Naval Group in India, a subsidiary of the Naval Group headquartered in Paris, is set to support the Indian Navy in making progress on its future submarines after the P75 project. The company will also be looking to conclude contracts for providing maintenance support for Kalvari class (Scorpene) submarines to the Indian Navy. Rear Admiral RK Shrawat (Retd), CMD of Naval Group in India, speaks to FE’s Huma Siddiqui ahead of the DefExpo-18 in Chennai. Excerpts:
As the new head of Naval Group in India, what challenges do you foresee in fulfilling the requirements of Indian Navy?
I would like to fully support the efforts of our parent company in augmenting Indian Naval fleet in whatever best manner possible, and to look for opportunities to enhance the level of indigenous content in all our projects.
Priorities for 2018 will be to support navy in making progress on future submarines post P75 and to conclude contracts for providing maintenance support to Scorpene submarines of Indian Navy.
How is the Project-75 progressing?
The programme is well on track and the rest of the boats will be delivered in a period of every nine months. The first Scorpene submarine INS Kalvari was commissioned on December 14 last year. The third submarine Karanj was launched in January this year. She, along with the second submarine, is undergoing sea trials right now and will get commissioned soon this year.
What submarine-building capabilities the Naval Group has transferred to Mazagon Dock (MDL) under the ‘Scorpene’ project?
Naval Group has been a pioneer in offering best-in-class naval technologies for our customer adapted to their high-tech requirements. This expertise and experience spanning 400 years as designer, integrator and builder of complex naval platforms has always been the unique edge over our competitors. Also, we are the only ones who have successfully executed a programme with main Indian shipyard MDL through ‘transfer of technology’ tackling extreme complexities and technical challenges of building a submarine. In addition, we believe that our close cooperation as technology partner for P75 has given us a unique opportunity to create value-based entity in India.
This entity in the form of Naval Group in India has been successful in creating sound and sustainable industrial ecosystem of Indian subcontractors to execute quality defence manufacturing for submarine. We have trained and highly motivated Indian engineers, working closely with our engineering offices at Cherbourg and also supporting MDL in submarine building. All these competence and ecosystem needs to be preserved, nurtured and extended through future contracts.
Naval Group has responded to the RFI for the heavy weight torpedoes. What is your company offering?
Naval Group is offering their latest generation F-21 torpedoes in response to the RFI issued last year by Indian Navy. F-21 has been developed to be the safest and most modern torpedo for French Navy’s SSN Barracuda class submarines. With highest safety features, advanced speed and performance, F-21 is a much more lethal weapon than other available torpedoes, which mostly use old generation Silver Zinc for their battery technology. In addition, Naval Group being an integrator and developer of advanced combat management systems, the F-21 torpedo can seamlessly be integrated with the Subtics CMS family of the Scorpene submarines.
What future opportunities does Naval Group see in India?
The Indian Navy has an ambitious modernisation programme and Naval Group would like to support that vision by helping build modern platforms. Apart from offering HWT Torpedo F-21 and future advanced submarines, Naval Group is interested in supporting the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) 2, which is at the design stage with Indian Navy, LPD and other future naval platforms with high military requirements and performances. The Group is committed to the Indian Navy and Indian government for ‘Make in India’ approach of doing business. Hence, we see a lot of opportunities in the future.
What key technologies and systems would the company be showcasing at DefExpo 2018?
Naval Group will demonstrate its expertise in naval defence by displaying several technologies at the DefExpo including Scorpene class submarine, Barracuda class strategic submarine, Belh@rra – the combat and crisis management frigate – and F-21 heavy weight torpedo, among others.