The P75I project is part of a 30-year submarine building plan that ends in 2030. As part of this plan, India was to build 24 submarines — 18 conventional submarines and six nuclear-powered submarines (SSNs) — as an effective deterrent against China and Pakistan.
Of the 14 conventional submarines India currently possesses, including the Scorpene, only half are operational at any given point of time. India also has two nuclear-powered submarines — INS Arihant (SSBN, a ballistic missile submarine) and INS Chakra (SSN, a nuclear-powered one) leased from Russia.
The Project 75I-class submarine is a follow-on of the Project 75 Kalvari-class submarine for the Indian navy. Under this project, the Indian Navy intends to acquire 6 diesel-electric submarines, which will also feature advanced Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) systems to enable them to stay submerged for longer duration and substantially increase their operational range.
The six new submarines for the P-75I project is the next phase of the same submarine project and will be worth over $ 11.10 billion. According to the Indian Navy, the new submarines will differ from the earlier lot since the qualitative requirements have been altered. The new submarines will have air-independent propulsion (AIP) to enable sustenance under water for longer duration. In addition, there will be advanced detection range and combat management system besides better sensors for optimum performance. The weapon system would be a mix of torpedoes and missiles.
India is determined to make sure that the production of Six next-generation submarines comes with the highest indigenous content that will be a perfect road-map for the development of Project-76 the successor program which Indian Navy Bureau will be in charge of the design and development of indigenous conventional submarine post-Project-75 I.
Four contenders in the Project-75I have been recently notified that winning bidder will have to use local, DMR 249A steel plates developed by the State-run Steel Authority of India (SAIL), which will negate import of military grade steel from abroad, and also will come handy in the development of future local submarines.
The Second most important factor which has been notified is that weapons system to be used for the Project-75I will have Varunastra advanced heavyweight anti-submarine torpedo along with Submarine Launched Cruise Missile (SLCM) like BrahMos and Nirbhay which will practically make India free of its dependency on foreign weapons manufactures.
Project 76 (P-76), which is supposed to be an IN program to acquire at least 12 SSKs of indigenous design by leveraging the capabilities built up via the P-75 & P-75I license build programs.
Project P-75I will have higher indigenized content and will have locally developed submarine Sonar suite, periscope and other sub-systems which India can source from Arihant class project. Project P-75I not only will reduce timeline required to manufacture this six submarines for Indian navy but it also will help Public and Private sector companies to be better prepared to gain experience and expertise before India can initiate Project-76 which is to be executed after Project 75I.
Indian Navy will be in charge of Project-76, which will be the development of 6 to 12 next-generation conventional submarines which will be executed by Public and Private sector shipyard in India post-2030. The Indian Naval Bureau is presently undertaken design and development work for Six Nuclear Attack Class Submarines, along with bigger ballistic missile submarine which will be the successor to the current Arihant class Nuclear ballistic missile submarines.
Submarines are, in fact, the ultimate stealth weapons. Despite advances in sonar technology over the decades, detecting, tracking and targeting submarines remains extremely difficult, particularly in the Indian Ocean where the salinity of the seas and the presence of thermal zones of variable water temperature, make submarine detection extremely difficult. The value of submarines as strategic assets is indispensable. P75 ,P75I and Project 76 are critical in the country’s endeavor to complete the nuclear triad and protect its areas of national interest particularly the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).The completion of these projects is essential to fulfill the Indian Navy’s ambition to be a full fledged blue water Navy and to enhance its ability to project power in consonance with India’s increasing economic and geostrategic power.
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