NEW DELHI — The Indian Navy is considering buying additional Scorpene submarines to top an earlier six-vessel order, currently being license-produced at state-owned Mazagon Docks Ltd. (MDL), said Indian Navy Chief Adm. Robin K Dhowan said at an addressing the annual news conference here Thursday.Dec. 3.

Though he the Indian Navy Chief did not give any details on the number of additional French-made Scorpene diesel-electric attack submarines being considered, a senior Indian Navy official said, there is a additional requirement for of three additional Scorpenes. submarines, but added that A formal note to request for demand to acquire the additional Scorpene submarines has not been submitted to the Ministry of Defence. (MoD).

The Indian Navy's Scorpene project itself is behind schedule by more than four years.

Under the 2005 deal, the first submarine was to have been inducted in 2012 but now has been delayed until put off till December 2016. Earlier, the Indian government had threatened to impose penalties if the submarines were not inducted on a schedule, in a time bound scheduled with the first one to be inducted in August 2015 and the remaining five after every six months following.

In 2011, the then-Defence Minister A.K. Antony had told the Indian Parliament that under the contract signed with MDL, the first submarine was scheduled to be delivered in December 2012, and thereafter one each every year until December 2017.

The first French Scorpene submarine built by Mumbai-based Mazagon Docks Ltd. (MDL) ,MDL under technology transfer of technology from DCNS of France was launched in waters April 2015.

Indian Navy sources now say the last of the six Scorpenes submarines will be delivered only by 2022.

Delays in delivery have increased the cost of the Scorpene submarine project by more than $1 billion.

The operational strength of the Navy's submarine fleet of Indian Navy has fallen from 21 in 1986 to four,4 which includes Russian Kilo-class submarines acquired between 1980 and 2000, four aging HDW-class submarines and one nuclear submarine bought on lease from Russia two years ago.

Indian Navy officials say since only half fifty per cent of the submarines are functional operational as the rest remain grounded on account of maintenance and upgrades. -also subjected to delays, the Indian Navy's submarine fleet strength has reached critically low levels. Ends