back to article India to place $11bn order for AIP hi-tech submarines

Indian defence chiefs have approved $11bn of funds to boost the country's submarine fleet. The cash is intended to see India become the first non-Western nation to deploy long-touted, much feared "air independent propulsion" (AIP) submarine technology. The Times of India reports that 50,000 crores of rupees (500 billion rupees …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Why would anyone buy french designed naval vessels?

    After all the issues with the Charles de Gaulle (R91)?

    1. Doug Glass

      They Throw In ....

      ... a case of wine and a whole bunch or now useless Burqas.

  2. John A Blackley


    Why does Mr. Page not class India as a "friendly" navy?

    Was it something they said?

  3. mhoobag


    How Much??

    They have people starving in the country and keep going around other nations with the begging bowl and they waste it on submarines??

    If you ask me we need to stop foreign aid to this country and look after out own.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Do other countries have to defend themselves as much as India?

      Countries that come to mind immediately

      - Pakistan

      - China

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So much for...

      They are not fools unfortunately. They simply dont care. The delays are likely to be because the right people didnt get the correct backhanders.

      TBH, i agtree with you. Any country that has its own space program and can afford 11b for Subs could easilly feed and clothe its own people. It has no right to be asking other countries to do it for them.

      A friend of mine went to India (Specifically Jaipur), for an consultancy company. (Wont give speciifcs to protect the innocent), He said that all the government people wanted backhanders to do anything, and most of the work he was trying to do was continually stymied by the locals.

      Most of the poor and starving will remain that way. One of the officials told him specifically, that the government didnt give a damn about their opinion because they didnt have any money.

      After nearly a year of getting nothing done, including a visit from His boss, who couldnt believe some of the issues he was having. (I know i wouldnt!), he just left.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Britain and HTP

    The British investigated HTP for AIP subs post war - with the German U-1407 renamed as HMS Meteorite and later HMS Explorer (nicknamed "Exploder") and HMS Excalibur. The last two were good for 25 knots submerged but the fuel was a bit hairy to work with.

  5. Anton Ivanov

    Bad analysis

    Lewis - you missed a few points:

    First, India has working supersonic cruise missiles capable of hitting ground targets. Brahmos. Verrrrrrry unpleasant beast - same speed and same countermeasure avoidance like Russian Sunburns, but capable of terrain following and over-land navigation and targeting. This missile was designed for submarine launch from day one.

    An Indian sub does not need to get within 100 miles. It is deadly to any fleet out there including "1st nations" at a range of up to 200+.

    Second, your assumption that if a couple of Merlins can cover the English channel they can cover the straights of Hormuz is incorrect. Hormuz, Gulf of Aden and a lot of other "points of interest" out there are different from the Channel - they have LOTS of islands close to the coast with channels between them that are deep enough to accommodate a diesel-electric. These provide more than enough shade for a sub to hide from active sonar until it can strike. Similarly, they provide space where it can evade after it strikes.

    1. fatchap


      The Brahmos has yet to be succesfully test launched from a sub so Lewis' report is acurate.

    2. Luther Blissett

      (2 * Merlin) / 2 != Merlin

      > Just two Royal Navy Merlin HM1 helicopters, equipped with active dipping sonar, are said to be able to monitor the entire English Channel for submarines

      From which it should not be inferred that one Merlin is able to monitor half the English Channel. This in case a sub gets bored with the Straits of Hormuz and decides to go on in search of cold water - I suspect the critical word is 'two' rather 'entire'.

  6. envmod


    I thought India were our mates? They ain't gonna nuke anyone except Pakistan....

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      RE: mates?

      Apart from the ongoing poor relations with Pakistan, India has an historic rivalry with China that has seen shooting wars happen. Given China's much larger nuke arsenal, it would seem a smart move for India to develop a sub-launched nuke option. An AIP sub with underwater-launched cruise missiles would be a lot harder for the Chinese to track and destroy, reducing the chances that a Chinese first strike would remove India's retaliatory capability. If India was dependent on siloed ballistic missiles alone, the Chinese could lauch an overwhelming attack that could knock out all India's missiles and the majority of the Indian air defence, then the Chinese Air Force could concetrate on hunting down any land-based cruise missile launchers. An unlikely event maybe, but the Indians might not want to bank on there never being another shooting war with India.

