Project 75 India Diesel-electric Submarine Programs (SSK) : Updates and Discussions

Ankit Kumar

Team StratFront
Nov 30, 2017
3,812
3,677
Bangalore
One is obsolescence
Scorpene in its present version with F21, French Gen2 AIP , MdCN and Exocet combination is better than stock 636M being sold today to many countries, better than even Type 214s.

Only the truly next gen SSK designs like that of upcoming SSK designs under construction in Japan and SK and that of Australia actually beat it. And if we are ready to accept a Scorpene in 2023, then 2 more in 2024 and 2025 won't be bad.

Comparing it with MKI is not good, because MKI now has heavy air superiority fighter adversaries in service which is better than it. Not the case for submarines.


And you are trivialising the submarines comparing it with aircrafts. You do not compare developments in aircrafts with that made in pistols , do you? Submarine building and operations are made to look unimportant and suite your pov just for the sake of argument. Avoid it.

Comparing it to other contemporary naval scenarios being unfolded today will be more appreciated.
 

randomradio

Senior Member
Nov 30, 2017
14,537
10,781
India
The main issue is the platform that offers these capabilities. Cursory reading shows that design for VLS systems are rare on diesel-electric submarines. We are looking at unbuilt models like the SMX30 you listed or some enlarged version of the Amur class proposed by Russia. The South Koreans are inducting the Dosan Ahn Changho-class submarine which has VLS capabilities that could be modified to suit the needs of the IN but, like the Shortfin Barracuda you mentioned earlier, might be too close in size to a normal SSN.

Since we have only two Indian companies in the running, there can only be two OEMs out of five. And I think it's going to be France and Korea with their SMX 3.0 and KSS-III. SMX is offering 8 VLS and KSS-III is offering 10.

The Spanish design is a joke while the Russian design doesn't exist outside paper. At least the French design is a cousin of the Shortfin and will benefit from the Australian contract. The German design is a dark horse. The best option would be the Korean design since the Koreans will have the same Batch 2 sub before we do so it will mean faster induction with lesser problems.

The problem with the Germans is there are only two Indian companies in the running. The Koreans are well ahead of the competition with the KSS-III whereas the French have a significant presence in India already, especially with MDL's support. So, if the choice comes down to between Germany and France, I think the French will get in.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ginvincible

randomradio

Senior Member
Nov 30, 2017
14,537
10,781
India
But the main question is if the cost effeciency of maintaining an existing line is that much worse than indefinitely idling it and losing skilled talent/momentum. Didn't the IN order a 4th Arihant to avoid idling the production of nuclear submarines? There is a need to expand and modernize the fleet anyways so why is the production of diesel-electric treated differently in that regard? 2 or 3 extra Scorpenes equipped with AIP can't be worse than having nothing or aging Type 209s?

'Cause we broke. ;)

After having operated the Chakra for so long, the IN has realised they need large subs which offer greater underwater endurance and higher speeds. Right now they have 14 SSKs, nearly 15, and none of them can meet modern requirements. AIP equipped Scorpenes are also unlikely to offer what they will need in just a few years down the line. So more Scorpenes will only duplicate existing inadequate capability at a cost we can't afford.

Also, MDL is unlikely to lose any experience or talent since subs will require rebuilds and refits throughout their life. For example, once the last Scorpene is in the water, the first Scorpene will get docked for refits. In the meantime all those Kilos are undergoing MLUs and refits. Then P-75I will join the list. Then the next gen sub that will follow it. IN is a large navy and there won't be any lack of business for shipyards.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ginvincible

Ginvincible

Well-Known member
Dec 5, 2017
461
487
Ohio
Since we have only two Indian companies in the running, there can only be two OEMs out of five. And I think it's going to be France and Korea with their SMX 3.0 and KSS-III. SMX is offering 8 VLS and KSS-III is offering 10.

