New Delhi: The Indian Navy has approached a select few global manufacturers to buy heavyweight torpedoes for submarines. Heavyweight torpedoes are critical for submarines and the Indian Navy has an acute shortage of these torpedoes.
India will be getting its Kalvari Class submarines conventional diesel- electric boats made by DCNS of France – soon after a gap of three decades. These submarines, however, won’t have any heavyweight torpedoes. Without the heavyweight torpedoes, the new submarines will be almost “toothless.” The next of the Kalvari class – INS Khanderi – is expected to join the Indian Navy by end 2017.
This May, India cancelled its previous contract to buy 98 Black Shark heavyweight torpedoes at an estimated cost of $200 million. The manufactures of the torpedo – Whitehead Alenia Systemi Subacquei (WASS) – is a subsidiary of Italian arms manufacturer Finmeccanica.
The Italian arms manufacturing giant was blacklisted after it was alleged that another subsidiary of the company – AgustaWestland – had paid bribes to secure a contract to sell 12 medium lift helicopters to India. Sources told India Today that the select foreign manufacturers will have to choose their Indian partners and that torpedoes will be manufactured using the Strategic-Partnership (SP) route.
The Modi-led NDA government is keen to reduce India’s dependence on foreign equipment manufactures. It has opened up defence manufacturing to Indian private sector. The SP route envisages that the Indian private companies will tie-up foreign manufactures to get technology and in return the government will assure orders and allow exports as well.