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Defence Minister reviews Scorpene submarine project


Scorpene submarine. A DCNS photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): With the Navy facing shortage of under-water vessels, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday reviewed in Mumbai the progress of the long-delayed Scorpene submarines which are planned to be deployed on the western sea-board in Karwar.

During his day-long visit to Mumbai, the Defence Minister also launched a Rs 800-crore programme to modernise the Mazagon Dockyards Limited (MDL) where the submarines are being built.

"Jaitley reviewed the progress of the Project-75 programme as well as the other ongoing warship building projects including P-15 B class stealth destroyers. His visit within three months of taking over demonstrates the importance being accorded by the government to the indigenous construction of submarines and warships," a Defence Ministry release said.

The Navy is facing a shortage of submarines and this was aggravated further by the loss of Russian-origin Kilo Class INS Sindhurakshak in a mishap last year and the Scorpenes would help it to meet the shortfall.

The programme to build six Scorpene submarines in partnership with DCNS of France has already been delayed by over four years due to various factors.

"With all the impediments and material hurdles resolved, the construction of the submarines is progressing on schedule to meet the planned delivery schedule of September 2016," the Ministry said.

The crew has already commenced training and it has been decided that the "submarines will be initially based at Mumbai and shifted to operational base at Karwar after completion of trials."

The Ministry said necessary impetus is also being given by the government to create associated shore support facilities as per the Long Term Infrastructure Perspective Plan (LTIPP).

The Mazdock Modernisation Project (MMP) would significantly enhance the warship and submarine construction capability of the shipyard.

Dutch consultants Haskoning Nederland B.V. (HNBV) have been appointed as the consultant for the project.

During his visit, Jaitley took a round of the entire MDL complex and took a detailed brief on the construction of the Scorpene submarines, Ministry officials said.

The Minister also got an update on the progress made in the second warship of the Kolkata Class vessels called the INS Kochi, which is likely to be commissioned in the Navy in the next one year.

The government is giving a lot of attention to developing the indigenous warship construction capabilities and is likely to come out with more policies for promoting the local industry.

The Indian Navy has a fleet of Kilo Class and HDW class of submarines but it has not been able to induct any new vessel in the last over 15 years.

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