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India to approve plans for six-boat nuclear submarine fleet

India's federal government is expected to approve funding for the Indian Navy's (IN's) amended 30-year submarine building plan, first sanctioned in 1999, which will now include a programme to indigenously build six nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs).

Senior IN officers and industry officials have told Janes that the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) is expected to initially sanction approximately INR500 billion (USD6.67 billion) before mid-2022 to build three 6,000-tonne SSNs at the Ship Building Centre in Visakhapatnam.

The officials said the first of these boats – estimated to cost INR160 billion each – is scheduled for completion around 2032–33.

Financial CCS approval for the remaining three SSNs, which are expected to incorporate more than 95% local content, would follow subsequently as the programme progresses, the officials said. The entire SSN programme would span a 25-year period from when the first boat's construction begins.

The IN's 1999 submarine building programme had envisaged a force of 24 ‘hunter-killer' diesel-electric conventional submarines with air-independent propulsion and land-attack capability. The boats were scheduled to be in service by 2029–30, however, the programme is beset by delays.

Other than the government-run Defence Research and Development Organisation, the proposed SSN programme will see the involvement of the Department of Atomic Energy, the IN, and selected scientists and technicians from Russia.

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