Navantia eyes Indian SSK requirements

S-80 class diesel electric submarine
S-80 class diesel electric submarine

Spanish shipbuilder Navantia will team up with India’s Larsen & Toubro (L&T) to offer the Isaac Peral (S-80)-class diesel-electric submarine (SSK) design for India’s Project-75 (India) or P-75(I) programme, it was announced on 10 July.

Under this arrangement, Navantia would carry out the design of the Indian Navy’s P-75(I) submarines based on S-80 SSK design being built for the Spanish Navy. The lead S-80 boat was launched in 2021 and is presently undergoing sea trials prior to its delivery at the end of 2023.

Following the construction of six Kalvari-class SSKs based on Naval Group’s Scorpene-class design by local shipbuilder Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) – five of which are already commissioned into service with the sixth awaiting induction – the Indian Navy is seeking six more improved SSKs with air independent propulsion (AIP) technology.

The P-75(I) programme is expected to be India’s largest defence acquisition programme with an estimated value of US$5.26 billion for the construction of the six boats and followed by a 30-year life-cycle sustainment contract expected to boast a similar contract value.

As part of efforts to transfer shipbuilding expertise to the local industry, teaming arrangements bidding for the P-75(I) programme must feature an Indian bidder and a foreign partner. Navantia and L&T first signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in April to pursue this opportunity, a month after Germany’s Thyssenkrupp and MDL – the only other qualified domestic firm for the tender – signed an agreement to participate in the bidding process.

Navantia stated it will be supplying its third-generation AIP system, which uses bioethanol as a source of hydrogen, should the L&T-Navantia team be selected. The company added that the ability to use bioethanol enables the submarines to be more easily refuelled in any part of the world, unlike older AIP systems that use hydrogen stored in its gaseous form.

by Jr Ng