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SOURCE: SRINIVAS GOWDA/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

Indian Navy’s Plan to procure six next-generation electric-diesel attack submarines under the Project-75 India might be heading towards a single vendor situation after the pullout of France, Germany, and Russia from the tender off late. Some countries don’t have tried and tested technologies like lithium-ion batteries or Air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems that forced them to Quit and others didn’t want to transfer technology to India to safeguard their Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs).

Indian designed design for the attack submarine is still in infancy and will take Naval Bureau few years before it can come with an indigenous design but with an aging underwater submarine fleet, India simply can’t wait for Project-76 and will need to develop an interim solution which might help India come up with some of the technologies locally while it can scout for critical technologies that could take longer to develop from countries like France.

France’s defense company Naval Group, formerly known as DCNS should be hired as a technical consultant for the project-75 India program where either a modified version of the Scorpene class diesel-powered submarine is used as a base to develop a new line of the submarine with Indo-French technologies or undeveloped french design is purchased with maximum Indian made components.

Naval Group over the past decade has designed many unique submarine concepts that have not become a reality. Now Scrapped Proposed shortfin barracuda submarine for Australia had completed comprehensive design milestones before it was scrapped by Australia for the Nuclear attack program. India should offer Naval Group to purchase outright designs and tools to manufacture these submarines in India with them hired as external consultants so that India maintains Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) of the design and also take french help to incorporate Indian systems like AIP and lithium-ion batteries that will mature in next 5-7 years.

The construction of Scorpène-class submarines in India allowed local shipyards to gain technical know-how and trained manpower to manufacture electric-diesel attack submarines back in the country after a gap of 20+ years but it lacked any Indian technical contribution to the program and India won’t be in a position to develop next-generation submarines without Indian systems and components maturing first. Project-75 India if executed with a technical consultant with Indo-French technologies with proven or established design can become reality at a faster rate with India maintaining its Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs).

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