After pulling out of the contest for new submarines required by the Indian Navy, Russian designers say that the project is unrealistic as the desired technologies cannot be made available within the strict timelines being defined.
As reported by ET in February, Russia pulled out of the Rs 43,000 crore contest for six new submarines under Project 75I that are to be made at an Indian shipyard in collaboration with a foreign technology partner.
At that time `technical reasons’ were cited for the withdrawal. Elaborating on the concerns with the project, Andrey Baranov, the Deputy Director General of Rubin Design Bureau has said that the requirement is for a brand new submarine design that would present difficulties at the manufacturing stage. Rubin is the leading Russian design bureau for a range of submarines, including the Kilo class used by India.
“Our major concern is that the requirements specified by the Navy and the timeline for the project are not matching. The Indian Navy would like to have the latest, state of the art submarine with powerful weapons, an Air Independent System and high stealth. No one in the world has such a submarine ready,” Baranov said at the Army 2022 exhibition.
The submarine designer said that difficulties are expected to surface when the first submarine under Project 75I goes under production. “The key requirement was that the submarines have to be made in India from the beginning and if the timelines are not met, the penalties are very high. A lot of responsibility is assigned to the designers but at the same time, the designers have no influence on the construction process that will happen in India,” Baranov said.
He added that several such technical considerations were behind the withdrawal from the project and that other contenders like Sweden and France are also not participating.
The Indian Navy’s Project 75I has already hit several delays, with other foreign contenders and Indian partners seeking additional time to formulate their proposals. At least two time extensions have been granted by the ministry as foreign technology partners have expressed their inability to conclude talks with Indian yards, due to complex technical requirements.
As reported, the Navy’s ambitious plan hit choppy waters in its early stages, with the condition of a functional Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) spelled out in the technical documents ruling out most foreign collaborators from the project.
The Indian companies shortlisted for the construction – Mazagaon Dockyards Ltd (MDL) and Larsen and Toubro (L&T) – have been in discussions with foreign technology partners from Germany, France, Russia, South Korea and Spain for the past few years to chalk out a technology transfer plan.
Only Germany and South Korean participants have a functional AIP system that they can demonstrate, as it required by the Indian Navy, ruling out the rest from the competition.