      The same argument is used to justify our Trident subs as a better deterant than ICBMs - the Soviets could have feasibly launched a first strike against the limited number of European ballistic missile silos with a reasonable chance of success, but they can't guarantee to find our deep-diving, quiet, nuke subs, and just one sub could have removed a large chunk of Russian cities from the face of the Earth. Again, it was a highly unlikely scenario, even at the height of the Cold War, but we played safe and spent the billions (much more than the Indians). Whether we still need such a deterant is debateable.

      /Come on, it's naval-related, just has to be S&Cs!

      1. Eddy Ito

        @Matt Bryant

        Sure subs have some clout but somehow I think the likes of Intel, IBM, etc. that have large stakes in both countries are a far better deterrence to a national scale conflict where subs and missiles would be employed. Sure, there might be local flare ups but big governments like the big dollars big companies bring to the peace negotiations. One caveat is that the inverse is true when oil is involved.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

          RE: @Matt Bryant

          "......One caveat is that the inverse is true when oil is involved." Amazed that conspriracy theory still sees daylight outside CodePink central! Please, can we all just try and get over the Bush Derangement Syndrome and actually admit there is no oil in Afghanistan? And as it goes, oil doesn't rate that highly on the strategic materials list any more. The US has plenty of assured supply. If you want to pretend the US only "invades" countries because of economic reasons, rather than nutters aiding and hiding other nutters that deliberately fly airliners into your skyscrapers, then I suggest that the "evil Bushitler" would have been much more likely to have attacked Bolivia to gain control of their lithium deposits. Please, just try and think for yourself for a bit, rather than just swallowing what the conspiracy theorists spoonfeed you.

          As for big company involvement, I'd suggest you go look at the record of several large American companies during WW2. The Ford company, for example, was blatently pro-Nazi and refused to make Merlin engines in the US for the Brits, but was accused of retaining control of German Ford factories and helping the Germans Nazis develop military vehicles even AFTER the US had joined the war. Your idea that big company interests would somehow over-rule political will just sounds like anti-capitalist paranoia - "we're all under Big Company Brother's control"! Ford not only made millions producing vehicles for both sides during the War, they even claimed a payout post-War for the damage done to their German factories by Allied bombing!

          In the meantime, go look at a map of China and you'll see that the majority of China's major cities are within a hundred miles of the coast, including Beijing. An Indian cruise-armed sub that could sneak into the Yellow Sea would pose a considerable threat to the Chinese capital.

          1. Dave Murray
            Black Helicopters

            All that glitters is not oil

            So you missed the announcement from the Pentagon of 1 trillion dollars worth of minerals in Afghanistan last month then? Including iron, copper, niobium and possibly more lithium than Bolivia.

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

              RE: All that glitters is not oil

              <Sigh> There is no-one so blind as those who just want to see what they want to see. If you insist on looking for conspiracy theories everywhere then that's all you'll see. The massive mineral wealth of Aghanistan has been well known for decades, a lot of it was discovered and mapped by the colonial British forces a century ago. My father was out there in the late '50s, working for an engineering firm supplying the many mining companies that were operating in the company under the old Shah's regime. Not many people know that the Afghans wanted to copy Ataturk's attempts to drag Turkey into the 20th century and were very keen on assimilating Western skills through the '20s to the '70s. If the old political structure hadn't have been messed up by the '73 coup, it's likely that Afghanistan would have become one of the leading countries in the Asian arena.

              The Pentagon announcement was an effort to drive foreign investment in Afghanistan, to help build and stabilise the economy, so that the Allies can get OUT, not an announcement of what the US was going to be exploiting the Afghan situation for.

              Once again, the IndyMedia dribblers have turned another Reg techmech discussion into an airing of their delusions.

