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Navy alarmed over delay in submarine construction
New Delhi, Dec 22 (IANS):
Published on 22 Dec. 2009 11:52 PM IST
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The delay in construction of submarines has raised concerns for the Indian Navy which Tuesday said that its underwater capability would be reduced by 50 percent by 2015. With the construction of French Scorpene submarines at the Mazgaon Shipyard delayed already, the follow-on construction of six indigenous submarine has also suffered. “The matter came up for discussion during the meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) today (Tuesday), which met to decide on the follow on construction of six indigenous submarine,” a defence official said. The Project-75 was conceptualised in 1999 and under this programme Indian Navy had to acquire 12 submarines. India had inked a $3.5bn 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. Construction of the first, second and third submarine commenced in December 2006, December 2007 and August 2008, respectively. “The Indian Navy put forward its concerns that with the Scorpene construction delayed by two-and-a-half years, the construction of indigenous submarines will be delayed. And it was also made clear that the naval submarine fleet will be reduced to half by 2015,” the official said. Admitting the delay in the project Defence Minister A.K.Antony said: “The contract activities for submarines are lagging behind schedule. As against envisaged achievement of 27.43 percent up till December 2008, a mere 9.34 percent progress has been achieved.” Antony has also told parliament this year that the delay in the delivery of the French Scorpene submarines would adversely impact the underwater capability of the Indian Navy. He said the slippage in the delivery schedule is expected on account of some teething problems, absorption of technology and delays in augmentation of industrial infrastructure and procurement of purchased materials.

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