Progress made in technology transfer for Scorpene subs: Navy


New Delhi : Issues relating the transfer of technology (TOT) for the French Scorpene submarines that are being built in this country under licence are likely to be resolved soon. Indian Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta has held “positive” talks with his French counterpart during his just-concluded visit to the country, an official here said.

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“The naval chief’s six-day visit to France has been successful with positive talks on the transfer of technology,” the official added.

During the visit, Mehta also visited France’s key submarine bases, including that at Cherboug, which has facilities for berthing nuclear submarines as well the drydocks for the production of the conventional Scorpene submarines.

India inked a $3.5 billion deal with France in 2006 for six Scorpene submarines. The first of these submarines is to be delivered by 2011 while the remaining five will be built at the state-owned Mazgaon Docks Limited in Mumbai. The construction of the first of these submarines began May 2007 with the fabrication of the hull.

“Technology transfer is an integral part of the deal for the construction of the Scorpenes in India, and had been agreed upon at the time of inking the contract,” the official said.

“The agreement includes providing technology and design details, consultancy and components to Mazgaon Docks. Work is reportedly lagging behind schedule as the French are not prepared to share critical technical data,” another senior naval officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

During his tour, Mehta also met his French counterpart Admiral Pierre Frances Forissier and the top defence brass of the country.

Mehta’s visit was significant as India is on the verge of floating global tenders for at least six more submarines. Under a 20-year submarine perspective plan, Indian Navy intends to acquire 24 submarines by the year 2020.

DCNS, makers of the Scorpene submarines along with Germand HDW, Russian firms and Swedish submarine makers would be vying for the deal.

The Indian Navy’s submarine fleet currently comprises 16 boats, of which 13 are operational.