The French industrial specialist in naval defence, DCNS, is gearing up to offer its latest products to the Indian armed forces.
DCNS India Pvt Ltd is a 100% owned subsidiary company of the DCNS group that was established in 2009. Through this front, DCNS has held a significant position in the Indian market. The flagship project of DCNS in India is undoubtedly the ‘P-75’ program. DCNS in collaboration with Mazagon Docks Shipbuilders Limited (MDSL) is constructing six state-of-the-art ‘Scorpene SSK’ diesel-electric submarines. DCNS and MDSL are working closely to meet the raising requirements of the India forces.
spoke to Life of Soldiers on the sidelines of DefExpo-16 at Goa and detailed about the offers of DCNS to India.
LOS – DCNS has been a lead naval solution provider for the Indian Navy. The company under the P-75 project has worked in close knots with various Indian firms. How would you rate the technological capabilities of the Indian Defence Industry?
Bernard Buisson – In recent past the government through its “Make in India” or “Skill India” policies, has been focusing heavily on building up the capabilities of Indian industrial companies, especially MSMEs, knowing well that these organizations would become the main driver in making India as the future manufacturing hub.
DCNS India realized the importance of the industrial ecosystem containing skilled, trained and qualified MSMEs at the very beginning of P75 contract. Since then, DCNS India has selected and qualified several companies like Flash Forge, SEC, HBL, Forbes Marshall and others through on job training and dedicated technology transfer to achieve successful indigenisation of key components (in all Float, Move and Fight categories identified by Indian Navy Indigenisation Plan 2015-30) for P75 submarines.
This skill set developed through cooperation with DCNS has also earned some of these MSMEs additional opportunities to work with other international companies for other defence projects. DCNS also utilized this industrial cooperation in India to procure certain key components for construction of naval vessels for French Navy as well. The existing knowledge and sustainable industrial ecosystem will be used for future shipbuilding projects (LPD, aircraft carrier, …) and also for the maintenance of the P75 fleet during operations.
LoS – The Indian Navy will be notifying the P-75I project in the near future. What are the offers by DCNS for the P-75I project and how do you intend to make the cut in this demanding environment?
Bernard Buisson – On P75I, we have answered the RFI and we hope to be one of the OEMs to receive the RFP. We believe the “Make In India” P75 program with its important indigenous content could be a good template, which could be used successfully for P75I by adding the additional functions or performances required by Indian Navy.
LoS – The completion of P-75 and P-75I project will see the emergence of India as a lead submarine force in the world. Maintenance and upgrade is an integral part of any deal. What is the blueprint that DCNS has to cater to the MRO needs of India? Is DCNS interested in making India, a global naval MRO hub?
Bernard Buisson – Indian Navy is experienced in operating different classes of submarines including EKM and SSK. In the near future, they will operate Scorpene class submarines built by MDL, under P75 project. These modern submarines are benefited from a very high level of integration and automation requiring an integrated service support.
French Navy has found it more cost effective and timely to subcontract to DCNS. All maintenance operations and support of its submarines through a Service Support contract for 10 years guaranteeing an operational availability at sea every year will be handled by the company.
Taking into account IN’s experience and existing infrastructure at its naval bases, DCNS is proposing to assist Indian Navy to support the P75 submarines through an on-site team comprising of Indian and French engineers to ensure optimised operability and sea time of Indian Navy’s P75 submarines.
LoS – The Indian Navy has issued a RFP for the construction of four Landing Platform Deck (LPD) vessels. DCNS is competing with its Mistral LPD vessel. Could you please shed light about this offer by DCNS?
Bernard Buisson – DCNS has teamed up with Pipavav (now RDEL) for LPD program of Indian Navy. We have proposed Pipavav (now RDEL), a modified version of our Mistral type LPD in order to answer to Indian Navy’s requirements. If RDEL is declared L1, they will entirely manufacture these LPDs with technical assistance from DCNS.