India’s Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Karambir Singh during a media interaction yesterday, confirms that the long awaiting RFP for P75I submarine project to be issued after next DAC meet.
Under Project P75I, Navy aims to acquire 6 Diesel-Electric Submarines, fitted with an advance AIP (Air Independent Propulsion), which will enable these submarines to stay submerged in the sea for longer duration.
P75I is the follow on order of Project P75 Kalvari or Scorpene class Submarine that are currently inducting in to the service of Indian Navy. All the 6 submarines under this project will be constructed in India with foreign shipyard collaboration.
Why Project P75I is crucial for Indian Navy ?
Indian Navy currently has a fleet of 14 Diesel-Electric attack submarines (SSK) and 1 nuclear power attack submarines (SSN) active in the service of Navy. 4 more Kalvari Class boats will be inducted in to the service by 2022 taking total toll to 19.
India has a 7516.6 km of coastline border, protecting country’s vast coastline and maintaining India’s strong presence in Indian Ocean with just 19 submarine is not enough.
While on the other hand, Chinese Peoples Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has a massive fleet of 60+ attack submarines and by 2030 China will have more submarines than United States.
Pakistan currently has 8 submarines active in their service, countering China and Pakistan with having just 19 submersible ships in the fleet is not an ideal situation.
To improve India’s coastline security P75I came into the picture. P75I will not only increase the fleet of submersible ship in Indian Navy but it will also provide us technology, infrastructure and experience so that we can make more ships indigenously without the help of any foreign partner.
India is already developed SSBN (Ship Submersible Ballistic Nuclear) INS Arihant, we have working plans to construct 6 Nuclear Power Attack Submarines (SSN) and in coming years, India have plan to construct 12 Diesel-Electric attack submarines indigenously under Project P76.
The five foreign manufacturers shortlisted by the government were German – ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, Russian – Rubin Design Bureau, Navantia from Spain, Naval Group of France, and South Korean – Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering.
The Government of India shortlisted Larsen & Toubro and Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders as the two Indian firms and these 2 firms will have to tie up with one of the five foreign firms for the project.
Submarine under Project P75I will be able to launch land-attack and anti-ship cruise missiles which will make these ships more deadlier.
These Submersible Ships will come up with AIP technology unlike its predecessor INS Kalvari, where will plugged during mid-life refit.
AIP will help these ship to stay submerged in the ocean for longer duration and the new lithium ion battery technology by DRDO will further enhance the capability and they can stay submerged in water for much longer duration.
Although it wasn’t clear that whether these ships will feature its own AIP system or DRDO made AIP will be fitted in to these submersible ships. However DRDO AIP system is yet to be develop.
A fleet of 30+ Diesel-Electric attack submarines and 6 SSN will help India to balance the power in the sub-continent.
It is expected that the project will cost around ₹45,000-50,000 and all the six submarines will be Made in India