The Indian Navy has issued RFIs (request for information) to a number of international shipbuilding and design yards/firms for the next generation of submarines to be constructed at its shipyards. When issued, the contract will be worth an estimated Rs30,000 crore and provide a second line of conventionally propelled submarines after the state-of-the-art French designed Scorpene hunter killer submarines currently under manufacture at French and Indian shipyards.
The Scorpene project is being executed at a cost of Rs18,798-crore.
According to naval sources, the RFIs (request for information) has been issued to Russian (Rosoboronexport), French (Armaris) and German (HDW) firms, amongst others, and that two rounds of discussions have already taken place. Sources said that another round of discussions were likely before the RFP (request for proposal), or a global tender, was issued in late-2008 or early-2009.
To be executed under Project -75A all the six vessels of this second line of diesel-electric submarines, will be equipped with air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems which will significantly boost their operational capabilities.
The AIP system enables conventional diesel-electric submarines to stay submerged longer than other conventional subs which have to surface or snorkel every few days to get oxygen to recharge their batteries.
These subs will posses a high degree of stealth, land-attack capability and the ability to incorporate futuristic technologies. Like the Scorpenes, they will also be built in an Indian shipyard with special emphasis on full transfer of technology, sources stated.
Pakistan commissioned its first Mesma AIP-equipped French Agosta-90B submarine last month, which is the third of the Agosta-class subs it has been constructing since 1999.