The Spanish design is a joke while the Russian design doesn't exist outside paper. At least the French design is a cousin of the Shortfin and will benefit from the Australian contract. The German design is a dark horse. The best option would be the Korean design since the Koreans will have the same Batch 2 sub before we do so it will mean faster induction with lesser problems.

The problem with the Germans is there are only two Indian companies in the running. The Koreans are well ahead of the competition with the KSS-III whereas the French have a significant presence in India already, especially with MDL's support. So, if the choice comes down to between Germany and France, I think the French will get in.

If that's the case, then I'm rooting for the Koreans. Their design is actually being built so India won't be adopting a new design by itself. It's also good not to have too many eggs in a French basket. I feel the Koreans might be more willing to either modify their K-VLS system to accommodate Brahmos (or whatever cruise missile the IN goes for) or cooperate more closely to integrate a domestic VLS system, while the French would more likely push for SCALP or Exocet missiles with their own VLS system.
 

Ankit Kumar

Team StratFront
Nov 30, 2017
3,812
3,677
Bangalore
If that's the case, then I'm rooting for the Koreans. Their design is actually being built so India won't be adopting a new design by itself. It's also good not to have too many eggs in a French basket. I feel the Koreans might be more willing to either modify their K-VLS system to accommodate Brahmos (or whatever cruise missile the IN goes for) or cooperate more closely to integrate a domestic VLS system, while the French would more likely push for SCALP or Exocet missiles with their own VLS system.
Simply in proven weapons available and the AIP, Koreans cannot compete with Naval Group.
 

Ginvincible

Well-Known member
Dec 5, 2017
461
487
Ohio
Simply in proven weapons available and the AIP, Koreans cannot compete with Naval Group.
I'm still not entirely convinced that India should be the first adopter of a new design rather than modifying an existing submarine.

The goal should be moving away from imported systems and using indigenous designs anyways. Just like the Scorpenes are getting domestic AIP systems, the P75I should also strive to locally source as much as they can. To that extent the Koreans will likely cooperate more to accommodate local solutions (they aren't trying to sell Hyunmoo missiles after all). I understand that F21 torpedoes and SCALP missiles might be better than local options, but I don't see how local weapons and systems can ever improve if they are continually shunned for imported gear.
 

randomradio

Senior Member
Nov 30, 2017
14,537
10,781
India
Scorpene in its present version with F21, French Gen2 AIP , MdCN and Exocet combination is better than stock 636M being sold today to many countries, better than even Type 214s.

Only the truly next gen SSK designs like that of upcoming SSK designs under construction in Japan and SK and that of Australia actually beat it. And if we are ready to accept a Scorpene in 2023, then 2 more in 2024 and 2025 won't be bad.

You are making a mistake here. You think that we will order 2 or 3 more Scorpenes today and we will get them in 2024 and 2025, there's nothing further from the truth. If we place an order today, we will get the first sub only in 2027-28 and the remaining two in 2029 and 2030. You have completely forgotten about long leads.

Comparing it with MKI is not good, because MKI now has heavy air superiority fighter adversaries in service which is better than it. Not the case for submarines.

The Chinese have set up a massive SSN production plan. The rumours say they have 4 parallel lines for the Type 095. This means they plan on inducting 4 SSNs a year.

And you are trivialising the submarines comparing it with aircrafts. You do not compare developments in aircrafts with that made in pistols , do you? Submarine building and operations are made to look unimportant and suite your pov just for the sake of argument. Avoid it.

Comparing it to other contemporary naval scenarios being unfolded today will be more appreciated.

They are comparable because they have long gestation periods. Making aircraft is harder so comparing submarines to aircraft is already giving it more credit than it's due.
 

randomradio

Senior Member
Nov 30, 2017
14,537
10,781
India
If that's the case, then I'm rooting for the Koreans. Their design is actually being built so India won't be adopting a new design by itself. It's also good not to have too many eggs in a French basket. I feel the Koreans might be more willing to either modify their K-VLS system to accommodate Brahmos (or whatever cruise missile the IN goes for) or cooperate more closely to integrate a domestic VLS system, while the French would more likely push for SCALP or Exocet missiles with their own VLS system.

