Sweden’s Saab has entered the Indian Navy competition for its Project-75(I) submarine acquisition program, submitting a response to the navy’s Request For Information (RFI) based on the Saab Kockums A26 submarine.
Jan Widerström, Saab India Country Head and Chairman, confirmed to StratPost, “We are responding to the RFI.”
He explained that this decision came after a company review of the RFI and said, “We are confident that we can offer the Navy a perfect match on their request.”
“Saab is currently building tomorrow’s most advanced conventional submarine for the Swedish Navy,” he said, adding, “The A26 is the world’s most advanced conventional AIP submarine that incorporates current technologies and is geared for all forms of underwater engagements, including intelligence operations and dealing with asymmetrical threats.”
Saab Kockums A26
Widerström says, “Saab’s A26 uses the latest stealth technology to make it virtually invisible. It incorporates advanced network-centric communication to allow submarines to integrate their communications with those of other defence forces and civilian agencies. Operational flexibility, together with a comprehensive weapons suite, enables it to carry out a wide variety of missions.
“A key benefit in the design of the A26 submarine is its modularity, which provides an amazing degree of operational flexibility, future-proofs the vessel and contributes significantly to cost-effective construction and assembly,” he says.
Air Independent Propulsion
“Saab Kockums has developed and manufactured Stirling Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system which is a proven AIP. We introduced AIP on an operational submarine as early as 1988, when the ﬁrst Swedish designed and developed Stirling Engine was installed on RSwN submarine Nacken,” says Widerström, adding, “Since then we have continued to improve, both the efﬁciency and compactness of these engines for enhanced performance and endurance underwater. The A26 will use the latest Stirling AIP.”
We have also successfully retroﬁtted our Stirling AIP Plug on conventional submarines that were earlier designed without AIP.
Widerström also references India’s own AIP development program and says, “Saab Kockums acknowledges the importance of indigenous development for Air Independent Propulsion and we have indicated our willingness to work with Navy and DRDO to integrate indigenously developed AIP with the proposed design.”
Depending on the Indian Navy’s requirements, Saab Kockums may also make available its proprietary GHOST® technology for enhancing the stealth of the A26. “GHOST® (Genuine HOlistic STealth) technology makes the A26 submarine effectively undetectable. Extreme stealth is at the heart of the A26 submarine, and it depends on good design right from the very beginning. The holistic nature of optimised GHOST® covers all types of signatures to make it almost impossible to spot during silent service. The configuration would depend on the requirements stipulated by the Indian Navy,” says Widerström.
Transfer of Technology
“In principle, we see no difficulty in transferring technologies of interest to the Navy; the details will depend on the final requirements for technology transfer. Our approach to transfer of technology is far more than the transfer of production and support capability – it involves sharing knowledge and experiences from a century of submarine design, engineering and production so that India can acquire, operate and sustain a complete national capability for ‘stealthy’ underwater platforms,” says Widerström, adding, “Submarines for export are always tailored to the specifications of the customer, and so any Saab proposal for India would be unique to India, while drawing on the proven A 26 design.”
We believe in a strategic partnership that will, in the true spirit of co-operation and long term teaming, develop the capacity and competence of the Indian Navy, its design teams, and shipyards — to not only manufacture, modify and upgrade the new submarines for India but also develop the skills and experience to design and build future platforms in India.
Widerström says, “The A26 submarine is designed and developed from an economical perspective to provide a very cost-effective investment. Saab has also taken numerous measures to minimise the life cycle costs of the A26 submarine.”