As exclusive interview with Fernando Formoso, Commercial Director, Navantia on Indian Navy’s Project -75I
By Rohit Srivastava
On P-75I participation
Fernando - Our proposal for the P75(I) is based on our S80 plus submarine, which is very close to the P75(I) requirements and the only 3.000-ton AIP submarine currently under construction worldwide. This advantage in terms of design readiness is allowing us to concentrate our efforts in the indigenization of the submarine and on the technology transfer (ToT) opportunities, in support of the “make in India” philosophy. We are also working with the two shortlisted Strategic Partners (SP), with the aim to be selected as one of the designers, which they will team with to reply to the Request for Proposal (RFP) which we expect to be released by June.
On Indian industry
Fernando - We have previous experience with the two SPs. With Mazagon Dock Shipyard, as co-designers of the Scorpene submarines, we have collaborated in the Indian Scorpene program and with Larsen & Toubro we are also teaming in projects like the Landing Patrol Docks. Both of them have experience in submarines and have shown that are capable of delivering sophisticated products to the Indian Navy. We would be very happy to share with them our expertise in designing, building, commissioning and performing life cycle support of submarines, according to the “make in India” principles, to enrich the SP-Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) team technical and manufacturing capabilities.
On the other hand, we are already in contact with more than 150 Indian suppliers for the indigenization of the submarine ToT. We have seen a great interest on their side and we think there are big opportunities to reach a fruitful collaboration with them for our mutual benefit and enrichment.
On P-75I competition
Fernando - We all have gone through a qualification process with the aim of shortlisting foreign OEM capable of delivering a design fitting the Ministry of Defence's technical requirements. We are currently working with both the SP to highlight our advantages over our competitors.
We think our S80P design is closer to Indian Navy requirements, so engineering costs will be competitive. Together with that, other important aspect is that Navantia has a successful record in ToT projects around the world. We think and can affirm, without comparing to any one, that Navantia has a more open-minded approach to ToT programs than others, having gone ourselves through that experience of acquiring knowledge through ToT programs for Spanish Navy.
And last but not the least, the P75I project would fit very well in the engineering planning with S80P program. So in summary, and knowing that we are competing against some of the most capable submarine designers, we consider our proposal very competitive and well positioned.
On Indian partners
Fernando - As we said before, we are in contact with more than 150 Indian suppliers and progressing in the path that will lead us to a fruitful collaboration. At present, all of them have possibilities to be partners. We will be evaluating their capabilities to comply with the technical requirements with a competitive price. The final decision will be taken in conjunction with the SP in further phases.
Regarding SP, we have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) specific to this project with the two shortlisted, L&T and MDL.
On S-80plus weapons package
Fernando - The weapon package is a choice of the Indian Navy to be made. We have considered all the requirements in the Expression of Interest (EoI), and we are offering a flexible design that can accommodate them. At this stage, we are not able to disclose any information on this topic.
On possibility of Indian weapons on S80
Fernando - Navantia has a lot of experience in the integration of Equipment and systems from different suppliers. In fact, the S80 plus supply chain is very international and not tied to specific suppliers, so we are open and flexible to integrate indigenous weapons. We are in conversations with Indian weapon suppliers in several fields.
On political support for strategic cooperation
Fernando - Navantia is a Spanish state-owned company and is lucky to count with the necessary support from the Spanish Navy, the Spanish MoD, and the Spanish Government. The relations between Spain and India are very good, so we do not see a weakness in this topic. However, our focus is to convince both the SP’s and the Indian MoD to choose our proposal because we are confident it will be the best technical solution that fits the requirements, at a competitive price.
On LPD program
Fernando - It is true that we have been waiting long for a decision on the LPD program. We have recently extended the validity of the commercial proposal, together with our partner in this project, so we are ready for an immediate start, if required. With this particular project, we have already performed ToT with two international navies.