It depends though. Going for a Korean option would mean sacrificing a lot of the strategic cooperation we can have with the French due to their expertise in nuclear submarines. But if the French cooperation is expected to be limited, then we should keep the eye on the prize and go for the best option.

Weapons will be Indian.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ginvincible

randomradio

Senior Member
Nov 30, 2017
14,537
10,781
India
Simply in proven weapons available and the AIP, Koreans cannot compete with Naval Group.

We want to introduce our own weapons though, irrespective of who is offering what. We are working on our own HWT, along with Brahmos near-hypersonic, Brahmos NG and LRLACM for submarines.

As for AIP, the Koreans plan to skip it entirely from Batch 2 onwards. They believe their Li-ion batteries make the subs much more advanced than AIP equipped subs. And let's not forget that Koreans are market leaders when it comes to Li-ion tech, alongside the Japanese.


Whereas it's quite likely that the Koreans will offer their more advanced Batch 3 to India, or a mix of both.

As long as Korea is selected by an Indian SP, I think they will have the advantage in the competition. Otoh, the Australians did not accept the French AIP or Li-ion batteries so the French goods do not have a customer yet.
 
  • Agree
Reactions: Ginvincible

Ankit Kumar

Team StratFront
Nov 30, 2017
3,812
3,677
Bangalore
domestic AIP
French started just a year back seriously on their gen 2 AIP and will actually have the system certified by next 2 years I think. The domestic DRDO system is 5-7 years away from today if I am optimistic.

Scorpene will go into their minor refits every 36 months. The major overhaul is after 5 to 8 years. And Full repair/upgrade every 10-15 years. They are new boats , they are not getting operational AIP anytime soon if DRDO aip is what we are banking on.


they aren't trying to sell Hyunmoo missiles after all
Because they don't have the certified systems of the Class we need. Not otherwise, where they can arm twist , they are doing it, selling sub standard systems to Phillipeans
local weapons
Anything which comes out of DRDO will compete in performance with likes of SUT torpedoes, not anywhere in the class of F21 capability. We can do compromise in National Air Defense in the name of local content. Not in submarine warfare. That's the top notch game. We need the best possible thing we can get. Only space assets trumps Submarines in importance in modern warfare.

Remember the biggest problem with our Scorpene fleet today is not the absence of AIP , it's the absence of modern Multirole torpedo.
The Chinese have set up a massive SSN production plan. The rumours say they have 4 parallel lines for the Type 095. This means they plan on inducting 4 SSNs a year.
Irrelevant comparison with China. We do not have plans like them. Learn from what France is doing for the Nuclear Boat design and production capability because that's closer to our budget and needs.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ginvincible

_Anonymous_

Senior Member
Dec 4, 2017
17,189
13,065
Mumbai
French started just a year back seriously on their gen 2 AIP and will actually have the system certified by next 2 years I think. The domestic DRDO system is 5-7 years away from today if I am optimistic.

Scorpene will go into their minor refits every 36 months. The major overhaul is after 5 to 8 years. And Full repair/upgrade every 10-15 years. They are new boats , they are not getting operational AIP anytime soon if DRDO aip is what we are banking on.



Because they don't have the certified systems of the Class we need. Not otherwise, where they can arm twist , they are doing it, selling sub standard systems to Phillipeans

Anything which comes out of DRDO will compete in performance with likes of SUT torpedoes, not anywhere in the class of F21 capability. We can do compromise in National Air Defense in the name of local content. Not in submarine warfare. That's the top notch game. We need the best possible thing we can get. Only space assets trumps Submarines in importance in modern warfare.

Remember the biggest problem with our Scorpene fleet today is not the absence of AIP , it's the absence of modern Multirole torpedo.

