German conglomerate ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems is banking on its vast experience in design and construction of submarines and the fact that it has delivered subs for coastal and blue water deployment to the navies of 19 countries, to help deliver India’s next-generation submarines, the P-75(I). The Indian Navy had recently flagged off the next stage of P-75(I) by issuing Request For Information (RFI) to foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).
Even as the Strategic Partnership policy is set to unlock submarine building in the country, ThyssenKrupp is in talks with private Indian shipyards for tie-ups, and is keen to be the foreign OEM of choice for the P75(I) programme. The German submarine specialist had recently landed a contract to modernise two Indian Navy type 209/1500 submarines.
Lauding the massive technological capability available at Indian shipyards, Gurnad Sodhi, Managing Director, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems India, spoke to BusinessLine about how the P-75(I) contract would be an important milestone for the company, and how his team is looking forward to integrate any weapon system the Indian Navy may opt for. Edited excerpts:
Six advanced submarines are to be built under P-75(I). Why is air-independent propulsion (AIP) an enabling factor?
A crucial factor in non-nuclear submarines is the AIP system. Ever since there have been submarines, the goal has been to extend their diving time.
AIP helps make this possible, significantly increasing the underwater range and reducing the risk of discovery. Our AIP technology will help boost combat operation capability of India’s stealth vehicles.
The Indian Navy has announced it would not include its indigenous AIP system in the Scorpene submarines. How can you compete with other foreign OEMs with the AIP technology?
Most OEMs do not have a proven technology.
The German AIP is the only proven AIP in the world at present, and is actively being used by many navies worldwide where our boats are operating.
We have already committed that ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems will be happy to provide complete transfer of technology (ToT) to the Navy for the AIP system for P75(I).
To enable ToT, do you have any likely Indian partners in the fray?
We have already built two Type 209 submarines in collaboration with Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in the early nineties, and have a good relation with them. The Indian government had last month finalised and elaborated the Strategic Partner of the DPP (Defence Procurement Procedure) 2016.
We have visited and examined most Indian shipyards — private as well as public —like Larsen and Toubro, Reliance Defence, MDL, Hindustan Shipyard, and Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, and are aware of the immense technological capability available at each yard.
We will be happy to collaborate with any shipyard (public or private) with whom the the Indian government wishes us to build our boats in India under P75(I).
Have you received any indication in this regard?
We have regular interactions with the Indian Navy, and have amply demonstrated our commitments. Both the Navy and the Indian government are aware of this.
Has the company undertaken any AIP-related ToT?
ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems’ air-independent propulsion system is successfully running on our 209PN and 209R, 212A, 214 and Dolphin AIP submarines in six navies across the world — the German, Italian, South Korean, Israeli, Portuguese and Hellenic (Greek) Navies.This technology has been exported, and is presently being used for the manufacture of 3 + 6 Type 214 submarines under construction, with complete ToT in South Korea, in collaboration with Hyundai Heavy Industries.