Indian Navy signs 10-year lease for third Russian nuclear-submarine

Source: Business Standard, Mar 07, 2019

New Delhi: Underlining slow progress in the indigenous project to design and build six nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs), India and Russia have signed a 10-year lease for a new Russian SSN, which will join the Indian fleet around 2025.

The navy already operates a Russian SSN, called INS Chakra, which was taken on a 10-year lease in April 2012 for almost a billion dollars. This was to return to Russia in 2022, but defence ministry sources say its lease could be extended by three years, while the next INS Chakra is built.

India leased its first nuclear submarine, the Charlie-class INS Chakra, in 1988. That went back to Russia in 1991 and the navy did without an SSN for 21 years until it leased an Akula-class SSN, the second INS Chakra, in 2012.

India has indigenously designed and built a nuclear-propelled, nuclear ballistic missile submarine (SSBN), called INS Arihant. A second SSBN, called INS Arighat, is to follow shortly, with two more in the pipeline. SSBNs are not a part of the navy’s combat fleet. Read the rest of this entry »

Defence Ministry approves procurement of 73,000 assault rifles from US

Source: Business Standard, Mar 02, 2019

New Delhi: In a major move towards infantry modernisation, the Defence Ministry has cleared a long-pending proposal of the Army to procure around 73,000 assault rifles from the US under fast track mode, official sources said on Saturday.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman approved procurement of the Sig Sauer rifles which will be used by troops deployed along the nearly 3,600-km border with China, the sources told PTI.

They said the rifles, being used by the US forces as well as several other European countries, are being bought under the fast track procurement procedure.

“The contract is expected to be finalized within a week. The US firm will have to deliver the rifles within one year from the date of finalising the deal,” said a senior official involved in the negotiation of the deal said. Read the rest of this entry »

India, Russia to ink $3 billion nuclear submarine deal this week

Source: The Economic Times, Mar 04, 2019

NEW DELHI: India is set to sign a $3-billion deal with Russia this week to lease another nuclear attack submarine that will be customised and fitted with indigenous communications systems and sensors.

The deal for the Akula class submarine — dubbed Chakra III after the first two similar vessels India obtained from Russia — will be the biggest signed with Moscow since the $5.5-billion contract for the S-400 air defence system was finalised last year. Read the rest of this entry »

Indian company to build 111 Naval Utility Helicopters for Rs 21,738 crore

Source: Business Standard, Feb 13, 2019

New Delhi: The Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Tuesday kicked off the procurement of 111 Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH) for the Indian Navy. This acquisition, estimated to be worth Rs 21,738 crore, is the first one being processed under the new Strategic Partner (SP) procurement model.

The SP model envisages the indigenous manufacture of major defence platforms by an Indian company, which will collaborate with a foreign OEM (original equipment manufacturer) to acquire niche technologies and set up production facilities in India.

With the MoD having green-lighted this acquisition on August 25, an Expression of Interest (EoI) was issued today, inviting potential Indian SPs and foreign OEMs to submit collaborative proposals to build the NUH in India.

“The OEMs have been mandated to set up [a] dedicated manufacturing line, including design, integration and manufacturing processes for NUH in India and make Indian manufacturing line as a global exclusive facility for the NUH platform being offered,” stated the MoD on Tuesday.

The first 16 helicopters can be delivered from the OEM’s overseas production facility, but at least 95 helicopters out of 111 must be manufactured in India by the selected SP. An ambitious level of 60 per cent indigenisation is being aimed at in the NUH project.

The Indian companies aspiring to be SPs have been given two months to respond to the EoI. The MoD expects Tata Advanced Systems Ltd, Mahindra Defence, Adani Defence, Larsen & Toubro, Bharat Forge and Reliance Infrastructure to participate in the process.

“The Indian companies would be shortlisted based on their capability of system of system integration, facility in the aerospace domain and financial capability,” announced the MoD today.

The foreign OEMs have been given three months to respond to the EoI. The MoD says the foreign OEMs likely to participate in the project are Lockheed Martin, Airbus Helicopters, Bell Helicopters and Russian export agency, Rosoboronexport.

The RFP for procurement is likely to be issued towards the end of third quarter of this year to the shortlisted Indian companies.

