The Defence Ministry on Friday (June 4) cleared a mega project to build six new generation stealth submarines for the Indian Navy at a cost of around ₹43,000 crore, a decision aimed at narrowing the gap with growing naval prowess of China, government sources said.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
The DAC is the Defence Ministry’s highest decision-making body on procurement.
The sources said the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the make-in-India project named ‘P-75 India’ will be issued soon.
The sources said the groundwork like specifications of the submarines and other critical requirements for issuance of the RFP for the mega project has been completed by separate teams of the Defence Ministry and the Indian Navy.
Media reports said the DAC approved the tender or RFP to be issued to defence Mazagon Docks (MDL) and private ship-builder L&T.
The ‘P-75 I’ is said to be the first to be launched under the strategic partnership policy, which was launched by the NDA government in May 2017 under the overall Make in India initiative.
The two Indian ‘strategic partners’, MDL and L&T, will tie up with one of the five selected foreign shipbuilders to submit their technical and financial bids.
The five shipbuilders are drawn from Russia, France, Germany, Spain and South Korea.
The project for six submarines, with both land-attack cruise missiles and air-independent propulsion for greater underwater endurance, was given AoN (acceptance for necessity) in 2007.
China already has the world’s largest Navy with 350 warships, including 10 nuclear submarines. Pakistan is in the process of acquiring eight Yuan class diesel-electric submarines, four stealth frigates and other platforms from China.
The Indian Navy has so far inducted three of the six French origin Scorpene submarines being constructed under the over ₹23,000 crore ‘Project 75’ under way at MDL.