From 23 to 27 September in India, in the port of Cochin, the first international naval exhibition NAMEXPO 2013 was held. In the last issue of the weekly "MIC" in detail told about this event. Mikhail Khodaryonok, editor-in-chief of the newspaper “Military Industrial Complex”, talked with Andrei Igorevich Baranov, Deputy Director General for Foreign Economic Activity and Military-Technical Cooperation of the Rubin Central Marine Engineering Equipment OJSC, which also participated in the exhibition.
MIC: Andrei Igorevich, has India made a decision on the second repair of submarines of the 877 EKM project? Where will the repair and upgrade take place?
- While negotiations are ongoing, we are waiting for the decision of the Indian side. If the Indian fleet wants to resolve this issue in a short time and with a guaranteed result, then, in our opinion, everything needs to be done at Zvyozdochka (Zvyozdochka Ship Repair Center OJSC - Ed.), Which has significant experience in carrying out such work. But the decision is India. The Russian side came up with this proposal based on our analysis of the condition of diesel submarines in India: today, some of the ships have exhausted their resources and, in principle, they should have been replaced by the French Scorpions. However, the term of entry into the Indian fleet “Skorpen” moved to the right, so we offer a second repair and extension of the service life of submarines 877EKM. Perhaps the Indians will want to expand the list of equipment of their own production, which will be delivered to the boats as part of the modernization, for example, in terms of electronic weapons.
"MIC": In India, the first repair and modernization of three or four boats of the project 877 EKM did not pass. Everywhere numbers are called different.
- In service with the Indian Navy there are several boats that have not been modernized, which the country was going to repair on its own. Now, it seems, we are talking about the fact that some of these submarines will still be sent to Russia for modernization and extension of service life. But since almost every year Indian submarines of the 877EKM project move to the stage of completing their regular life cycle, the question of extending the service life will still affect most of the Kilo-class boats of the Indian fleet.
"MIC": About the submarine of the same class "Sindushastra", in which the term of modernization and repair is also suitable, did the Indian side say anything?
“Everything I said applies to her.” We can not single out here.
"MIC": equally obtained?
"MIC": Is there any fresh information, maybe new versions regarding the catastrophe with the Sindurakshak boat?
“We know that India plans to announce a tender for the lifting of the ship.” After lifting the cause of death of the boat will be finally clear, but the Indian fleet will make these conclusions. While the information that comes to us is extremely limited.
- What are your impressions of the NAMEXPO 2013?
- It seems to me that this is a great initiative of the Indian fleet - to hold naval exhibitions near the sea. We traditionally participated in Delhi at Defexpo and in 2014, we will also present our projects there. But Cochin is a more interesting place, because the proximity of the sea creates a completely different atmosphere: you can show ships and focus exclusively on the marine theme, technologies and equipment for shipbuilding.
"MIC": Question on another tender. Long-suffering 75I. Is there any progress?
- Basically, we came to the NAMEXPO exhibition precisely because of the tender Project 75I, because the situation around this project has intensified. Our proposal is well known: it is “Amur” with an air-independent power plant (VNEU). Detailed negotiations with India have been underway for three years. Very intensive negotiations took place as early as the beginning of 2000, but, unfortunately for us, Delhi did not announce a tender at that time, but began to work on an intergovernmental agreement with the French on Scorpenes. The issue of purchasing the second batch of modern boats was suspended by the Indian side.
Since that time, we have not stood still: the Amur-1650 prototype, a fourth-generation non-nuclear submarine Lada, has spent about a year in four years of testing. Following the results of the tests, Rubin completed a modernized design of the ship, which was approved by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. You know that the Russian military department decided to continue the construction of the Lada series of submarines. In addition, we took into account the new wishes of the Indian side in the framework of the tender Project 75I. One of the requirements of India is the presence of an air-independent power plant: we are creating a VNEU on the order of our fleet for the second batch of Lada-type boats, so we feel confident on this basis. Indians say they intend to announce RFP (Request for Proposal - Request for Proposal. - Ed.) From 2010, and given the urgent need to upgrade the submarine fleet, create support groups for aircraft carriers Vikramaditya and Vikrant, it is likely that RFP time will be announced.
"MIC": Regarding equipping submarines, which India plans to acquire in the framework of the tender Project 75I, has the Indian side already decided that these will be BrahMos missiles?
- The initiative to equip the "BrahMos" comes not yet from the Indian fleet. This is an offer from BrahMos Aerospace, which we support. Our platform - "Amur-1650" allows you to place these missiles vertically in launchers. Corresponding studies have already been done. Since BrahMos is a joint Russian-Indian offspring, BrahMos on our platform is a reality. But whether it will be possible to install these missiles on the platforms of third countries is a big question. I would even say that it will not work for a number of reasons. The decision remains with the Indian fleet and the Ministry of Defense of India, but one way or another, if they deem it necessary to have the BrahMos with an underwater platform, they will have to interact with us.
"MIC": "BrahMos Aerospace" is ready to present the corresponding product?
“In the spring, the company conducted successful missile tests from a submersible stand. The launch went according to plan, the BrahMos Aerospace demonstrated to the Indian Ministry of Defense and the fleet that the company has a rocket that can launch from under water. Consultations are continuing with the Indian Navy.
MIC: NAMEXPO was visited by many high-ranking Indian sailors. Got something to discuss?
