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India's sub project, long delays HUGE cost overruns.

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India's sub project, long delays HUGE cost overruns.

Postby U-5075 » Mon Jun 08, 2009 7:20 pm ... 633090.cms

Navy's sub project slips on time, climbs on cost 9 Jun 2009, 0337 hrs IST, Rajat Pandit, TNN
NEW DELHI: In a major blow to Navy's already shrinking underwater combat capabilities, the mammoth Rs 18,798 crore project to construct six Scorpene

submarines at Mazagon Docks Ltd (MDL) in Mumbai has now slipped around two years behind schedule.

Defence ministry sources say the latest assessment shows the delivery of the first submarine, initially scheduled to roll out by December 2012, would not be possible before end-2014.

Moreover, the entire project is going to be hit with a huge cost escalation, which will take total costs much beyond Rs 20,000 crore, because France is demanding virtually double the money to supply some critical equipment to MDL.

"Negotiations for these `MDL procured material packages', which include almost everything other than combat systems, have been underway for a year now. The French say costs have doubled since the contracts were inked in October 2005,'' said a source.

"Consequently, though submarine hulls are being fabricated in MDL, there is nothing to put inside them at present. MoD has now approached the Cabinet Committee on Security for fresh approval for the cost escalation,'' he added.

The October 2005 contracts with French companies include the Rs 6,135 crore one with M/s Armaris (DCN-Thales joint venture) for transfer of technology, combat systems and construction design, and Rs 1,062 crore with M/s MBDA for sea-skimming Exocet missiles.

A Rs 5,888-crore contract was also signed with MDL for indigenous submarine construction, with another Rs 3,553 crore earmarked for taxes and Rs 2,160 crore towards other items to be acquired during the project.

Navy, on its part, hopes the lost time can be made up to some extent if the approvals come quickly for the Project-75 Scorpene project. All the six submarines were to be initially delivered by December 2017, one per year beginning from 2012.

A big delay will hit Navy hard since its projections show it will be left with only nine out of its present fleet of 16 diesel-electric submarines — 10 Russian Kilo-class, four German HDW and two Foxtrot — by 2012.

As it is, the Foxtrot submarines are obsolete now, and the number could further dip to just five by 2014. This is alarming since both Pakistan and China are rapidly augmenting their underwater combat capabilities.

After inducting three French Agosta-90B submarines, with the last one PNS Hamza even having air-independent propulsion (AIP) to boost its operational capabilities, Pakistan is now looking to acquire three advanced Type-214 AIP-equipped submarines from Germany.

China, of course, is way ahead. It has 62 submarines, with around 10 of them being nuclear-propelled, and at least one Xia-class and two Jin-class being SSBNs (nuclear submarines with long-range ballistic missiles).

Though India has also begun its hunt for six more new-generation submarines under Project-75A, worth over Rs 30,000 crore, it will take "several months'' before even the global tenders (request for proposals) are floated for them.

"Initial information obtained from Russian (Rosoboronexport), French (Armaris) and German (HDW) firms, among others, are being studied at present. We want P-75A submarines to have a high degree of stealth, land-attack capability and AIP,'' said an official.

There is also the indigenous secretive ATV (advanced technology vessel) programme, under which the first of the three nuclear-powered submarines being built is to be "launched into water'' on August 15.

But a fully operational ATV, with SLBM (submarine-launched ballistic missile) capabilities, is at least three years away. Navy, incidentally, will also get the Russian 12,000-tonne Akula-II nuclear-powered attack submarine on a 10-year lease by this year-end.
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Postby U-5075 » Fri Jun 19, 2009 8:23 am ... 90618.aspx

Scorpene Sale Runs Onto The Rocks

June 18, 2009: Back in 2005, after years of negotiations, India signed a deal to buy six French Scorpene class diesel-electric submarines. But now problems have developed. The first Scorpene was supposed to enter service by 2012, at a cost of about $500 million. But political and management problems have delayed that date by two years, and raised the price per boat by over $100 million. The French have raised the prices for some key components, and India has had some problems in getting production going on their end. The first Scorpene was to be built in France, with the other five built in India.

The Scorpenes are similar to the Agosta 90B subs (also French) that Pakistan recently bought. The first of the Agosta's was built in France, but the other two were built in Pakistan. The third Pakistani Agosta was delayed over a year because Islamic terrorists had killed some of the French engineers working on the project. The Scorpene purchase was seen as a response to the Pakistani Agostas.

The two designs are similar, with the Scorpene being more recent (and the result of cooperation between a French and a Spanish firm.) The Agosta is a 1,500 ton (surface displacement) diesel-electric sub with a 36 man crew and four 21 inch torpedo tubes (with 20 torpedoes and/or anti-ship missiles carried.) The Scorpene is a little heavier (1700 tons), has a smaller crew (32) and is a little faster. It has six 21 inch torpedo tubes, and carries 18 torpedoes and/or missiles.

Both models can be equipped with an AIP (air independent propulsion) system. This enables the sub to stay under longer, thus making the sub harder to find. AIP allows the sub to travel under water for more than a week, at low speed (5-10 kilometers an hour). The Pakistanis have an option to retrofit AIP in their current two Agostas.

Both of these modern subs are very lethal weapons against surface warships. With well trained crews, Agostas and Scorpenes can get close to just about any surface ship, no matter how good the defenders anti-submarine defenses are. But it's the AIP boats that are the real killers. Without AIP, subs spend most of their time just below surface, using their diesel engines (via a snorkel device that breaks the surface to take in air, and get rid of the engine exhaust.) Snorkels can be spotted by modern maritime patrol aircraft, and both nations are getting more of these. The introduction of the Agostas and Scorpenes was seen as an escalation in the naval arms race between Pakistan and India.

While India was largely concerned with the Pakistani navy when the Scorpene contract was negotiated and signed, China is now seen as the primary adversary. The Chinese subs are not as effective as the Pakistani boats, both because of less advanced technology, and less well trained crews. India could use their Scorpenes to confront any Chinese attempt to expand their naval presence into the Indian ocean. Thus the delays and cost overruns with the Scorpenes are causing quite a lot of commotion in India.
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