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Defence Ministry looking for alternative to Finmeccanica's torpedos

SeaHake torpedos. Photo: Atlas Elektronik.

NEW DELHI (PTI): Indian Defence Ministry is now looking for an alternative for the chopper scam tainted Italian defence conglomerate Finmeccanica's heavy weight torpedos for the Scorpene submarines.

Defence sources said the proposal to acquire 98 Black Shark torpedoes for the six under construction French Scorpene submarines for a price of Rs 1,200 crore has been nixed.

"There is an alternate that is being worked on," the sources said adding that the SeaHake torpedos from Germany's Atlas Elektronik could be an option.

Black Shark torpedoes, made by Whitehead Alenia Sistemi Subacquei (WASS), a subsidiary of Finmeccanica, had emerged the lowest bidder to arm the Scorpene submarines, the first of which will be handed over to the Navy by September this year.

However, the proposal to acquire it had been stuck because of the VVIP chopper scam.

The Navy had been pushing for it citing "operational necessity". However, sources said Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has now decided to go for an alternative.

Atlas Elektronik had come second during the bidding and sources said the reason for it to lose was due to certain differences between the Germany company and the French firm which is making the submarine in collaboration with MDL in Mumbai.

"However, it seems that the differences have been resolved now," sources said adding that either a fresh tender could be placed or the government may go in for direct purchase.

If the issue is not resolved fast, the Navy would be inducting the first Scorpene submarine without its main anti-ship attack system.

Sources said the Scorpene class submarines' have already been customised to integrate its fire control system with the Black Sharks.

Integrating another type of torpedo, will not only cost extra but also more time, the sources said.

Six submarines are being built at the Mazagon Dock Ltd with technology from French firm DCNS under an over Rs 25,000 crore project called P-75.


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