Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems has announced a key contract worth 35 million Euros (approx. INR 2.5 billion) for the upgrade of Indian Navy’s two Shishumar Class submarines to fire Harpoon Anti-Submarine Counter measure missiles. The retrofit of the new weapon suite will be carried out in two of the four SSK submarines (INS Shishumar, Shankush, Shalki and Shankul) at Naval Dockyard, Mumbai and is backed by a training package to support and operate the system.
In July 2014, the US Government had notified the Congress of a possible deal to sell 22 more Harpoon Block II anti-shipping missiles to the Indian Navy for its four HDW German made Shishumar class submarines. The missiles operational range is of around 140 km.
The upgrades are most likely for INS Shalki and INS Shankul as they are of 1990’s vintage compared to INS Sishumar and INS Shankul which are of 1980’s vintage. INS Shalki and INS Shankul were built in India at Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL), Mumbai under a technology transfer agreement.
“Only these two (Shalki and Shankul) can be done because certain modifications to the firing chain for missile launch need to be incorporated, which in a ‘fitted for’ configurations had already been catered for. Only the impulse flasks etc need to be added in the firing chain as the torpedoes are in swim out mode,” says Cmde Arun Kumar, AVSM, NM (Retd.), who has overseen the Sishumar upgrade program in the past.
Dr Gurnad Sodhi, Managing Director of thyssenkrupp Marine Systems’ operations in India, said, “It is a key milestone in our long-standing commitment towards India. We have the capacity to integrate any weapon system that is selected by the Indian Navy, onto our submarines. We have successfully carried out such integration on similar boats for other Navies across the world. We are happy to take on this project to now integrate the harpoon missiles in two of the four SSK submarines.”
Thyssenkrupp is also ready to integrate ‘Brahmos’ onto the latest 214 Class Submarines for the upcoming project P75 (I) project. “We fully support the ‘Make and Made in India’ policy which would encompass inter-alia Transfer of Technology (ToT), training and meeting all offset obligations. We are awaiting the government’s decision on the Strategic Partner chapter of the new DPP 2016, after which we will begin our negotiations with an Indian shipyard for the P75(I)”, said Dr Sodhi.