Thales looking at role in India's nuclear submarine project
(Sourced from PTI)
French defense company Thales has said it is working on doubling its footprint in India by expanding its overall product portfolios with a major focus on India's ambitious project to build a fleet of nuclear-powered attack submarines. Senior Executive Vice-President (International Development) Pascale Sourisse said Thales was, in particular, looking at supplying key components such as sonars for India's nuclear-powered and other submarines.
"We can equip any kind of submarines including nuclear-powered submarines. We are equipping nuclear submarines in France," said Sourisse. India has been working on a secret project to build six nuclear-powered attack submarines which are expected to boost the Navy's overall strike capabilities. The government had last year also begun the process to acquire six conventionally-powered advanced stealth submarines at Rs. 60,000 crore.
Six Scorpene-class submarines are currently being built under 'Project 75' of the Indian Navy. The submarines, designed by French firm Naval Group, are being built by the Mazagon Dock Limited in Mumbai. The project P-75 (I) will be a follow-on for Project 75.
Sourisse said India was one of the top three priority markets for the company as it plans to double its footprint here in the next few years by ramping up its supply chain and building a sustainable ecosystem of partners. Thales expected defense manufacturing in India to grow because of the government's initiatives in boosting the production of weapons and military platforms, she said.
In particular, Sourisse referred to the government's decision to raise foreign direct investment in defense manufacturing to 74% for certain niche segments. Sourisse said the Thales strategy was not only to support the government's "Make in India" policy but also exports from India.
India is expected to spend close to $300bn in the next five years in procuring defense equipment and almost all major global defense firms are eyeing a slice of it. "We are in India for 65 years. Since 1953, we've been working with the Indian Air Force, the Navy and the Army," Sourisse said adding the company was looking to expand its product portfolio.
On the Rafale deal, Sourisse said it would be a "win-win" proposition for India. Thales will provide equipment and systems that are expected to account for about 25% of the total value of each Rafale.