Now India's very own "sinking subs".
1.Tangled in red tape, India's submarine fleet sinking
Rajat Pandit, TNN | Jun 9, 2013,
NEW DELHI: The navy's desperate attempts to rescue its sinking underwater combat arm have been dealt a double whammy. First, the ongoing project to construct six Scorpene submarines has been delayed by another 14-18 months, with the first vessel now slated to roll out of Mazagon Dock Limited(MDL) by November 2016 at the earliest.
More worryingly, the new project to construct six advanced stealth submarines, armed with both land-attack missile capabilities and air-independent propulsion for greater underwater endurance, is still stuck in political apathy and bureaucratic red-tape. It has already been examined by three committees after being granted "acceptance of necessity" in November 2007.
The finance ministry has now again returned the file for the over Rs 50,000-crore project, code-named Project-75India, to the defence ministry for clarifications.
"The draft Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) note for P-75I is simply being tossed around with no resolution in sight. The global tender or RFP (request for proposal) for it can be issued only after the CCS approves the file," said a source.
Even if the P-75I tender is floated today, it will take at least three years to ink the contract with the selected foreign collaborator, and another seven to eight years after that for the first submarine to be built.
With the over Rs 23,000 crore Scorpene (P-75) project already running four years behind the original 2012-17 induction schedule, alarms bells are now ringing. The navy is making do with just 14 aging conventional diesel-electric submarines — 10 Russian Kilo-class and four German HDW ones — which are to be progressively retired in the coming years despite life-extension refits. China and Pakistan, meanwhile, are adding muscle to their underwater combat fleets.
Way back in 1999, the CCS approved a 30-year submarine-building plan, which envisaged induction of 12 new submarines by 2012, followed by another dozen by 2030. But the government's inability to plan and take decisions means the navy is yet to get a single submarine 14 years later.
P-75I is embroiled in a debate over the "selection of Indian shipyards" and the "indigenization level to be achieved". While two submarines are to be imported, four will be constructed in India.
The navy wants private shipyards to be involved in the project to save time since MDL is overburdened with orders. But the MoD's defence production department has insisted that three will be built at MDL in Mumbai and one at Hindustan Shipyard in Visakhapatnam.
The Scorpene project, with contracts being inked with French firms in October 2005 has been grossly mismanaged, with huge time and cost overruns. The deal for the 'MDL procured material packages', including sensors, propulsion and the likes, with the French firms was signed only last December. The order for heavy-weight torpedoes to arm the submarines is also yet to be placed.
Projections show only five to six of the present 14 Indian submarines will be fully operational by 2020. Even with a few Scorpenes by then, India will remain far short of the minimum 18 conventional submarines required to deter Pakistan and China.
PS:What a pathetic situ and one has to lay the blame squarely and primarily upon the MOD and AKA's dithering days as DM.The IN has been pleading for a quick decision for a decade+,and the mismanagement of the Scorpene deal,now where just one small non-AIP sub of around 2000t,costs almost as much as a 12,000t nuclear powered Akula,is simply ridiculous.
2.Why on earth didn't we pick up those early retd. RN harriers.the USMC did and with good reason too! I am sure that if Britain restarted production of Harriers there would be buyers.
Harrier Rescues The F-35B
June 4, 2013: The U.S. Marine Corps is now preparing to upgrade many of their 140 AV-8B Harrier jet fighters to keep them in service, at least until 2030 (instead of 2027). This is because the replacement for the AV-8B, the F-35B, was supposed to begin replacing AV-8Bs this year, but that has been delayed at least two years. Extending the useful life of the AV-8Bs is possible largely because two years ago Britain sold all its Harrier jet fighters, spare parts, and ancillary gear to the marines. The American marines are the largest operator of Harrier aircraft. Harrier production ceased in 1997, as did major refurbishment of older aircraft in 2003.
Three years ago Britain retired its fleet of 74 Harrier vertical-takeoff jets as a cost-cutting measure. The aircraft were put into storage but with enough maintenance services to keep them in shape for rapid reactivation. It was hoped that a buyer could be found. The American marines were not interested initially, because they were expecting the new F-35B to arrive in time to replace their aging Harriers. The F-35B has since suffered numerous delays and is now even threatened with cancellation. This led to the purchase of Britain's Harrier aircraft and spare parts. This could keep the marine Harriers in service for at least another two decades. Without the infusion of British equipment the American Harriers would have been retired in the late 2020s.
Most of the British Harriers are being cannibalized for spare parts. The British and American Harriers are largely identical. A lot of the electronics are different but the airframes and engines are interchangeable. The marines paid $180 million for the stock of spare parts and decommissioned British Harriers.
The Americans are not the only ones having problems keeping their Harrier forces going. Five years ago Britain sold four surplus Harrier aircraft to India, to be cannibalized for spare parts. In the previous twenty years, India had lost half of its 30 Harrier vertical takeoff fighters to accidents, and the fifteen remaining aircraft often could not fly because of a shortage of spares. Britain also offered help with Harrier refurbishment.
The Harrier has the highest accident rate of any current jet fighter. This is largely because of its vertical flight capabilities, which give it an accident rate similar to that of helicopters. The U.S. Marine Corps has lost a third of its 397 Harriers to such accidents in 32 years. That's about three times the rate of the F-18C. However, accident loss rates for combat aircraft have been declining over the last century. Current Harrier rates are similar to those for many fixed-wing aircraft operating in the 1970s. Harrier pilots simply accept the fact that since they operate an aircraft that can fly like a helicopter, they have to expect the higher loss rates that go with it.