SOURCE: MANJUNATH REDDDY/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, have decided not to send their bid documents for their diesel-electric Soryu attack submarines in response to India’s Project-75I tender for procurement of Six new attack submarines for Indian Navy.
Recent media Hype in India, that Japan this time will be positive to India request and will finally offer their Soryu attack submarines for the tender seems to be due to their lack of understanding of the Japanese continues persistence and hesitation on transfer of technology (ToT) of their Super Secretive Soryu Submarine dubbed “Crown Jewel” of Japan Maritime Self- Defense Force .
Soryu’s special steel used in Hull and noise reduction mechanism adopted to enhance its Stealth characters has been classified as top secret by Japanese government and transfer of such critical technology to India’s strategic private partner is a high-risk threat perception which they simply cannot ignore and Japanese are also fully aware that in case of a war with China, Win or Defeat will be decided at the sea by how they use their Soryu submarine fleet against a mightly Chinese Navy in the region .
India’s Project-75I tender also requires several user-specified modifications like the integration of Vertical launched BrahMos Cruise missile along with Indian weapons systems for their operational usage. 3rd party and Indian weapons integration could also mean a transfer of source code of fire control computers mechanism in the submarine.
Soryu which uses expensive materials and components like use of Lithium-ion propulsion technology for its AIP system could have made this submarines considerably more expensive than other bidders in the tender and retired Indian Naval submariners too were not impressed with submarines over operational capabilities which comes close to Nuclear attack submarines class, which India is already working on and also that Japanese submarines usually only have shelf life of 20 years or less and are more climatised to operate in the waters of North pacific ocean .
India Navy not only will be going for bigger submarines in contrast to Project-75 submarines constructed in India but will also push for a greater transfer of technology (ToT) along with Indigenisation of the submarine to allow Indian Public-Private shipyards to absorb and then design and develop their own Diesel submarines in future. Soryu staying out could be blessing in disguise for India’s slow pace of the tendering process since we have now lesser competition which could ensure a faster turn around time to decide a winner.