  7. Defiant


    And this is a country we give Aid too.......

    1. ElFatbob

      Just what i was thinking.....

      so, can we have the £100m foreign aid back now, please?

      1. dpg21
        Thumb Down

        and the rest..

        India gets £250 million annual development assistance from the UK. Perhaps if the 1st world countries stopped giving aid to such a corrupt government, the population would revolt and insanities like funding their own space program while a large percentage of their population literally starved would end.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I was under the impression that the west now have satellites that can track changes in gravity in the sea and thus detect submarines real time?

    As for the so called aid we send to India, think of it as export subsidies rather than aid.....

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Changes in Gravity

      Magnetic, actually. The huge mass of metal that is a warship, cargo ship or submarine are detectable by satellite, if the satellite has a general area to look at.

      An isolated audio sensor net suddenly losing/picking a signal would be a good place to start...

      Whether they have gotten to the point of determining class or specific subs from the magnetic signature, well...

  9. Brian Miller

    India vs anybody *except* Pakistan??

    OK, what's the point of India fighting anybody *except* Pakistan? And really, it's all a bunch of sabre rattling anyways.

    Instead of all of these problems associated with *intercepting* something, the point of a small sub should be *getting away from* something. Get within missile range and let them rip. Or go and lay some mines. How about smart mines, operating like slow torpedoes? A quiet sub laying a load of those would give somebody quite a few problems.

    Oh, never mind the subs and the ships. All the high-tech nations seem to be stymied by a pauper who can mount a machine gun on a fishing boat or pickup truck. Just look at the Somali "technicals" and pirate ships.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re India vs anybody *except* Pakistan??

      Indeed. Bunch of captor mines (essentially a homing torpedo in a box) scattered in choke points or near important ports or naval bases or just good "old fashioned" explosive mines which come with lots of different trigger methods these days. Classic job for the sub.

      As for being stymied by low tech muppets, that's just because we "play nice" to stop the media and chattering classes moaning too much, but mostly to win hearts and minds. How long do you think it would take a modern force to remove a village with all inhabitants if we dialled it up to 11? Take a look at the Basra Highway pictures from Gulf War I if you need reminding what we could do if we wanted to. NATO forces make a massive effort to avoid civvie casualties in Afghanistan and all we hear is ill-informed media talking heads and unrealistic idiots spouting off if a couple of non-combatants get killed. It is a war remember. People die, innocent or not. We try our hardest to keep that first proportion down. If we had the political will, the Somali pirates would cease to be a problem in a few hours.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        "Play nice" depends on your definition of "we"

        We play nice. That says nothing about Indian, Russian, Chinese and other warships in the Gulf of Aden that are not under EU/NATO command.

        Russian and Indian definitely do not. The former put the pirates (or whatever was left of it after Spec-naz had its way) they had captured into a dingy with no food, water and no navigational aids and "let them go". Nobody has ever seen them after that. The Indian went even further by using suspected pirate motherships for target practice.

        I have not heard of any Russian or Indian ship (regardless of flag actually used) attacked since either incident. By the way this confirms something which Russians have been saying all along - that pirates have detailed information about ships to attack including crew nationality and cargo.

        I guess there is a lesson in this somewhere... Shoot first, ask questions later...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    India are one of the largest recipients of UK aid at over £1 billion pa.

    They're spending $11 billion on these subs, have a next gen fighter project, nuclear weapons, a space program that plans to put an astronaut in space by 2015 and one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

    Something is seriously not right.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      The Chinese have shown that the quickest way out of poverty is to industrialise as quickly as possible and get some of the population rich enough that they can generate demand for more goods. India's trying to do it even faster and to do so through high technologies such as rockets, satellites and IT.

      People are being left behind and the Indian government probably should do more to help, but if we can give money to help some of the very poorest people in the World have a life that's halfway worth living, then let's do so.

      You know those billions might make up for some of the countless billions the UK stole, embezzled and extorted from the Indians during our time as the resident Imperial power.