- Yes, at the Rosoboronexport stand, very intensive negotiations were held both on the issues of the submarine segment and on the transfer of the Vikramaditya aircraft carrier to the Indian fleet, as well as projects in the field of surface shipbuilding. India is taking certain steps to deploy the design, construction, operation and disposal, that is, the entire life cycle of the ship, at home. We see today that the Indian Republic is developing very rapidly in this direction, has developed a good technical component for shipyards and companies - suppliers of components. But at the same time we see that difficulties arise, the time frame goes to the right, since it is objectively very difficult, without having enough historical experience, to create a new technique from scratch. This is a huge school for industry and science in India. If the Indians want to get the most modern technology in a reasonable time and with proper quality, it seems to me that in the early stages it is necessary to work with a partner who has the necessary experience. The Rubin Design Bureau, for example, has 110 years of experience, so we have eliminated many mistakes long ago and are able to quickly find the right solutions.
- India has adopted new procedures for the purchase of weapons and military equipment. What can you say about them?
- Yes, in the spring of this year, another edition came out in the direction of further tightening the requirements when signing contracts with suppliers. Of course, India has the right to formulate its rules for the purchase of weapons, but we are concerned about the cumbersome procedure that leads to an unjustified increase in the timing of the execution of contract documents. India has held a number of international tenders recently, some of them, unfortunately, Russia did not win, but lost, but the results of the tenders are nevertheless stuck in the bureaucratic kitchen and have not yet reached contracts. It means that there are difficulties in implementing this policy on arms procurement.
"MIC": If you do not develop with India, there are other applicants for the purchase of "Cupid"?
- We feel confident, because we rely primarily on the position of the Russian Navy, which orders for the Russian ships "Lada". Since I cannot comment on the negotiations that are currently underway, I will say carefully: Venezuela, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa have shown interest at Amur-1650 international exhibitions. Although, of course, while India remains our strategic partner and participation in Project 75I is our priority task.
"MIC": Admiralty shipyards are building a series of submarines for a foreign customer (Vietnam). This year they should be transferred to the second pair of submarines?
- At the end of this year, the first pair will be handed over. The transition to the customer country is a question of the beginning of the next year. The customer has approved the delivery schedule for these ships, the contract is clearly executed by all parties. In late August, the third boat was launched at the Admiralty shipyards and the parties expressed mutual satisfaction with the progress of the work.
"MIC": When the plan for this contract should be closed permanently?
- If you mean, when the final boat of the series is handed over to the customer, then this is 2015 year. But then there will be an interesting new topic, when these boats will go into service with the customer’s fleet and start operating in the region.
"MIC": Negotiations on the supply of a second batch of these submarines with a foreign customer being conducted?
- Let's just say: perhaps a discussion of this issue.
"MIC": It all depends on the operating experience of the first batch?
- Of course, because the customer needs his crews to go to sea on their own, complete combat missions, and test equipment. I believe that the continuation of the construction of the series will be discussed not earlier than 2015 of the year, when the coastal equipment is also being tested: crew training center and infrastructure for service maintenance and repair.
"MIC": In the sphere of the most problematic issues that you would highlight?
- After-sales service in the creation of modern logistics. I believe that this is the weakest link in our military-technical cooperation with regard to submarines. The construction plant, the design bureau, and the packers are able to provide short delivery times, but all this is aggravated by a certain, let's say, many-sidedness of this system, since questions are supervised by both Rosoboronexport and Rosoboronservis, and USC.
"MIC": As they say sometimes in the army, if there is no sole responsibility, there is no result.
- Somewhere, yes.
"MIC": And the construction of service centers for the maintenance of submarines in other countries is now underway?
- In India, the military and the industry have already built their bases and logistics. Algeria has a base created with the help of the Admiralty shipyards.
"MIC": When will the construction of the service center in Vietnam be completed?
- I think this year everything should be ready. The task was set so that by the end of 2013 the center could take the boat.
"MIC": This center will be able to serve other ships, not only the project 636?
- Will be able. Moreover, near surface ships are based - rocket boats.
"MIC": According to the project S1000 is news?
- S1000 was demonstrated at a number of exhibitions: in South Africa, Indonesia, Singapore. Together with the Italian company Fincantieri, we were able to form a technically developed proposal that, thanks to the successful combination of the most modern European equipment and Russian design experience, allowed us to offer a compact modern boat with a small displacement. This, in our opinion, is of interest for countries that do not yet have experience in operating submarines, but would like to acquire it. Last year, we and the Italian partners decided to abandon the equipment of the S1000 submarine with serious but more expensive weapons - this will further simplify the control of the ship, and also reduce the price.
"MIC": This submarine is neither planned by Italy nor by Russia, but is expected to be delivered to third countries. We already know what? Someone showed interest in this project?
- Interest in boats of medium range, with a displacement of approximately 1000 tons, is quite large: the region of the Middle East, I mean the United Arab Emirates, Sub-Saharan Africa, the countries of Southeast Asia. Many have a desire to have an underwater fleet; we have chosen the right niche. S1000 is easy to operate and inexpensive to maintain, designed to operate in tropical conditions, among islands, mainly in shallow water. We have dropped the information that such a boat exists and can be offered to a number of states in the regions that I have listed. However, mutual approximation is a fairly long cycle, especially for countries that do not have their own submarine fleet.
"MIC": What do you say to consumers who are focused on the "Amur-950". Like the Amur, a more serious boat, albeit of a comparable class.
- If S1000 is aimed at “novice users”, then the Amur-950 is a boat with more weapons and more difficult to operate. Its highlight - vertical launchers with the possibility of using rocket weapons out of the water. That is, this is a boat of limited displacement, but with a very large impact potential. The rocket complex Club has not yet been surpassed by the main competitors. With the "Cupid-950" we began the development of a small displacement even before the cooperation with the Italians. However, “Amur-950” is available in various versions, you can generally implement a variant without vertical launchers and then it will come as close as possible to S1000 in terms of architecture and capabilities.
"MIC": On the appearance of the first "Amur" with an air-independent power plant when you expect?
- The first air-independent installation will appear on the "Lada", built for our fleet. I have no right to comment in more detail, because it has already been included in the State Armaments Program.