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India Concludes Field Evaluations of Spanish and German Submarine Bids

Image Source: hindustantimes.com

The Indian Navy has completed field evaluation trials for the ₹43,000-crore Project 75I programme, with a team visiting Spain last month to evaluate the submarine fielded by state-owned shipbuilder Navantia, according to sources.

Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) has partnered with India’s state-run Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) for the project to build six submarines with an air-independent propulsion (AIP) system, while Navantia has teamed up with engineering major Larsen & Toubro.

The evaluation of Navantia’s submarine, based on its new S80 class of vessels, was conducted at a shipyard in Cartagena last week, the sources said on condition of anonymity. The Indian Navy had evaluated the TKMS submarine at a German shipyard in March.

Navantia demonstrated the AIP system operating on the surface, with its performance while submerged to be shown soon, the sources added. The Navy will now present its findings on both bids to the defence ministry for further action.

Both TKMS and Navantia have increased lobbying efforts for the project, which involves the construction of six advanced submarines by an Indian bidder in collaboration with a foreign partner. The AIP system will allow the vessels to remain submerged for longer periods. The first submarine must have a minimum of 45% indigenization, with the indigenous content increasing to 60% by the sixth submarine.

During a visit to India last month, Navantia chairman Ricardo Dominguez Garcia-Baquero stated that the Spanish government fully supports his company’s bid. “This includes expeditious export clearance and signing an umbrella agreement with the Indian government, similar to the recent Airbus deal for supplying C-295 transport aircraft with Tata,” he said.

He emphasized that Navantia and L&T are fully committed to meeting India’s transfer of technology requirements and the stipulations for indigenous content, in line with New Delhi’s goal of achieving self-reliance in manufacturing defense hardware.

TKMS has proposed a submarine based on its Class 214 and Class 212CD designs.

The submarine deal is expected to be a key topic during the upcoming visits of German and Spanish leaders to India. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is scheduled to visit India in October for bilateral inter-governmental consultations, and Spanish President Pedro Sanchez is also expected to visit later this year.

Germany has taken several steps to advance defense cooperation with India in recent months, such as easing licensing requirements for selling military equipment. Spanish officials have expressed their country’s keen interest in enhancing defense cooperation with India as part of Europe’s efforts to reduce reliance on Russian military equipment.

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