of requirements put across by the Indian side in its tender.