Mazagon Dock, L&T shortlisted for Rs45,000-cr submarine project

The Defence Acquisition Council has shortlisted state-owned Mazagaon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) and Larsen and Toubro (L&T) as Indian strategic partners (SP) for the Rs45,000 crore submarine project of the Indian Navy.

The DAC, chaired by defence minister Rajnath Singh, on Tuesday also approved shortlisting of the potential foreign companies or original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that would collaborate with local partners to construct six conventional submarines in India. 
These submarines will have Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) technology to give them the ability to stay underwater for weeks, according to reports.
The project, being promoted under the 'Strategic Partnership Model', announced in 2017 to give a major boost to 'Make in India' in defence Sector, is expected to play a transformational role in building an eco-system in the country by involving development entities, specialised vendors and suppliers; especially those from the MSME sector. 
The SP Model also aims at promoting India as a manufacturing hub for defence equipment, in addition to establishing an industrial and R&D eco-system capable of meeting the future requirements of the armed forces besides giving a boost to exports.
MDL and L&T will now respectively team up with foreign partners – an original equipment manufacturer – to put in the final bid for the manufacture of six next-generation conventionally powered submarines.
There are five original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), including South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME), France’s Naval Group, Spain’s Navantia, Russia’s Rosoboronexport and TKMS from Germany. MDL and L&T will each choose their respective partner from among these five companies. 
The Navy, according to reports, had reservations on the joint public-private bid for the biggest Make in India project for the defence sector and had refrained from going ahead with the project. However, defence production officials had emphasized that such combinations should be considered.
The DAC, meeting, chaired by defence minister Rajnath Singh, in its first meeting of 2020, and after the constitution of Chief of the Defence Staff, considered a number of new and ongoing proposals for procuring critically needed platforms and equipment for the armed forces.
To promote indigenisation, the DAC accorded approval for procurement of equipment worth over Rs5,100 crore from indigenous sources. These include sophisticated Electronic Warfare Systems for the Army designed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and manufactured locally by the Indian industry. These systems will be used in deserts and plains and will provide comprehensive Electronic Support and Counter Measure capabilities to the field formations in both communication and other aspects of Electronic Warfare.
The DAC also approved prototype testing of trawl assemblies designed by DRDO for T-72 and T-90 tanks providing an important indigenous de-mining capability to the Army.
The DAC also accorded approval for inclusion of Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) in Defence Procurement Procedure. This would provide avenues in capital procurement for the armed forces to startups and innovators working for iDEX and provide huge fillip to their budding efforts.  
Today's decisions are also in keeping with the mandate given to the CDS and the newly-constituted Department of Military Affairs to promote use of indigenous hardware by the Services.