Centre to launch bidding process for six submarines worth Rs 55,000 crore

The Central government will start the bidding process by October 2020 for Rs 55,000 crore mega project to build six conventional submarines for the Indian Navy.

The submarines will be built in India under strategic partnership model that allows domestic companies to join hands with leading foreign defence majors to produce high-end military platforms in the country and reduce import dependence.

The groundwork, like specifications of the submarines and other critical requirements for issuance of the request for proposal (RfP) for the mega project named as P-75 I, has been completed by separate teams of the Defence Ministry and the Indian Navy. The RFP will be issued by October 2020.

The Defence Ministry has already shortlisted two Indian shipyards and five foreign defence majors for the project, being billed as one of the biggest Make in India ventures.

The shortlisted Indian entities were Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and state-owned Mazagaon Docks (MDL), while the select foreign entities included ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (Germany), Navantia (Spain) and Naval Group (France).

Initially, the Defence Ministry will issue RfPs to MDL and L&T and the two firms will have to submit their detailed bid after receiving the document. Subsequently, L&T and MDL will have to select a foreign partner out of the five shortlisted entities.

The Indian Navy plans to acquire 24 new submarines, including six nuclear attack submarines, to bolster its underwater fighting capability. It currently has 15 conventional submarines and two nuclear submarines.

The Indian Navy is also in the process of procuring 57 carrier-borne fighter jets, 111 Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH) and 123 multi-role helicopters under the strategic partnership model.

The policy envisages establishment of long-term strategic partnerships with Indian defence majors through a transparent and competitive process wherein they would tie up with global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to seek technology transfers.

Initially, the strategic partners will be selected in four segments — fighter aircraft, helicopters, submarines and armoured fighting vehicles/main battle tanks. It is expected to be expanded to other segments.

The Defence Ministry has set a goal of a turnover of USD 25 billion (Rs 1.75 lakh crore) in defence manufacturing in the next five years that include an export target of USD five billion (Rs 35,000 crore) of military hardware.

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