Indian MOD Shuns Private Shipyards for Submarine Project

By admin • August 31st, 2010

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India Defence Online, New Delhi — In a crucial turnaround of events, the Indian private shipbuilders have been sidelined from India’s submarine programme. This is due to the fact that the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), part of the Indian Defence Ministry, has decided to exclude private participation in the construction of submarines.

According to sources, two submarines that were to be built under the Project-75I by private shipbuilders will now be built at international shipyards. This move has been substantiated by the Indian Navy who feels that a constant delay in indigenous submarine production has caused lot of harm to the Indian Navy’s plans.

The initial plan of the Project 75I involved all the six submarines to be built in India. Three submarines were to be made by state-owned Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL), one by state-owned Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) and Indian private sector shipyards Larsen & Toubro and Pipavav were to compete for building two submarines.

As of now, the Indian Navy has insisted that the first two submarines must be built abroad. Hence, the role of private shipyards has been erased from the picture. The Indian Navy feels that at least two new submarines will join the Indian Navy as it is already running short of submarines.

This decision to sideline the private sector will severely affect the morale of major players like Larsen & Toubro who have invested large capital in shipyards with a view to help the Indian navy and its submarine building programme.

In fact, it has been argued that state-owned MDL has got its hands full and is already running 30 months late in delivering the first of six Scorpene submarines that it was contracted to build under Project 75. Instead of opting for the private shipyard, MDL has been given an additional order to build another three submarines.

However, the Indian defence Ministry has made an elaborate plan for the Mazagon shipyard for simultaneously executing the Scorpene order (Project 75) and the three additional submarines, which are a part of the six-submarine Project 75I order.

According to the Indian Defence Minister A.K.Anthony, Project 75 would complete work by the second half of 2018. However, Project 75I can begin as early as 2012 since by then, all six Scorpene hulls will be fully built and the specialised hull workers and welders of MDL could begin fabricating hulls for Project 75I.

According to Defence Ministry officials, the delay in Scorpene submarines will be minimised to less than 18 months. The original plan was for the first Scorpene to be delivered in December 2012 and the other five submarines at one-year intervals till December 2017. While the first Scorpene will only be ready in August 2015, MDL will deliver the others at nine-month intervals and finish the last Scorpene by May 2019.

Source: India Defence Online

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