Model of a Russian drawing-board design Amur 1650 being marketed by state-run arms seller Rosoboronexport for India's new submarine project P-75(I). Amur's strengths include much in common with India's current Kilos and Amur might be able to be fitted with joint Indian-Russian BrahMos cruise missiles or Klubs as land attack and anti-shipping weapons. An Amur weakness is the lack of a mature AIP system.
Increasing number of Chinese submarines are visiting or even patrolling the Indian Ocean. This is causing increasing concerns in India. With India's small mainly aging submarine fleet India may be accelerating its Project-75(I) to buy 6 new AIP equipped SSKs. China can also extend its naval power through selling Type 039A Yuan SSKs to Thailand and Pakistan along with the two Ming class submarines China is selling to Bangladesh.
Rahul Singh for the Hindustan Times, July 12, 2015 has written an excellent summary of the Indian submarine fleet's current state of play. Singh does not make the frequent mistake of reproducing Indian Government visions of building x numbers of SSNs and SSBNs in short time periods. Rahul Singh's article is at http://www.hindustantimes.com/business-news/govt-shortlists-5-shipyards-for-rs-64-000-cr-submarines-project/article1-1368341.aspx :
"Govt shortlists 5 shipyards for Rs 64,000-cr submarines project
Rahul Singh, Hindustantimes.com , New Delhi | Updated: Jul 12, 2015
Five Indian shipyards, including the one in which Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani recently picked up controlling stake, have been shortlisted by a top government committee to compete for a Rs 64,000-crore [US$10 Billion] [1 crore = 10 million then convert Indian Rupees to US$] project to build high-tech submarines for the navy.
Six advanced submarines will be built under project P-75(I). One of the costliest projects under the Make in India programme, it is expected to scale up the navy’s undersea warfare capabilities and is critical to counter the rapid expansion of China’s submarine fleet.
The shipyards shortlisted by the high-powered panel are Mazagon Dock Limited, Hindustan Shipyard Limited, Cochin Shipyard Limited and private sector yards Pipavav and Larsen & Toubro, a top government official told HT. Ambani’s Reliance Infrastructure bought controlling stake in Pipavav this March.[could shipyards be considered the Indian partners to the foreign contenders?]
The shipyards, identified after a seven-month rigorous process, will be invited to submit bids to build the submarines in partnership with foreign yards of their choice.
[Project-75(I) Contenders Countries/Companies that have shown interest and their products are:
- Germany’s TKMS - HDW Type 214
- Russia’s Rubin Design Bureau - Amur 1650 (as a sweetner Russia has offered to make India the "regional hub" for mainly Kilo submarine upgrades)
- French DCNS – Scorpene
- Spain’s Navantia - S-80 class, and
- Sweden’s Saab-Kockums - A26]
The new submarines will have the capability to operate underwater for several weeks with air-independent propulsion systems, greater strike power against land targets and improved stealth features that make them harder to detect.
Already, six Scorpene submarines are being built at the Mazagon Dock Ltd with technology from DCNS under a Rs 23,562-crore [US$3.72 Billion] project [called "P-75"]. But the first of these will be ready only by late 2016, almost five years behind schedule [due to Indian hesitation and perhaps slow defence expenditure].
India currently operates 13 ageing conventional submarines:
[- 10 (now 9) Kilos India (Sindhughosh class) mainly delivered in 1980s - so mainly aging but refitting is extending the lives of 9. One, the Sindhurakshak, exploded and sank in 2013 and may well be unrepairable.
- 4 HDW Type 209 (Shishumar class) of which 2 launched around 1984 and commissioned 1986. Two commissiond 1992 and 1994.]
[India also has a semi active(?) part Russian crewed/advised(?)] Akula-II nuclear-powered attack boat [INS Chakra] leased from Russia at Rs 5,500 crore [per year?].
In contrast, China’s submarine fleet is growing in numbers and sophistication – Beijing possesses 53 diesel-electric attack submarines [especially Yuan under mass production], five nuclear attack submarines and four nuclear ballistic missile submarines. [and Pakistan has 5 Agosta SSKs, 3 of which have AIP].
India will complete its nuclear triad — the ability to launch strategic weapons from land, air and sea — only when it inducts the indigenous ballistic missile submarine, Arihant. The boat will carry out weapon trials later this year, including the testing of nuclear-capable [B-05 is a new name for the K-15 Sagarika] submarine-launched ballistic missile. The navy, however, has refused to set a deadline for the submarine to take up deterrence patrols."