      1. dpg21
        Thumb Down

        I dont think so.

        You make it sound like the the Indian government has 'forgotten' about its poor people, when the opposite is actually the case. The Indian ruling cast is quite deliberately starving its own people, whom it sees as 'unclean'. All the aid from the UK is doing is helping to support the Indian governments practices instead of actually helping the poor of India.

  11. Graham Bartlett

    Better uses for $11bn

    Feeding the poor, perhaps, or providing people with drinking water - instead of asking the rest of us for handouts to pay for it whilst pissing away a fortune on arms. £250m a year from the UK, for starters, and hundreds of millions a year from the World Bank too.

    1. Arclight


      The £300bn they're spending on putting a man into space.

      I have no problem helping the poor in developing nations, where those nations have no money, but to give the Indian government £250m of our money to spend on fireworks and toy boats is ridiculous, especially as our taxes will be going up and services are being cut.

    2. Robert E A Harvey


      That's the same argument as is made for us scrapping Trident.

      Which we should, of course.

  12. JaitcH

    And who collects the bribes??

    In the '80's dodgy military deals always required bribes.

    Things haven't changed much over the years, either. < >.

    Isn't it amazing how countries with high poverty can always put together millions of dollars to keep the military happy whilst many more millions live in abject poverty.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      cleaning up in your own house ?

      you can also refer this


      kind of makes us partners in crime

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Defence comes first!

    See where it left us with our defenses down against the East India Company?

  14. Toshiro

    British aid bogus

    If you had neighbors like Pakistan and China, you too would be spending $11 billion or more on weapons. The real question is, why is the UK spending so much on defence (sitting in the happy comfort of Europe)? And aren't there poor people in the UK who would rather be taken care of? Take a good look at yourself, friend. India does not need foreign aid. The reason foreign aid comes to India is because foreign aid is looking for countries where the environment allows them to be productive, which happens to be India, with it's democratic setup and general lawfulness. And one more thing, India now has a nuclear sub. Look up "Arihant' on Google.

  15. Raj

    Aid schmaid

    British 'aid' is a British decision to provide, so as to further British commercial and trade interests. You should go tell your own government if you don't like it, not come bitching at us. The World Bank gives us loans, which we repay in full. Don't believe it ? Go ask them.

    These subs will be built in India. It will broaden our own military industrial complex, increasing economic activity, employing people, and therefore contributing to our economy. No different from BAE Systems Marine in UK.

    By the way, India has nuclear subs too - the first SSBN is undergoing sea trials now. Google 'Arihant class submarine'.

  16. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    So India *has* the cash to install fresh water and sewereage for all its populaiton

    It just chooses *not* to.

    So that is their *choice. *

    1. Michael Brown

      Pot, kettle, black

      The UK *has* the cash to eradicate poverty in its population (and there's a lot of it), it just chooses *not* to. It is their *choice*.

      1. fatchap


        Depends how you measure poverty. The UK government has for sometime used the definition of earning less that 50% of the average. I will leave to you to spot why eradicating poverty with this measure is impossible.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Couple of mistakes.

    1/ Last time I looked (last year), we still had a couple of Diesel Subs.

    2/ India has bought "Akula" Class Nukes from Russia in the last year or two; at least one and probably more.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    An "Uber U-boat"???

    An "Upper Under Boat"? That seems to fail as a submarine on some fundamental level!

  19. David Lucke

    AIP not a threat to first world? You may want to rethink that.

    There have been a number of occasions on naval exercises over the last few years where the Americans have been seriously embarassed by aip subs sneaking through carrier groups and "killing" their carriers. Active sonar from escort ships and helicopters can certainly make it tough to achieve, but its not a magic bullet solution to the problem. It has to be done by people who are well trained in how to use it, and who are taking the threat seriously, and even then can be bloody hard to get right, particularly in the littoral environment (near the coastline), where it is easy for subs to hide. Incidentally, its not like dipping sonar is a new tech or anything, its been around for decades, which means naval tacticians have had decades to work out how to get around it.

