During the bilateral discussions between leaders of India and Russia in Vladivostok, President Putin proposed to jointly design and develop submarines for the Indian Navy. The proposal was put forth during Narendra Modi’s meeting with Vladimir Putin and Russia also offered to equally share intellectual property rights with India in this inter-governmental agreement.
A part of the proposal also talks about the joint development of Air-Independent propulsion (AIP) for the submarines based on the research and progress made by DRDO. The offer extended by Moscow talks about the collaboration between Indian and Russian shipyard so that the prototypes can be jointly designed and constructed.
Due to delays in the development of Air-independent propulsion for Indian Navy submarines by the DRDO, the Indian Navy had to do away with the plans of equipping its domestically manufactured Scorpene-class submarines with the Air-independent propulsion feature.
The Scorpene-class submarines are also known as Kalvari class submarines. AIP is vital for modern-day submarines as it enhances their chances of survival underwater for longer durations. In this technology, limited amounts of stored liquid gas is used to charge the batteries of the submarines and hence the submarines can remain underwater for a longer duration
Russia, France and Germany Competing For Tender
Earlier in June, the Indian defence ministry floated a tender worth USD 6.5 billion. In addition to Russia, German, French and Swedish companies too have been competing for the lucrative tender. The Indian Navy currently operates 14 conventionally powered submarines, two nuclear ballistic missile submarines and a Russian built nuclear powered fast attack submarine.
Indian Navy has also expressed the desire to have at least 3 Aircraft Carriers in the fleet amid rising challenges from China’s increasing naval might. As of now, India only has one Aircraft carrier while the second one is being constructed at a shipyard in Cochin.