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Friday, December 10, 2010

Navy to acquire AIP technology for Scorpenes

The navy’s Scorpene submarines are likely to have increased operational range and also do away with surfacing to access atmospheric oxygen, thanks to the new Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) technology.

The submarines, under construction at the Mumbai-based Mazagon Docks Limited, are likely to get the AIP technology that will increase their operational range without having to surface to access atmospheric oxygen.

The navy is considering various options available with it to fit the last two of the six submarines under the project, codenamed P75, with the AIP including the proposal made by French defence company DCNS.
DCNS Chairman and CEO Patrick Boissier, who is part of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s delegation to India, told reporters here that his firm has made an informal proposal to the navy in this regard.

“We have made an informal proposal to the navy for AIP technology in the last two of the Scorpenes that will be built at MDL. Now it is up to the navy to take a call on this proposal. We have held informal discussions in this regard,” Boissier said.

“The navy is considering the proposal and will take a call on it. We have some options, apart from the DCNS one, including an indigenous AIP system that is under development,” a navy officer, unwilling to be named, said here.

AIP encompasses technologies that allow a submarine to operate without the need to surface or use a snorkel to access atmospheric oxygen and it usually excludes the use of nuclear power, but is about augmenting or replacing diesel-electric propulsion system of non-nuclear vessels.

Several countries in the world currently adopt the AIP technology in the submarines that they build and these include the US, Russia, France, Germany, Spain and Sweden.

Though the Scorpenes, being built with DCNS and Tales help at MDL, did not envisage AIP for the six submarines under the P75 project, the navy’s second line of six conventional submarines, called P75I, which were recently approved by the government, will incorporate the technology.

Talking about P75, Bossier said DCNS was in charge of major transfer of technology (ToT) to MDL for the building of 6 Scorpene submarines.

Defense ministry denies plan to acquire submarines from Russia

Taiwan's defense ministry on Wednesday denied a news report that it is exploring the possibility of collaborating with Russia to build and acquire submarines to boost the island's defense capabilities.

"There is absolutely no such plan, " Vice Defense Minister Chao Shih-chang said while fielding questions at a meeting of the Legislative Yuan's National Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee.

The Chinese-language Next Magazine reported that a task force comprising officials of the Navy and the CSBC Corp. Taiwan visited Russia in October to discuss the possibility of collaborating with shipbuilders there to build submarines for Taiwan.

The Navy Command Headquarters also rebutted the report in a statement.

"The Navy has no plans to acquire submarines from sources other than the United States," the statement said.

The U.S. has been the biggest supplier of defense weapons to Taiwan.

The administration of former U.S. President George W. Bush announced a robust arms sale package to Taiwan in 2001, including eight conventional submarines, but the submarine deal has yet to be substantiated.

The Navy Command Headquarters said that the submarine procurement deal is being screened by the U.S. Department of State and other related agencies and that it will make every effort to prompt the U.S. authorities to speed up the sale of the vessels to Taiwan.

Taiwan currently has four submarines but only two of them -- the Swordfish models purchased in 1980s from the Netherlands -- are in active service. The two other, which have been in service since World War II, are used mainly for training purposes.

Meanwhile, CSBC Corp Taiwan did not deny the reported trip to Russia but said "it had nothing to do with the Navy."

"No naval officers were part of the team that visited Russia last October for business purposes, " said Ying Tze-hsiang, a ranking CSBC official who led the delegation.

Ying said the CSBC delegation was seeking to tap into business opportunities in Russia on one hand and to try to strike technical cooperation deals with Russian builders on the other.

He explained that his corporation needs to expand its overseas market to cope with the increasing competition from shipbuilders in South Korea, Japan and China.

In addition, CSBC plans to acquire Russian expertise in building ice-breaking ships, as part of CSBC's efforts to meet increasing demand for transportation on the route between the North Pole and Shanghai, China, Ying said.

