BAKU, Azerbaijan, June 8. An MoU to cooperate in submarine production was inked between defence shipyard Mazagon Docks (MDL) and German company ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) on Wednesday, as a precursor to submission of a bid for the over Rs 42,000 crore project to build for the Navy, Trend reports.
The “non-binding and non-financial” MoU was inked in the presence of visiting , who on Tuesday had said that TKMS was in “a good place in the race” for the submarine-building programme that could become a “flagship project” in India-Germany defence ties.
“As per the MoU, TKMS will contribute to the engineering and design of the submarines as well as the consultancy support for this joint project. MDL, in turn, will take responsibility for constructing and delivering the submarines,” an official said.
Spanish firm Navantia and South Korean Daewoo are the other foreign contenders in the competition for the `Project-75 India’ project, which was first granted “acceptance for necessity” by the Indian defence ministry way back in November 2007.
The P-75I was supposed to be the first project under the “strategic partnership” policy promulgated in May 2017, but has been dogged by huge delays.
Under the global tender finally issued in July 2021, MDL or the private Larsen & Toubro shipyard will be selected to build the six stealth conventional submarines, with both landattack cruise missiles and air-independent propulsion (AIP), with foreign collaboration.
The commercial-technical bids now have to be submitted by August 1 after several extensions. French and Russian companies are out of the race because they do not have submarines with operational AIP, which extends the underwater endurance of diesel-electric submarines, as earlier reported by TOI.
It will take almost a decade for the first such submarine to roll out after the contract is eventually inked. Apart from the six new French-origin Scorpene submarines, constructed under the over Rs 23,000 crore `Project-75’ at MDL, the Navy is grappling with just six old Russian Kilo-class and four German HDW submarines in its conventional underwater fleet.
China, incidentally, has over 50 diesel-electric and 10 nuclear submarines. It is also supplying eight new Yuan-class diesel-electric submarines with AIP to Pakistan.