The defence ministry has taken up an ambitious project to build six advanced submarines in the country at a cost of Rs 40,000. The ministry has approved this project last evening under the government’s ‘strategic partnership’ (SP) model to bolster the Indian Navy’s underwater force levels.
According to a defence ministry spokesperson, this will be the second project to be cleared by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) under the SP model, which seeks to provide fillip to the government’s Make in India programme.
The DAC, headed by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, cleared the first project last August for building 111 naval utility helicopters (NUH) to replace the navy’s outdated fleet of French-designed Chetak choppers. The NUH project is worth Rs 21,738 crore.
“Construction of six submarines under Project-75I will provide a major boost to the existing submarine design and manufacturing ecosystem in India through transfer of design and equipment technology as well as necessary skill sets,” the ministry added.
The strategic partnership model envisages indigenous manufacturing of major defence platforms by an Indian strategic partner who will collaborate with a foreign original equipment manufacturer to set up production facilities in the country.
Apart from choppers and next-generation submarines, fighter planes and armoured vehicles are also covered under the SP model. Several foreign manufacturers are alliances with domestic shipyards to compete for the submarine project.
Those interested in the project including shipbuilders from Russia, France, Germany and Sweden. P-75I will help the navy counter the swift expansion of China’s submarine fleet.