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Mazagaon Dock’s capacities to make submarines to become idle

Source : The Economic Times

Mazagaon Dock’s capacities to make submarines to become idle
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The substantial submarine manufacturing capabilities of state-owned Mazagaon Dockyards Ltd are set to become idle, with the last of the Kalvari (Scorpene) class being launched next week, bringing an end to the Navy’s Project 75 to acquire six conventional submarines.

Highly skilled workforce, specially trained to work on pressure hulls, is likely to be moved to other warship projects that the yard has bagged as plans to manufacture next-generation submarines have hit delays.

MDL has a capacity to construct 11 submarines at any given time and is a lead contender for the Navy’s Project 75 I – a new class of submarines equipped with air independent propulsion that can stay underwater for days. However, delays in the project -due to concerns raised by foreign partners on sharing of responsibility, conditions of technology transfer and the planned budget – means that India’s top submarine builder will be without work for a few years.

MDL has invested close to ₹1,000 crore in upgrading and modernising facilities, including a new wet basin, submarine section assembly workshop and a goliath crane to gear for upcoming requirements of the Navy. “The submarine division has two dedicated parallel submarine assembly lines fully ready for operations. With these assembly lines, MDL has a capacity to undertake construction of 11 submarines at any given time,” said Vice Admiral (retd) Narayan Prasad, CMD, MDL.

MDL is the only shipyard in India which has successfully constructed conventional submarines with two different technologies – the German SSK class submarines as well as French Scorpene class submarines. MDL has in the past given an offer to the Navy to construct additional Kalvari class submarines. The plan, which sources said could be revived, was to use the existing design that can be easily constructed at MDL and upgrade the sensors and weapons.

As no new submarine order has been placed, MDL now plans to use its specialised infrastructure and workers for activities like submarine repairs and opportunities in the international markets. The yard has an order book of ₹46,000 crore, which primarily consists of surface ships like the Visakhapatnam Class Project 15B stealth destroyers and Nilgiri Class Project 17A stealth frigates.

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