Irrelevant comparison with China. We do not have plans like them. Learn from what France is doing for the Nuclear Boat design and production capability because that's closer to our budget and needs.
From what I understand, the first Scorpene is due to be fitted with DRDO AIP next year onwards. The entire process of fitting it in & testing is estimated to tàke 4-5 years although DRDO is claiming 1 year will suffice for testing. Coz if we are to have indigenous AIPs in P-75 I they'd have to be proven on board the Scorpene & the rest of the Scorpene fleet.


I believe that both - the testing period & the insistence that DRFO developed AIP to be included on P-75 I by DRDO, is being contested by the IN. MoD seems undecided at the moment. Let's wait & watch how things proceed.
 

randomradio

Senior Member
Nov 30, 2017
14,537
10,781
India
So you will refuse to budge from Brahmos as absolute necessity in P75I because it was a decade ago? And yet give up on AIP as a necessity because it suits you?

Whatchu talking about? How does any of this "suit" me? All of these are merely facts that you apparently are not aware of.

The new Brahmos is still in development. It has a speed of mach 4.5 and 500Km range. It obviously has no equivalent and is obviously not from a decade ago. We have no need of MdCN or a foreign torpedo due to the LRLACM and indigenous HWT programs. If your sole reason to go for a French sub is because of French weapons, then the IN is going to disappoint you. I didn't decide this, the IN did.

As for AIP, it's not me who is giving it up. It's the Koreans and Japanese, they have started the process already. The French have also offered Li-ion. Their SMX Ocean is advertised to offer 14 days of underwater cruise speed, which I'm sure will be repeated on SMX 3.0 (note the words "cruise speed", not "patrol speed"). That's more than enough for us to skip out on AIP entirely. AIP is known to be expensive, cumbersome and dangerous, hence why countries are getting rid of it as battery technology has caught up. In fact, the long term goal is to provide SSKs with near-SSN level endurance and performance with Li-ion batteries alone, if not better batteries. I didn't decide this either, it's the OEMs and navies.



Of course, you can always go for a hybrid AIP + Li-ion system. But that seems to be an utter waste of space along with increased weight and complexity.

Anyway, the IN seems to be looking at Li-ion for the 6 Scorpenes.

They want an experimental version that delivers 500KWh and then scale that up to 5MWh for 6 submarines.
 

randomradio

Senior Member
Nov 30, 2017
14,537
10,781
India
Irrelevant comparison with China. We do not have plans like them. Learn from what France is doing for the Nuclear Boat design and production capability because that's closer to our budget and needs.

Lol. You said:
Comparing it with MKI is not good, because MKI now has heavy air superiority fighter adversaries in service which is better than it. Not the case for submarines.

Let me rephrase it:
Comparing it with Scorpene is not good, because Scorpene now has SSN adversaries in service which is better than it. Not the case for aircraft.

Now you suddenly say adversaries are not important. Please make up your mind.
 

Ginvincible

Well-Known member
Dec 5, 2017
461
487
Ohio
Going for a Korean option would mean sacrificing a lot of the strategic cooperation we can have with the French due to their expertise in nuclear submarines.
There are still a lot of areas that cooperation with the French can be achieved, French systems will still be used I'm sure. There is just a need to graduate away from dependency and stimulate the local defense industry. The French won't divulge anything too critical about nuclear propulsion and technology, so it is best to become self sufficient faster. Besides, strategic cooperation with Korea is also important, considering they share similar strategic concerns wrt China that the French don't necessarily have as much of an impetus for.


Anything which comes out of DRDO will compete in performance with likes of SUT torpedoes, not anywhere in the class of F21 capability. We can do compromise in National Air Defense in the name of local content. Not in submarine warfare. That's the top notch game. We need the best possible thing we can get. Only space assets trumps Submarines in importance in modern warfare.

Remember the biggest problem with our Scorpene fleet today is not the absence of AIP , it's the absence of modern Multirole torpedo.
I definitely agree, submarine warfare is a major component of any modern say conflict, but there is still a need for the IN to wean itself off foreign systems and arms. It doesn't have to be all at once, but it needs to be consistent for development to progress. How can India hope to compete with the latest and greatest arms without supporting its domestic industry?


