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France backs out of submarine project

  • Category
    International Relations
  • Published
    11th May, 2022

Context

Ahead of PM Modi’s scheduled visit, France has denounced its participation in the P-75 India (P-75I) project under which six conventional submarines are to be built in India for the Indian Navy.

About

Why did France pull out?

  • The reason was that the Request for Proposal (RFP) requires that the fuel cell AIP be sea proven, which not the case is for us yet since the French Navy does not use such a propulsion system.
  • AIP refers to Air-Independent Propulsion, a technology for conventional — that is, non-nuclear — submarines.

Project 75 India (P-75I)

  • P75I was first cleared in 2007, but lay dormant until now after undergoing numerous changes.
  • The P75I project is part of a 30-year submarine building plan that ends in 2030.
  • In 1999, the Indian government approved a plan for the navy to build and induct state-of-the-art indigenous submarines by 2030.
  • The project cost is about Rs. 45,000 crore.
  • 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.
  • This project envisages the construction of six conventional submarines with better sensors and weapons and the Air Independent Propulsion System (AIP).
  • The project has been cleared under the strategic partnership model.
  • As part of the initial program phase, India signed a $3.75 billion contract with France’s Naval Group to build six Scorpene-class submarines.
  • The next phase of the program is for construction of six conventional submarines with improved sensors and weapons. They must also have an AIP system for better performance.
  • Apart from Naval Group, four other companies are part of the bidding: Russia’s Rosoboronexport, Spain’s Navantia, Germany’s Thyssenkrupp, and South Korea’s Daewoo.
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