Besides, Russia, with its rich in marine resources, is in urgent need of financial support to build fishing vessels -- another reason for the leading Taiwan shipbuilder to consider partnerships with shipbuilders there, he said (source

Lost of Submarine

Abandoned submarine, location unknown 

Russia offers Amur class submarines to India

 Amur-1650 class submarine. Source: ITAR_TASS

India is vying to purchase six non-nuclear submarines to boost up its undersea warfare capability. The deal may be expanded by acquiring the know-how to build more such submarines at Indian shipyards, DNA reports.

The Indian Navy has already sent requests for technical specifications to a number of countries including Russia, Germany, Spain and France who have already shown interest in the deal. Russia's biggest arms trader Rosoboronexport said it would bid for the tender.

As part of project 751, Indian Navy proposes to have a undersea force of 24 submarines by 2015. India already has 10 Kilo-class submarines and has set up a line to manufacture French Scorpene Submarines at Mazagoan docks in Mumbai, the first of these submarines are expected to roll out by 2012.

Rosoboronexport is offering the Amur class submarines, which are an upgraded version of Indian Navy's Kilo-class submarines. With the speed of 20 knots, the Amur is designed for both anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare. Its armaments include 16 tube launched torpedoes and also has a capability of launching cruise missiles .

The Amur 1650 submarine has been developed by the Rubin Central Design Bureau of Naval Technology on the basis of the Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines, the most low-noise submarines in the world.

The sonar signature level of the submarines of this class is several times lower in comparison with Kilo-class submarines. These submarines are equipped with radio-electronic weapons of the newer generation created on the basis of the latest achievements in the field of radio-electronics.

DCNS to help accelerate submarine production in Indian shipyard MDL

 DCNS – with 300 years’ experience in naval shipbuilding

DCNS has clarified that a statement of its CEO Patrick Boissier regarding “breach” in submarine production at Indian shipyard MDL was in the context of the shipyard not receiving submarine orders over the past 17 years. A DCNS spokesperson said, “Patrick Boissier has never blamed India’s state owned shipyard MDL for the delays (in submarine production)”.

      “This observation, based on facts, was to explain where MDL shipyard was coming from in the production of submarines. MDL shipyard had to go through new learning stages, update its competences and modernize its shipyard. Delays occurred due to teething issues, which are now solved”, the spokesperson added.

      DCNS was deeply involved with MDL in producing submarines at an active pace, the spokesperson said drawing attention to Boissier’s comment made during his visit to MDL earlier this week, “we are today conducting a deep transfer of technology (ToT) from the first submarine onward. Through this ToT, MDL will produce submarines at an active pace, and have autonomy for their maintenance. We hope to make significant contribution through our global experience and expertise to MDL”.

      Vice Admiral H.S. Malhi, Chairman, MDL has been quoted as saying during the DCNS chief’s visit, “The ToT has helped us immensely in acquiring expertise in manufacturing pressure hulls. I am sure outfitting phase followed by integration will go off well too. Our MDL team is highly motivated and our partners too. We are all very eager to meet the aspirations of our customer, the Indian Navy”.

India’s oldest sub retires

India’s precariously low submarine strength further nosedived on Thursday with the decommissioning of the Navy’s oldest foxtrot class submarine, INS Vagli that retires after 36 years of service.

Commissioned in August, 1974, INS Vagli was commanded by 23 officers in all major tactical exercises off both sea-boards and in the high seas. With its retirement, the naval submarine strength has come down to 14 ageing vessels out of which only 8-9 are operational at any given point of time.

The depletion in the submarine strength is one of India’s biggest strategic weaknesses straining the blue water ambitions. “For 17 years, we did not commission a single submarine. It remains one of our biggest weaknesses,” Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma admitted.

In 1999, the Cabinet Committee on Security decided to create two production lines for submarines with foreign vendors to achieve an indigenous design and manufacturing capability. While the first line to produce six French Scorpene submarines is operational at the Mazgaon Dock, the second line too received government approval recently.