So you will refuse to budge from Brahmos as absolute necessity in P75I because it was a decade ago? And yet give up on AIP as a necessity because it suits you?
I think this is a major issue with any VLS the IN tries to implement with diesel-electric submarines. The current Brahmos missile is just too large and heavy for it to be practically carried in sufficient numbers. I wish India had a more compact missile (I know there are some on the drawing board) but the IN needs to make do with what it has and plan accordingly.
 

Ankit Kumar

Team StratFront
Nov 30, 2017
3,812
3,677
Bangalore
From what I understand, the first Scorpene is due to be fitted with DRDO AIP next year onwards. The entire process of fitting it in & testing is estimated to tàke 4-5 years although DRDO is claiming 1 year will suffice for testing. Coz if we are to have indigenous AIPs in P-75 I they'd have to be proven on board the Scorpene & the rest of the Scorpene fleet.


I believe that both - the testing period & the insistence that DRFO developed AIP to be included on P-75 I by DRDO, is being contested by the IN. MoD seems undecided at the moment. Let's wait & watch how things proceed.
I hope that what you say happens , for the sake of PUT fleet only. Because there shouldn't be any delays in P75I because we wanted an indigenous solution. Submarines are not the thing to do these things on. Hope sense prevails and MDL/NG get awarded quickly and start work on vessels.
 

Ankit Kumar

Team StratFront
Nov 30, 2017
3,812
3,677
Bangalore
no equivalent
Agreed.

But it has no place on a submarine. For land strike missions , something like MdCN/Tomahawk/1000km range Club fits the bill and for anti ship missions Harpoon/Exocet type short range systems.

Simply because we have Brahmos or its successor coming doesn't mean we have to have it everywhere.

It's idiotic to force a submarine to take on anti shipping duties for anything more than 50-60 kilometres. That is not what submarines are for.

Coming to our HWT program, as I said , Submarines shouldn't be held hostage to desi solutions shenanigans. Having a HWT with performance parameters of a 2000s era torpedo vs having a torpedo with Multirole capability alone makes all the difference in a war.

And I am only supporting the French package because it removes the integration and certification delays and buying all proven systems from a single source gives us leverage to get discounts or some Technology consultations.

This doesn't happen with any other sources.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ashwin

Ankit Kumar

Team StratFront
Nov 30, 2017
3,812
3,677
Bangalore
Lol. You said:
Comparing it with MKI is not good, because MKI now has heavy air superiority fighter adversaries in service which is better than it. Not the case for submarines.

Let me rephrase it:
Comparing it with Scorpene is not good, because Scorpene now has SSN adversaries in service which is better than it. Not the case for aircraft.

Now you suddenly say adversaries are not important. Please make up your mind.
250 Flankers vs 350 flankers is not a big difference.

But 12 SSK vs 60 SSK is a big difference.

I never said that ignore China as a adversary. I said we shouldn't bother with China having 3 or 4 production line , simply because we do not have any such plans for numbers like they do.

Our submarine building program is comparable to France or UK and learnings should come from there only.
 

Ankit Kumar

Team StratFront
Nov 30, 2017
3,812
3,677
Bangalore
wish India had a more compact missile (I know there are some on the drawing board) but the IN needs to make do with what it has and plan accordingly.
1000 range Clubs are available for land strike operations, but we are not buying them as Kilos are now out going and their LACM capability is limited to just 2 of their torpedo tubes. That's why I support the MdCN and Exocet combo as Scorpenes are now coming.

The problem is that our SSK building program is not so extensive that can allow us the cushion to pursue indigenous techs in every thing. We need to accept the fact. Even SK had a bigger SSK procurement program than ours. And it was done within a couple of decades, ensuring continued development and focus. 18 subs in say 20-25 years. Compare that to us with 6 SSK in 14 years and plans for another 6. We cannot think to replicate their success because we are not matching their scale of production.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ginvincible