From South Asia to Southeast Asia to China and Australia, suddenly everybody has a thing for submarines, loads of them. It's Christmas for sub-builders.
Today it's India announcing plans to get next-generation submarines built in France.
India is getting ready to create another flutter in the arms bazaar — 10 months after it selected French firm Dassault Aviation for a $18-billion ( Rs. 99,000 crore) deal to equip the air force with Rafale fighters. This time, India will spend more than $10 billion ( Rs. 55,000 crore) to scale up the navy’s undersea combat capabilities — inducting next generation submarines — to deter China, which has more than 50 conventional submarines in its fleet, but nearly two-thirds of those are outdated.
Navy chief Admiral DK Joshi said the defence ministry’s acquisition council had given the go-ahead for buying six submarines under a project codenamed P-75I. He said a global tender would be floated “very soon”.
Already, six Scorpene submarines are being built at the Mazagon Dock Ltd with technology from DCNS under a $4.3-billion ( Rs. 23,562 crore) project called P-75.
Joshi said the new subs – bigger than the Scorpene – would be equipped with air-independent propulsion systems to recharge their batteries without having to surface for more than three weeks. The subs would also have land attack missile capability, defence minister AK Antony told Parliament on Tuesday.
India is also forging ahead with its INS Arihant-class nuclear-missile subs shown above. Australia is seeking to design and build a dozen new subs for its navy. Even tiny Singapore has six submarines. They're everywhere and yet no one seems to have enough of them, not yet.