Indian Navy issues EOI for shortlisting Strategic Partners for building six submarines worth Rs 45,000 crore

The EOI for shortlisting foreign OEMs will be issued in two weeks, the defence ministry said.

The Centre has taken a major step towards building advanced submarines for the Indian Navy. The defence ministry on Thursday issued an Expression of Interest to shortlist Indian strategic partners for the construction of six conventional submarines under Project 75 India (P-75I) worth about Rs 45,000 crore.

This is a step towards opening a second production line for diesel electric submarines in India. The first being the French designed Scorpene class submarines being constructed at Mazagon docks in Mumbai under Project-75.

The Project 75 India is also the second project being undertaken under the Strategic Partnership model, with the first being the procurement of 111 Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH). The model is being implemented to enable participation of private Indian firms in Make in India in defence. The Indian strategic partner will be the systems integrator by building an extensive ecosystem and will tie-up with foreign manufacturers to cover manufacturing, transfer of technology and assistance in building ..

“As a major initiative towards ‘Make in India’, the government immediately on taking over has issued the Expression of Interest(s) (EOI) for shortlisting potential Indian Strategic Partners (SPs) for construction of six conventional submarines for P-75(I) Project of the Indian Navy on June 20. The project cost is about Rs 45,000 crore...This would provide a major boost to the indigenous design and construction capability of submarines in India in addition to bringing in the latest submarine design and technologies as part of the project,” said the defence ministry.

The acquisition was approved on January 31 by the Defence Acquisition Council led by the then Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. This was followed by the issuing of the EOI for shortlisting Indian SPs. The potential SPs are expected to respond to the EOI within two months. Three Indian shipyards- L&T, Mazagon Docks Shipbuilders Limited and Hindustan Shipyard Limited- are expected to respond to the EOI.The Indian companies would be shortlisted based on their capability for integration of system of systems, expertise in shipbuilding domain and the financial strength. The next step would be to issue the Request for Proposal to the shortlisted companies.

The EOI for shortlisting foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers will be issued in two weeks, the ministry said. Four foreign manufacturers- France’s Naval Group, Sweden’s Saab, Russia’s Rubin Design Bureau and Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems- are expected to respond to this EOI. The manufacturers would be shortlisted based on their submarine design meeting the navy’s requirements and qualifying the Transfer of Technology and Indigenous Content criteria.

The SPs in collaboration with the manufacturers will set up dedicated manufacturing lines for these submarines in India. All six submarines under this project will be built in India by the selected Indian Strategic Partner in collaboration with the selected manufacturer. “The Indian Navy would also have the option to manufacture six more submarines under the project,” said the ministry.

It is expected that the project would not only help in boosting the submarine and ship building industry, but also enhance the manufacturing sector, especially of the MSMEs by developing an ecosystem for making spares and equipment.

In 1999, the Cabinet Committee on Security had approved a ‘30-Year Plan for Indigenous Submarine Construction’, which was to develop two production lines on which six submarines each- named Project 75 and Project 75 (I)- would be built with foreign submarine makers. The two projects are important for the navy to replace its ageing Sindhughosh and Shishumar class submarines, which number around 13 and most of which are close to 30 years old. While the first Scorpene class submarine, INS Kalvari, was commissioned into the navy in December 2017, the remaining five are at different stages of construction and trials.