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SOURCE: MAHESH SHETTI / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

India’s Project-75(I) most important and strategically significant naval programs being undertaken by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for construction of six conventional submarines for the Indian Navy for Rs 45,000 crore is likely to face further delays as tight defense budget and Chinese virus pandemic situation in the country and halted economic activity leaves little room for India to carry out major defense acquisition programs.

Project-75(I) was supposed to be the last time India built-in India, next-generation conventional submarines through technology transfer from foreign partners before India moves to local design and production of next-generation 12 submarines in near future. The current situation does provide the Indian Navy and Private sector shipyards and defense firms an opportunity to fast track what was was initially planned in the development of local submarine technology.

India can use the current Scorpene submarine as a base to develop a locally enhanced submarine design for Project-75(I). India and France share a good and deep military relationship and India can use this leverage to either buy intellectual property rights of the submarine design or pay them some royalties so that the next generation of submarines under Project-75(I) can be developed with higher local content to built local manpower talent both in Public and Private sector space and the technologies required.

The second option for the Indian Navy under Project-75(I) could be to convert existing Nuclear Attack Submarine design into a Conventional design and use technology received under TOT for the Scorpene submarine program to develop a Hybrid Indian-French conventional submarine.

The third option could be to procure design for the Upgraded Kilo Submarine from Russia and use that as a base to develop a new submarine with Indian technologies which already has been developed for India’s nuclear submarines.

the Last option which is not going to be easy and will be the most time consuming one, which will be to go for a clean-sheet design of the new submarine which can gradually be improved over the years for every generation.

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