L&T, Navantia sign teaming agreement for building six submarines for the Indian Navy under Project 75-I - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Monday 10 July 2023

L&T, Navantia sign teaming agreement for building six submarines for the Indian Navy under Project 75-I

Navantia's S80 conventional submarine with AIP (above) stays submerged for up to 14 days

By Ajai Shukla

Business Standard, June 11, 2023


A month after German submarine builder, Thyssenkruppe Marine Systems (TKMS), signed an agreement with Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) to build six submarines for the Indian Navy, a competing partnership was announced by Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Spanish shipbuilder, Navantia.


“Larsen & Toubro and Navantia signed a Teaming Agreement (TA) on Monday for submission of a techno-commercial bid for the Indian Navy’s prestigious Project 75-I submarine programme,” Navantia’s media release announced.


Project 75(I) requires the Indian bidder to tie up a technology partnership with a foreign collaborator (FC) and to build six conventional submarines equipped with air-independent propulsion (AIP). 


This contract, valued at over Euro 4.8 billion, will be amongst India‘s largest defence acquisition projects. 


The building of six AIP submarines would be followed by a 30-year lifecycle sustenance contract of similar value. 


“Project 75(I) is amongst the first programmes to be processed under the strategic partnership (SP) acquisition model of the Ministry of Defence. L&T and Navantia signed a memorandum of understanding for the program on April 11 in Madrid, which has now culminated in this TA.


It is possible that the current two consortia may be joined by a third, if Russian submarine builders partner an Indian shipyard to form a third consortium.


AIP submarines provide major operational advantages over conventional diesel-electric submarines. The latter can operate underwater for no longer than 48 hours, after which they must surface for battery charging. While surfaced, diesel-electric submarines are easily detected by enemy radar, which spots masts or snorkels protruding out of the water.


AIP-driven submarines can remain underwater for up to two weeks before surfacing for battery charging.


Navantia’s design for Project 75(India) submarines would most likely be based on its S80 class of submarines. The first S80 was launched in 2021 and is undergoing sea trials prior to its delivery to Spanish Navy at the end of 2023. 


Navantia has earlier partnered French shipbuilder Naval Group, in designing and constructing the Scorpéne class of submarines. Six Scorpene submarines/ have been built for the Indian Navy in Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL) as the Kalvari-class.


According to Navantia, its “state-of-the-art, third generation AIP is the most advanced and efficient AIP system in the world, apart from also being the most compact, easiest to exploit and maintain and environment friendly.”


“It uses bioethanol as a source of hydrogen, which is known to be cost efficent, easily available, and does not call for any special infrastructure. High density of hydrogen in ethanol improves the AIP system’s efficiency. Ethanol, being in liquid form, eliminates the risks associated with storing hydrogen. In addition, wide availability of ethanol enables the system to be refueled anywhere in the world,” said Navantia’s media release.


The most operationally effective submarines are nuclear-powered, which can remain submerged indefinitely, during which time they are almost impossible to detect. 


India’s Defence R&D Organisation (DRDO) is pursuing the development of nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs). But a nuclear propulsion system that is silent and effective will take several more years to operationalize.


Meanwhile, the MoD announced in January that the AIP developed by the DRDO would be reverse-integrated into the Indian Navy’s six Scorpene submarines.


L&T and Navantia are also cooperating in other shipbuilding programmes, such as for building landing platform docks (LPDs) for the navy. 


Said L&T’s CEO,S N Subrahmanyan:“Navantia’s glorious 300-year-old track record in naval construction and technical expertise gives us a competitive advantage in this program.”


They are also joining hands for green energy opportunities, including offshore wind power through Navantia’s Seanergies division.






·         L&T and Navantia, Spain signed a Teaming Agreement (TA) today for submitting a techno-commercial bid for the Indian Navy’s prestigious Project 75 (India) submarine program.   

·         The   agreement   was   signed   in   the   presence of S N Subrahmanyan, L&T chief and Mr Augustin Alvarez Blanco of Navantia.

·         Project 75 (I) requires the Indian bidder to tie up with a Foreign Collaborator (FC) and execute the program for delivery of six conventional submarines equipped with Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP), while achieving targeted indigenous content.

  •  Expected to be valued at over Euro 4.8 billion, the acquisition is one of India‘s largest defence acquisition projects.


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