Monday, August 17, 2009

Indian Navy likely to get new diesel submarines

The Defence Ministry is believed to have cleared the decks for the Navy to purchase diesel-powered submarines to replace its ageing fleet of Russian submarines. The purchase is reported to be worth over Rs 25,000 crore.

The proposed acquisition of submarines was discussed Monday during the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) meeting which clears the acquisitions by the armed forces chaired by Defence Minister A K Antony. The meeting also discussed Armys proposal to upgrade Air Defence equipment guns and missiles systems.

Though the Indian Navy has already ordered six French Scorpene Hunter submarines, the first of which is expected to be inducted by 2012, at a cost of over Rs 18,000 crore, it is looking for a second line of modern submarines to replace the old Kilo and Foxtrot series submarines, which are currently the mainstay of its submarine fleet.

The Navy is keen on the new set of advanced submarines, equipped with Air Independent Propulsion (AIP), as it will considerably boost its ability to stay submerged.

The Navy had issued RFIs (Request for Information) to major companies including German HDW, French Armaris and Russian Rosoboronexport for the submarines in 2007 but it is yet to issue a tender for the acquisition. Sources, however, said the tender will be issued shortly.

The Navy is keen to expedite the acquisition of the submarines partly because Pakistan inducted its first AIP equipped French origin submarine last year.Unlike other warships, AIP equipped subs do not need to surface frequently to take in oxygen and can stay submerged for days. As a result these submarines are quieter than nuclear submarines and more enduring.

Besides acquiring new submarines, India is also in the process of inducting its own fleet of nuclear submarines. The first of the three indigenously built Arihant nuclear submarines was launched last month. Besides the Navy will also get a Russian Nerpa class nuclear attack submarine that on a ten year lease.


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