Tangled in red tape, India’s submarine fleet sinking

Discussion in 'Indian Navy' started by AVERAGE INDIAN, Jun 10, 2013.

  1. AVERAGE INDIAN

    AVERAGE INDIAN EXORCIST Senior Member

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    NEW DELHI: The navy's desperate attempts to rescue its sinking underwater combat arm have been dealt a double whammy. First, the ongoing project to construct six Scorpene submarines has been delayed by another 14-18 months, with the first vessel now slated to roll out of Mazagon Dock Limited(MDL) by November 2016 at the earliest.


    More worryingly, the new project to construct six advanced stealth submarines, armed with both land-attack missile capabilities and air-independent propulsion for greater underwater endurance, is still stuck in political apathy and bureaucratic red-tape. It has already been examined by three committees after being granted "acceptance of necessity" in November 2007.

    The finance ministry has now again returned the file for the over Rs 50,000-crore project, code-named Project-75India, to the defence ministry for clarifications.

    "The draft Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) note for P-75I is simply being tossed around with no resolution in sight. The global tender or RFP (request for proposal) for it can be issued only after the CCS approves the file," said a source.

    Even if the P-75I tender is floated today, it will take at least three years to ink the contract with the selected foreign collaborator, and another seven to eight years after that for the first submarine to be built.

    With the over Rs 23,000 crore Scorpene (P-75) project already running four years behind the original 2012-17 induction schedule, alarms bells are now ringing. The navy is making do with just 14 aging conventional diesel-electric submarines — 10 Russian Kilo-class and four German HDW ones — which are to be progressively retired in the coming years despite life-extension refits. China and Pakistan, meanwhile, are adding muscle to their underwater combat fleets.

    Way back in 1999, the CCS approved a 30-year submarine-building plan, which envisaged induction of 12 new submarines by 2012, followed by another dozen by 2030. But the government's inability to plan and take decisions means the navy is yet to get a single submarine 14 years later.

    P-75I is embroiled in a debate over the "selection of Indian shipyards" and the "indigenization level to be achieved". While two submarines are to be imported, four will be constructed in India.

    The navy wants private shipyards to be involved in the project to save time since MDL is overburdened with orders. But the MoD's defence production department has insisted that three will be built at MDL in Mumbai and one at Hindustan Shipyard in Visakhapatnam.

    The Scorpene project, with contracts being inked with French firms in October 2005 has been grossly mismanaged, with huge time and cost overruns. The deal for the 'MDL procured material packages', including sensors, propulsion and the likes, with the French firms was signed only last December. The order for heavy-weight torpedoes to arm the submarines is also yet to be placed.

    Projections show only five to six of the present 14 Indian submarines will be fully operational by 2020. Even with a few Scorpenes by then, India will remain far short of the minimum 18 conventional submarines required to deter Pakistan and China.

    Tangled in red tape, India's submarine fleet sinking - Times Of India
     
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  3. AVERAGE INDIAN

    AVERAGE INDIAN EXORCIST Senior Member

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    Weapon woes put Navy’s modernisation programmes on hold

    A fresh hunt for heavy torpedoes for its new line of warships and a setback in the delivery of new destroyers has the Indian navy reeling under pressure of delay in major modernisation programmes.

    The process to acquire new torpedoes was set rolling recently after the first attempt to purchase the weapon got embroiled in controversies.

    With Finmeccanica’s conduct in the VVIP helicopter deal for the Indian Air Force coming under scanner, questions have been raised over the company’s participation in other contracts though no punitive action has been taken against it by the government so far.

    Acquisition

    The acquisition of torpedoes was held back because the front runner, Black Shark torpedo, was being made by a Finmeccanica subsidiary called WASS.

    Even though the ongoing $300 million project to procure 98 torpedoes has not been cancelled officially, the navy has issued Request for Information (RFI), re-launching the process to procure the weapons.

    An evaluation committee had given an “all clear”, but despite that the project had not moved further.

    The German rival Atlas Elektronik had also raised questions about Black Shark’s selection.

    Sources said a fresh process of induction was initiated so that the torpedoes could be made available for all the warships and submarines in the pipeline – including Project 75(Scorpene), 15A (Kolkata class destroyers), 15B (follow on of Kolkata class

    At the moment, navy warships are equipped with old Russian heavy torpedoes. The new torpedoes were also to be integrated with the French Scorpene submarines under construction.

    Even as the torpedo issue was being sorted out, the navy was hit by the delay in project 15A for the construction of three Kolkata class destroyers.

    The first ship of the class, being constructed at Muzgaon Dock Limited (MDL) in Mumbai, was scheduled to be delivered in July.

