Explaining the process, a senior officer said, “The MoD has set a very aggressive time line for this project. The plan is to complete the process of selection for the Indian strategic partner, and also to complete the process for the selection of the OEMs, so that in October the request for proposal (RfP) is issued. The plan is to get the long delayed P-75i programme on track by March 2018.” According to sources, the MoD soon after the approval of the SP Model started seeking financial details of the companies which are going to get the EoI for the P 75i.
The OEMs that are expected to get the EoI include DCNS of France, SAAB of Sweden, Rosoboronexport State Corporation of Russia and German ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems. A high level committee headed by a senior Navy officer was designated to inspect both public and private shipyards to shortlist candidates to issue the RfP for the project (designated P-75i).
In its final presentation to the MoD, the committee down selected two private sector shipyards for building six conventional submarines– L&T and Pipavav Defence. This will be a ‘Buy and Make (India)’ tender, with an Indian shipyard taking the lead in responding to the tender. The committee with representatives from the Navy and the MoD conducted a survey of shipyards along both coasts including Garden Reach Shipbuilders, Hindustan Shipyard, Goa Shipyard, L&T, Mazgaon Docks, ABG Shipyard and Pipavav Shipyard.
According to the government’s decision, all six submarines will be built in India on the lines of the predecessor P75 `Scorpene’ production line at Mazgaon Dock (MDL), Mumbai. Bids will be invited from Indian shipyards to build the six submarines using transferred technology from a foreign partner.
Due to long delays in the `Scorpene’ (project 75) at Mazgaon Dock Limited (Mumbai) which was intended to induct the vessels at the rate on one ship per year since 2012 has left the Submarine force well below requisite levels. Also, previously planned induction of five midget submarines, combined with the fresh impetus on the strategic submarine program constitute a work-load that is far beyond the capacity of existing public sector shipyards.
According to the Indian Navy, the new submarines will differ from the earlier lot since the qualitative requirements have been altered. The six new submarines in P-75i project will outline various critical parameters including the weight and design of the submarine. These submarines are expected to be bigger than the 1800-ton `Scorpene’ class being built for P-75 project.