Indian Navy’s US$6bn submarine program offers opportunities for foreign AIP providers, says GlobalData

Following the news that the Indian Navy has sidelined the indigenously developed DRDO’s air independent propulsion (AIP) system from its US$6bn submarine tender for the time-being;

Sourabh Banik, Aerospace & Defense Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“This US$6bn Indian Ministry of Defence project is expected to procure six conventionally-powered submarines through the P-75I program. GlobalData’s report, ‘Global Submarine Market to 2031’, reveals that India is expected to cumulatively spend about US$23.5bn on both nuclear and conventionally-powered submarines between 2021 and 2031. Out of which about 37% of the spending will be directed towards conventionally powered (non-nuclear) submarines during the same period. Considering that the P-75I program is a quarter of all submarines’ expenditure, it is understandable the Indian Navy’s cautious approach and the AIP systems they would like to include in this program.

“The move to exclude the DRDO developed air AIP system from the specifications sheet of its upcoming P-75I submarine program will provide competitors a chance to offer their existing and proven AIP systems’ designs. This omission will also provide additional design flexibility, if needed, to foreign submarine builders currently competing for this project’s tender.

“DRDO’s indigenously designed AIP system is still in various developmental stages and will take few years to be fielded as retrofits to the Indian Navy’s existing Kalvari-class submarines. The Indian Navy does not want to risk their new submarines with developmental delays of the indigenous system and that has opened opportunities for the international players.”

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