    But technical problems were detected during the sea trials of the destroyers – the largest warships to be constructed and designed at MDL.

    It is estimated that the project has been delayed by at least six months as the new destroyer would now be made available only by early 2014.

    Project 15A, under which three destroyers have to be built, is already running two years behind schedule.

    The revised deadline for the delivery of first ship was mid-2013. The project was going on track keeping up with the revised deadline but the snag was detected during the sea trials of the ship.

    Weapon woes put Indian Navy's modernisation programmes on hold | Mail Online
     
  4. AVERAGE INDIAN

    AVERAGE INDIAN EXORCIST Senior Member

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    Depleting minesweepers fleet worries Indian Navy

    Indian Navy’s three-decade-old fleet of minesweepers is depleting at a fast rate and yet, a Rs 24,000-crore contract proposal to augment it with eight new Korean-made vessels is entangled in the Defence Ministry’s redtape for nearly three years now.

    The Mine Counter-Measure Vessels (MCMV)—capable of minesweeping and minehunting are critical to naval operations. They help in carrying out sweeps at the entry and exit points of dockyards to sanitise these passageways of enemy mines ahead of Indian warships sailing out to the sea.

    India had, after a decade-long procurement process, zeroed in on the South Korean shipyard, Pusan-based Kangnam Corporation, as the lowest bidder in a tender for construction of MCMVs for the Indian Navy in 2010. It was said then that the Defence Ministry would complete its cost negotiations with Kangnam, which best Italian Intermarine to the contract, and issue the orders for building the vessels within two months.

    “Three years since, the contract negotiations have not happened and the contract proposal for the MCMV is now buried among files in the defence ministry,” lamented a senior Indian Navy officer, when The Sunday Standard asked him about the progress in the minesweepers procurement.

    The Navy had expected the Defence Ministry to conclude the contract as soon as Kangnam was identified as the foreign shipyard to provide the minesweepers in view of the urgency felt in adding these specialist vessels in to the fleet.

    With a variety of naval mines that are triggered by pressure, acoustic or electro-magnetic signals from a surface warship or a submarine available in the arms bazaar, these are some of the cheapest ways to sink an enemy warship. Laying of these mines are quite easily done and hence the threat perception from these self-contained explosives to warships are quite high, Navy officers pointed out.

    “Hence the urgency in procuring these specialist vessels and inducting them as early as humanly possible,” they added.

    According to the tenders, the chosen shipyard was to build the first two MCMVs and the rest six were to be constructed at Goa Shipyard Limited under a licence, with technology transfer being part of the contract. This was to create capabilities at GSL to build minesweepers in the future, as a requirement for more of these vessels was envisioned.

    Navy officers noted that Kangnam’s selection itself was done after crossing hurdles, as its competitors had moved the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) in 2010 against the Indian choice of the Korean firm as the lowest bidder. Detailed explanations to the CVC had settled the issue in favour of Kangnam by April 2011. Since then, no progress have been made in the procurement process, they added.

    Just over a decade ago, the Navy was operating 12 of Pondicherry/Karwar class of minesweepers, but had to decommission five of them after completion of their serviceable life. INS Pondicherry, the first of this class of minesweepers, was built by Russia and commissioned in 1978. It was decommissioned in 2007. Since then, four other minesweepers of this class too have been decommissioned at regular intervals. The last of the Karwar class of minesweepers was commissioned in 1988 and this class of warships has completed the serviceable life of 20 years and has entered the obsolescence phase.

    The Navy, at present, operates seven Pondicherry/Karwar class of minesweepers in its fleet, of which one is based in Mumbai and the rest six in Visakhapatnam. These seven vessels have gone through a midlife upgrade to extend their service life by another decade and for adding latest technologies to boost their capabilities.

    “Yet, these minesweepers’ hull is still old. How long can the Navy flog these old horses?" wondered another officer. The officers pointed out that even if the MCMV contract was awarded this year, the first two vessels would not be delivered before 2018 and GSL would take another two to four years before completing its part of the contract for rest of the fleet.

    Depleting minesweepers fleet worries Indian Navy - The New Indian Express
     
  5. marshal panda

    marshal panda Regular Member

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    Pending construction,we should negotiate with US for our immidiate requirement.If the purchase is through foreign military sales,there wont be any kickback either.
     
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  6. Abhijeet Dey

    Abhijeet Dey Regular Member

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    Indians have raised concerns about contract clauses forbidding the offensive deployment of Made in US military systems. I think India should take help from the Russians and Kickbacks should be strictly checked in all Indian military contracts. If not CVC or CBI then media and the Judiciary will play a major role.
     

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