The Indian Navy has extended the deadline for submission of responses to a Request For Information (RFI) for it’s P75(I) Make In India submarine program.
The responses to the RFI were due by September 15, 2017 but the deadline for the RFI, issued in July, has been extended to October 16, 2017.
Six global warship manufacturers are expected to compete for the program: Naval Group of France (formerly DCNS), Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) of Germany, Navantia of Spain, Russia’s Rosoboronexport, Saab Kockums of Sweden and the Japanese industrial combine of Mitsubishi and Kawasaki.
While no reason has been officially attributed for the extension of the deadline, sources explained to StratPost that the step has been taken to accommodate requests made by several vendors expected to submit bids.
And while the Government of India wants to make sure of Japanese engagement in this competition, irrespective of the eventual outcome, the Japanese have not yet decided whether they want to participate in a competitive tender after their experience in Australia.
In recent years, Japan has taken its first steps into the international defense market, pitching its Soryu-class submarine in an Australian competition, which was eventually won by DCNS, now called Naval Group.
Firstly, the Japanese will require clearances for export before they can respond to the RFI and it is still unclear how this will be managed within the timelines under consideration, even though the Japanese government had established a new Acquisition Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA) under the Japanese defense ministry in 2016. If the Japanese participate in the competition, it is the ATLA which is expected to lead the bid.
Secondly, with snap polls anticipated in Japan within the next two or three months, observers anticipate no decision on Japanese participation before a new government is formed.
Thirdly, a decision on participation will also be contingent on a review of the progress made on the sale of the US-2i amphibious aircraft to the Indian Navy, which the Japanese government has been negotiating as its first international defense sale for several years, now.
Meanwhile, Saab has confirmed its intention to participate in the RFI. Jan Widerström, Country Head and Chairman of Saab India told StratPost, “We will be responding to the RFI.”
The participation of the Saab Kockums A26 submarine was uncertain as the company’s top leadership mulled over the prospect after the RFI was published.
TKMS has already announced it will be submitting a response to the RFI. Naval Group, Navantia and the Russians are also expected to participate.