RFP for the submarine likely to come out by early 2018
A FORCE Report
St Petersburg, Russia: In May this year, deputy director general on foreign activities, Rubin Design Bureau, Andrei I. Baranov, visited HQs Integrated Defence Staff in New Delhi on the invitation of the Indian Navy to discuss possible options of cooperation on Project-75 India. Speaking to FORCE at the naval show IMDS, Baranov said that he was informed by HQ IDS that the government is likely to nominate either Larsen and Toubro or Reliance Defence as the strategic partner for this long awaited submarine-building plan.
According to Baranov, the Indian Navy has already finalised its staff qualitative requirements for the submarine and he expects the RFP to come out by early next year. Baranov says that Russia will offer to co-design with directorate general of naval design (DGND) an entirely new submarine for the Indian Navy. Amur 1650, which was presumed to be the Russian submarine on offer to India, is a mere prototype on which the Russian Navy Lada submarine is based.
While Rubin-designed Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system is ready and has already undergone shore-based trials, Baranov insists that this technology will be proven and validated by the time the programme reaches contract-signing stage.
Interestingly, Rubin is also open to the idea of working with DRDO’s AIP. “Dr Christopher (DRDO chief) visited St Petersburg in end March and was pleased with the progress we have made on our AIP. We discussed the possibility of cooperating on the AIP and will possibly sign the contract with the DRDO by the end of this year,” Baranov says.
All that remains now is for Russia to give its assessment on the states of the two shipyards to the government of India and for the latter to make up its mind about who to give this prestigious project, because on this will depend the time it takes to make and deliver the submarines to the Indian Navy. On several occasions in the past, Rubin has made known its preference for L&T as the most competent shipyard for submarine construction. But even L&T would take about a decade to deliver the first boat given the complexities involved.