Scorpene submarine likely to roll out by 2012
New Delhi (PTI): The Scorpene submarine could be fitted with the underwater version of the Brahmos cruise missiles, which could enhance Indian Navy's strategic firepower capability, French Company DCNS on Sunday announced.
"If India wants, Brahmos cruise missiles can be fitted on the Scorpene being built under technology transfer at Mazagon docks," DCNS project director Xavier Marchal told newspersons at the ongoing CII sponsored Defence-Expo.
DCNS is manufacturing the submarine.
If New Delhi gives the go ahead, it would increase the potential of the Navy, giving it a second option of firing missiles from submarines. Navy's recently upgraded Russian Kilo class submarines are armed with shore strike missiles.
DCNS executive vice president and chief operating officer Bernard Planchais also announced that teething problems in effecting technology transfer have been taken care of and the first of the Indian Navy's six Scorpene submarine will roll out in 2012.
"The first submarine is scheduled to be delivered in 2012 with the other five to follow at a rate of one per year," Planchais said
His words would come as a reassurance as transfer of technology to the Mumbai-based Mazagaon Dock has already put behind the roll out of the Scorpene by one year.
"I have reviewed the progress of the work at the Mazagon Dock in Mumbai, where the submarines are being constructed, recently and everything is going well. I am confident that we will be able to deliver all the submarines as per schedule," Planchais said. He added that the DCNS would be contending for Navy's subsequent orders for six more submarines.
Planchais remarks assumes significance in the backdrop of announcement by Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta that India would float global tenders for the second line of submarines this year.
India proposes to have 24 submarines with the mix of conventional and nuclear ones under the 20:20 submarine vision of the Navy. India is to acquire a nuclear submarine on lease from Russia next year, when its own advance technology vehicle would be ready for sea trials.
The DCNS has also launched a wholly-owned Indian subsidiary, with Mumbai as its headquarters, to acquire parts locally for its ongoing as well as future projects.
"Indian market is providing very good opportunities. There are certain physical difficulties and we are sorting out that and organising ourselves in the country," Marchal said. He said the company was also looking for joint venture with Indian companies to offer specialized services, design and operations in different defence projects.
Asked whether Scorpenes were better than Agosta, the submarines which are being constructed by the DCNS for Pakistan Navy, DCNS project director Xavier Marchal said "Of course Agostas are inferior than Scorpenes".
On follow on priorities, Planchais said "Our current priority is to succeed the Scorpene project".
Marchal said Idian naval shipbuilder Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineering Ltd (GRSE) has awarded DCNS a contract to supply propulsion equipment and auxiliaries, including thrust blocks, for four type P28 anti-submarine warfare corvettes for the Indian Navy.
The contract is led by a partnership comprising DCNS and Indian companies Walchandagar Industries Ltd. DCNS also assists GRSE with propulsion system integration.