The NUH is intended to replace the navy’s vintage fleet of French-origin Chetak helicopters in carrying out tasks like search and rescue (SAR), casualty evacuation (CASEVAC), ferrying passengers from ships and low intensity maritime operations (LIMO) such as dropping torpedoes.

The basic SP policy framework is a part of the Defence Procurement Procedure of 2016 (DPP-2016). However, equipment-specific selection criteria need to be separately drawn up for each of the four weapon categories the SP policy covers – fighter aircraft, helicopters, submarines and armoured vehicles.

Last July, the MoD had promulgated the “implementation guidelines” for choosing an SP in the helicopter category, clearing the way for this procurement.

Defence Ministry clears Rs 40,000-cr project for 6 advanced submarines

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Thursday cleared the procurement of six advanced submarines for “over Rs 40,000 crore”. This acquisition, codenamed Project 75-I, has been in the pipeline for a decade.

The six submarines will have “air independent propulsion” (AIP), which will allow them to remain submerged for up to 14 days, during which it is difficult to detect them.

Conventional diesel-electric submarines must surface every 48-72 hours to charge their batteries, when they become vulnerable to detection.

“This is the second project under the MoD’s ambitious Strategic Partnership (SP) model that… envisages indigenous manufacturing of major defence platforms by an Indian SP who will collaborate with a foreign OEM (original equipment manufacturer) to set up production facilities in the country,” stated the MoD.

“Today’s DAC (Defence Acquisition Council) approval would be the second such (SP model) project following indigenous production of 111 naval utility helicopters that was approved in August 2018,” it said.

In 2017, the Navy sent out “requests for information” (RFIs) to a number of global OEMs, soliciting interest in Project 75-I. The navy chief, Admiral Sunil Lanba, stated in December 2017 that four vendors had come forward: ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems from Germany, Kockums from Sweden, Naval Group from France and Rosoboronexport from Russia.

This has opened the door for a two-track process: floating a global tender to select the OEM, while simultaneously going ahead with shortlisting prospective Indian SP firms. Once that is done, the SPs will bid in partnership with their chosen OEMs.

The selection and contracting process and the actual building of six submarines could take another decade. Meanwhile, the navy will make do with a depleted conventional submarine fleet that consists of nine Russian-origin, Kilo-class vessels; four German-origin HDW boats; and six French-origin Scorpene submarines being built by Mazagon Dock Ltd, Mumbai.

In addition, the Indian Navy operates one Akula-class nuclear submarine leased from Russia, and plans to build six indigenous nuclear attack submarines (SSNs).

There will also be four-to-six Arihant-class nuclear ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs). These will be a part of India’s nuclear deterrent, with no role in conventional naval warfighting.

Defence Ministry gives in-principle nod for 31 projects under ‘Make-II scheme’

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Oct 08, 2018

Bengaluru: The Department of Defence Production under the Ministry of Defence has cleared 31 projects and has given them in-principle approval under the Make-II scheme.

“Make-II is an industry-funded scheme. It offers easier clearance and faster scaling-up of production. Make-II has seen faster development than any of the ‘Make projects’ that have happened so far,” Ajay Kumar, Secretary- Production, Ministry of Defence, told BusinessLine.

“In the last 6-8 months, we have given in-principle approval to 31 projects and are moving forward in assurance of firm orders,” he added.

Under Make-II, the Ministry of Defence has a sub category of suo motu submission of proposals. “Here, we got two such proposal and 12 more are under consideration. The proposal cleared is for night vision solution and the other is related to missiles,” explained Kumar. Read the rest of this entry »

India and Russia to sign over $7 billion defence deals

Source: The Economic Times, Oct 5, 2018

NEW DELHI: India and Russia are set to sign defence deals worth over $7 billion at the bilateral summit on Friday, but financial sanctions by the US have cast a shadow as they limit New Delhi’s capacity to transfer funds to Moscow. The two sides are expected to hold talks on setting up a new payment mechanism independent of the US controlled dollar trade.

Sources told ET that the $5.2-billion deal for five regiments of S-400 air-defence shield has received top-level clearances and would be signed at the Modi-Putin summit. The system, which would be delivered by 2020, would strengthen IAF’s capacity to protect critical assets and limit strike abilities of the Pakistani air force. Quick delivery of S-400 is considered critical as China will receive them by the year end and would be in a position to fully exploit the system with the delivery of all necessary missiles by 2020. Read the rest of this entry »