MoD takes U-turn on cancellation of Black Shark torpedo contract – India


The government’s new approach towards cancellation marks a return to following a nuanced approach towards subsidiaries of tainted firms.

Sandeep Unnithan  | Posted by Bijaya Kumar Das

New Delhi, July 29, 2016 | UPDATED 09:10 IST

The Ministry of Defence has put on hold plans to scrap its acquisition of 98 Black Shark heavyweight torpedoes from a subsidiary of tainted Italian firm Finmeccannica.

Sources told  that the decision to stall the scrapping of the Rs 1,800-crore torpedo deal was taken this month. Defence minister Manohar Parrikar is believed to have instructed MoD officials to hold on the cancellation until the MoD’s new debarment policy is finalised.

On May 6 this year, Parrikar announced a blacklist of Finmeccanica for bribery in the 560-million Euros VVIP helicopter deal in 2010. Defence ministry officials said that the process for revoking the Request for Proposal on the Black Shark torpedo contract, had been initiated in May this year. The torpedo is made by a Finmeccanica subsidiary WASS.

“Wherever there is capital procurement of Finmeccanica and their subsidiaries, all Requests for Proposal [RFP] will be closed. I am very clear,” he said in a May 29 interview. The government had found alternatives to the Finmeccanica torpedo, MoD officials said.

The government’s new approach towards cancellation marks a return to following a nuanced approach towards subsidiaries of tainted firms. Officials in the law, finance and defence ministry consulted over the Black Shark cancellation, warned of its financial implications and its impact on defence preparedness.

The torpedoes were to have equipped the six Scorpene class submarines being built at the MDL, Mumbai. The first submarine of the class is on sea trials without torpedoes.

As first reported by  on July 1, officials in the strategic submarine project had communicated their alarm over the cancellation of the Black Shark torpedo deal. The Italian torpedo was to have also been fitted in three ‘Arihant class’ nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines.

Original post


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Arihant class SSBN


In 2009 India launched its first indigenously designed nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine. The whole project was kept in high secrecy. Some sources report, that in 2014 submarine has been secretly moved out of harbor for sea trials. Sea trials represent the final stage before submarine becomes operational with the Indian Navy. It is considered a milestone in the development of the Indian Navy. India joined five other countries, capable of designing and building nuclear-powered submarines. Other countries of this club are China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and the USA.


The lead boat was named INS Arihant (the one, who has conquered all internal enemies). Design of this boat is based on the Charlie I class submarine, leased from the former Soviet Union to India from 1987 to 1991. For a long time this new Indian boat was referred as the ATV or Advanced Technology Vessel, to maintain secrecy. It was a part of a science project, lasting nearly 11 years. The submarine and power plant were developed with Russian assistance. The Arihant is expected to be commissioned for full service with the Indian Navy in the near future. Possibly 2015 or 2016. Three more bots of the same class are under construction and two more are planned.


It is reported that Arihant carries four K-4 ballistic missiles. These have a range of 3 000-3 500 km and carry nuclear warheads. It is a submarine-launcher version of the Agni III ballistic missile. Submarine-launched ballistic missiles will give India a second strike capability.

The submarine can remain hidden deep in the Indian Ocean or launch missiles within territorial waters. Some sources report that submarine can also carry twelve shorter-range K-15 ballistic missiles. These non-strategic missiles have a range of 750-1 900 km. Also there are six 533-mm torpedo tubes for missiles and torpedoes.

The Arihant class SSBN is powered by an 83 MW nuclear pressurized water reactor, developed at the Center of Atomic Research. Some sources report that this nuclear reactor was built with significant Russian assistance. This reactor uses highly enriched uranium as a fuel and light water as coolant. It generates high levels of heat, that drives a steam turbine, which in turn rotates a propeller. Nuclear-powered submarines go faster and spend longer time at sea than conventional diesel counterparts. Sea endurance of the INS Arihant is limited only by food supplies. Source


Name: INS Arihant
Builder: Shipbuilding Centre (SBC),Visakhapatnam, India
Launched: 26 July 2009
Acquired: 13 December 2014
Commissioned: 2016 (expected)
Homeport: Visakhapatnam
Status: Awaiting Commissioning 
General characteristics
Class and type: Arihant-class ballistic missile submarine
Displacement: surface: 6,000 tonne (estimated) 
Length: 111 m (364 ft)
Beam: 15 m (49 ft)
Draft: 11 m (36 ft)
Installed power: 83 MW (111,305 hp)
Propulsion: PWR using 40% enriched uranium fuel (83 MWe); one turbine (47,000 hp/70 MW); one shaft; one 7-bladed, high-skew propeller (estimated)
Range: unlimited except by food supplies
Test depth: 350 m (1,150 ft) (estimated)
Complement: 95–100 officers and men
Sensors and
processing systems:
USHUS sonar



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