First such acquisition under strategic partnership model to give a big boost to make in India
By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, June 5:
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, on Friday approved Request for Proposal (RFP) for the construction of six conventional submarines equipped with the state-of-the-art Air Independent Propulsion system(AIPS) at an estimated cost of Rs 43,000 crore.
The DAC approved the issue of RFP for construction of conventional submarines under Project P 75 (I), under the strategic partnership model. With accord of this approval, India will be able to achieve its 30-year submarine construction program envisioned by the Government to acquire national competence in submarine construction. The availability of new technologies and advanced manufacturing capabilities will be an important step towards enhancing the nation’s quest for self-reliance in modern conventional submarine construction and sustainment activities whilst creating direct and indirect job opportunities in India, Defence Minister tweeted.
This is a landmark approval, being the first case processed under the strategic partnership model. This would be one of the largest ‘Make in India’ projects, which will serve to facilitate faster and more significant absorption of technology and create a tiered industrial ecosystem for submarine construction in India. This will also help reduce current dependence on imports and gradually ensure greater self-reliance and dependability of supplies from indigenous sources.
This project provides a unique long-term opportunity and planning certainty for the industry to invest and support submarine construction. It will also infuse the latest technology and weaponry for submarines in India through a strategic tie-up between Indian Industry and leading foreign original equipment manufacturers( OEMs), Defence Ministry statement said.
The Indian strategic partners cleared to collaborate with the foreign OEMs are Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited and L&T. The foreign yards they can team up with for the project are the French Naval Group, German conglomerate Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems, Russia’s Rubin Design Bureau, Spain’s Navantia and South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Company.
The new submarines will be equipped with AIPS that will enable the vessels to stay underwater for longer periods and enhance their combat capabilities. In January 2020, the defence ministry had cleared two Indian and five foreign shipbuilders to take part in the project to build high-tech submarines in the country, one of the biggest Make in India programs in the military sector.
The ministry will take the project forward by issuing RFPs to the shortlisted Indian strategic partners who will then respond with techno-commercial offers in collaboration with one of the shortlisted OEMs. In exceptional cases, rules allow the Indian strategic partner to submit techno-commercial offers in collaboration with two OEMs. The next steps will involve opening and evaluation of technical offers, trials, staff evaluation, the opening of commercial offers of companies technically compliant with the RFP, and finally, the selection of the strategic partnership with the lowest bid.
Capital Acquisitions of various equipment
The DAC also approved proposals concerning capital acquisitions of various equipment for modernization and operational needs of the Armed Forces amounting to approx. Rs 6,000 crore under the Buy & Make (Indian) category. There was a long pending need of the Indian Army for the modernization of its Air Defence guns. These had been earlier procured only from foreign sources.
With the continued thrust of the Ministry of Defence towards ‘ÁtmaNirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Make in India’, an enthusiastic response from about a dozen Indian companies was received. All of them have expressed their willingness and commitment to manufacturing this complex gun system and associated equipment by ensuring technology assimilation in India. Further to better equip the Armed Forces to meet the operational challenges and facilitate faster induction of required arms and ammunition, the DAC has extended the timelines for progressing urgent capital acquisitions under the delegated powers to the Armed Forces up to August 31, 2021.
In meanwhile INS Sandhayak, the Indian Navy’s oldest Hydrographic Survey Vessel was decommissioned at Naval Dockyard in Visakhapatnam after serving the nation for 40 glorious years on Friday. The ship was decommissioned in a solemn and low-key event due to the ongoing COVID pandemic when the National Flag, Naval Ensign, and the Decommissioning Pennant were lowered at sunset time in the presence of Vice Admiral Ajendra Bahadur Singh, AVSM, VSM Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Naval Command. The Decommissioning Ceremony was also attended by Vice Admiral Vinay Badhwar, AVSM, NM Chief Hydrographer to Govt. of India, and by serving Hydrographers, outstation ex-crew members, and veterans virtually through live streaming.