For the Project 75I programme to build six submarines for the Indian Navy, MDL had a partnership with Germany’s TKMS. Prior to the Indian Navy’s request for information’s August 1 deadline, MDL had already submitted a pricing offer for the project. The project’s price tag is “significantly” more than the initial $5.4 billion estimate. It will take over two years to place the order, and the first submarine will be delivered six years after the deal is signed. MDL’s rival for this contract is L&T, which collaborated with Navantia.
MDL and France’s Naval Group are also negotiating with the Indian Navy to build three more Scorpene submarines. Within the upcoming six months, movement is anticipated in this direction. According to Naval News, the two companies are also thinking about working together on a prospective submarine export. Vagsheer, the sixth and last Kalvari-class Scorpene submarine constructed under Project 75, will be delivered in March 2024. Now anticipated to start in the middle of 2025 is the refit of the first submarine, INS Kalvari.
DRDO AIP module installation is anticipated to occur during this refurbishment of the submarine. The three new submarines may or may not be equipped with this AIP technology from the beginning, depending on their readiness at the time of construction, according to MDL, which was unable to confirm this. Naval News is aware that, in the future, Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) battery technology might be used in place of AIP in these submarines for performance that is comparable to or even superior to AIP. MDL published a statement expressing interest in Li-Ion batteries for underwater platforms in 2022. In addition, the Indian Navy has indicated an interest in such systems.
Furthermore, MDL and the Warship Design Bureau of the Indian Navy have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on the indigenization of more than 8,000 parts used in Scorpene submarines. The Navy’s Project 76, which is for a class of domestic diesel-electric submarines to replace Project 75I, is currently the subject of ongoing discussions between the two parties about cooperation.
As a research and development project, MDL is creating a midget submarine. It will be a versatile submarine that can be used for tourism, special operations, and oceanography. In July 2023, the prototype pressure hull underwent a successful test at a location on land. There are plans to use only domestic components in the submarine. Towards the end of 2024, it is anticipated to launch.
The Indian Navy’s Next Generation Corvette (NGC) programme, which gained approval in June 2022, is projected to generate a request for proposals by the end of 2023. Eight multi-role vessels constitute the scope of the $4.5 billion project.
Project 17B, an order of replacement for the Nilgiri-class frigates built under Project 17A, has been under discussion for over twelve months. The project is anticipated to cost about $7.5 billion and will involve the construction of eight ships, which could be divided between two shipyards. Seven ships are part of Project 17A, with a 4:3 split between Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) and MDL. Somewhere during 2024, MDL will deliver Nilgiri, its first frigate.
Destroyer manufacturing in India has only ever been done at MDL. The Project 15B Visakhapatnam-class destroyer project is currently being worked on by the yard. The Indian Navy has officially introduced its first two ships, the INS Visakhapatnam and Momugao. Imphal, the third destroyer, will be delivered ahead of schedule in October, while Surat, the fourth ship, is expected to be delivered in the middle of 2024.
NEXT GENERATION DESTROYERS
The Next Generation Destroyer (NGD) program of the Indian Navy is now the topic of discussion. MDL disclosed to investors that the project is now anticipated to be for a total of eight ships divided into two phases, up from the five to six ships anticipated originally. The project is currently thought to be valued at in excess of ten billion dollars. MDL is acquiring a floating dry dock capable of housing the NGD for $60 million.
Despite the fact that the project is still in its earliest stages of development, additional information on the NGD is still lacking and has been the topic of much speculation for years. On the other end of the spectrum, based on known active development projects as well as requirements made public for other “Next Generation” warships of the Indian Navy, some expectations regarding the apparatus and features it would include can be established. The destroyer will probably have a primary S-band radar from the DRDO and a composite mast that is integrated with electric propulsion (IEP).
The Long Range-Land Attack Cruise Missile (LR-LACM), SMART torpedo delivery missile, and long-range versions of the BrahMos missile, among other new weapons being developed by India, are anticipated to be among the main offensive weapons. Long-range surface air missiles (LRSAM), which are still in development; medium-range SAMs (MRSAM), which are now in use; VL-SRSAM for short-range air defence; and ballistic missile interceptors may all be included in defensive weaponry. These missiles might be launched using DRDO’s universal vertical launch system. Torpbuster, a torpedo interdiction system developed by the DRDO, and directed energy weapons are also expected to be used. By the beginning of the 2030s, the first of these destroyers is anticipated to enter service.