As revealed, the Indian bidder for the project is required to partner with a Foreign Collaborator (FC) to execute the programme, which involves the delivery of six conventional submarines equipped with Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP).
With an estimated value exceeding €4.8 billion, this project represents India’s largest defense acquisition initiative. Furthermore, it will be accompanied by a 30-year lifecycle sustenance contract of comparable worth.
The P75(I) programme will be the pioneering endeavor under the Ministry of Defense’s ambitious Strategic Partnership (SP) model of acquisition. On April 11, 2023, L&T and Navantia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for this programme in Madrid, which has now culminated in the Teaming Agreement (TA) between the two companies.
According to the agreement, Navantia will undertake the design of the P75(I) submarines based on its existing S80 class, with the first vessel from this class set to conclude sea trials in 2023 before being delivered to the Spanish Navy.
In addition to the S80 class, Navantia has played a significant role in the design and construction of the Scorpène class of submarines in collaboration with DCNS (now Naval Group) of France. These submarines have already been successfully exported to Chile and Malaysia. Navantia has also been involved in the construction of the Scorpene submarines (Kalvari class) in India, providing support to the Indian yard.
The integration of an AIP system is a key requirement of the P75(I) programme. The system utilizes bioethanol as a readily available source of hydrogen, eliminating the need for specialized infrastructure. The higher hydrogen density in ethanol enhances the efficiency of the AIP system, while the liquid form of ethanol eliminates the risks associated with hydrogen storage. Moreover, the wide availability of ethanol enables the system to be refueled anywhere in the world.
L&T and Navantia are actively seeking collaboration in other military programmes and exploring opportunities in green energy, particularly offshore wind, through Navantia’s Seanergies division.