  20. Bill Neal


    What ever happened to Magneto-Hydro-Dynamic propulsion? I know the US navy just spent a boatload on R&D in the subject, and Japan got the Yamamoto (Mitsubishi?) off to the tune of 20 knots without a sound. It needs some work, but seems to have potential still. Is it still like the other "just around the corner" ideas?

    1. TimeMaster T


      The MHD will NEVER be used in a military sub.

      MHD systems use massive magnetic fields.

      Think about it.

      The magnetic signature of a sub using normal propulsion systems can be detected at great range, I've heard that some LOE satellites can do it. A sub with a MHD drive would be tactically useless. Despite what they said in "Hunt for Red October".

      How do I know? I asked a guy who worked on stealth for subs.

      MHD tech has its place, just not in a sub.

  21. omohat

    India not the first with AIP

    "The cash is intended to see India become the first non-Western nation to deploy long-touted, much feared "air independent propulsion" (AIP) submarine technology."

    Pakistan deployed it's first AIP submarine (PNS Khalid - an Agosta 90b class boat) in 2008. The other two boats of this class are due to be upgraded with the same (MESMA) AIP system from 2011 when they are due for their first overhaul. I'd expect better from a former naval officer.

  22. Ascylto


    Have the flags been Photoshopped in? It looks like a British naval flag at the rear!

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Astute CodedD Messages ........ for the Acutely Active?

      "Have the flags been Photoshopped in? It looks like a British naval flag at the rear!" ... Ascylto Posted Thursday 15th July 2010 10:05 GMT

      And a Dutch flag a'fluttering from the conning tower, Ascylto. That's bound to be a potent mix.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Little known facts about India

    The Arihant("Destroyer of Enemies" in Sanskrit) Class subs are nuclear powered and are undergoing sea trials. Upto 5 subs are planned.

    The Sagarika (Project K15 )missile has been tested. Underwater launches have bee proven.

    The Indian FBF warhead is about 100-150kg giving 20kT. The unique warhead design WAS COPIED later and were seen in US warhead designs.

    At 1000 kg, the Sagarika can reach 1200km. With a 400kg, that range can be extended quite a bit....enough to destroy major cities using subs.

    india has developed and operationisled a range of missiles.

    The ones with longest legs can carry a nuclear payload over 8000km .

    India also has BMD programme. Both the PAD and AAD are undergoing tests now.

    Agni-V test is planned for next year. Truely ICBM.

    In 3 years time, the Indian Navy , Air force and Army will each get their own satellites.

    India has the largest constellation of Remote Sensing Satellites in the world.

    The Kaveri-GTX engine needs a few years for fruition.

    A range of UAVs are being designed.

    AWACS on Embraer Platform began 5 years ago. 10 AWACS are planned.

    Light Combat Aircraft will be inducted in 2011-2012. LCA Navy rolled out earlier this month.

    This list goes on and on.

    A 300 year hiatus is not going to stop the Indians!

    Here in Britain, we go by biased news and want to reinforce the image we have. Reality is different.

    The Indians will have the final laugh when Uranium runs out...their Power generation programme is based on 3-stage Thorium cycle where fuel is recycled.

    Yes, there is poverty. But without defending the borders, you will not have peolpe with poverty.

    This is a civilization that has seen it all. From great heights to deepest pits ( Colonization ).

    Those fellows know what they are will take time. In 20 years time, India will probably not be the bully the US is today...but will be a powerful , sane friend for many including African countries, not just Europe.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Little known facts about India

      The sixties called. They want their rose tinted spectacles back.

    2. moonface

      Re: Little known facts about India

      "Those fellows know what they are will take time. In 20 years time, India will probably not be the bully the US is today...but will be a powerful , sane friend for many including African countries, not just Europe."

      Thanks for that! I will now look forward, to to future Indian Aid to supplement my dwindling UK pension.

    3. TimeMaster T


      For future reference;

      Not everyone knows what all the acronyms mean.

      There are many people who read TheReg who are not Navel Technology buffs. Like me.


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