Atlas Elektronik zeros in on Indian sonar deal

Feb. 14, 2014 at 2:01 AM
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NEW DELHI, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Atlas Elektronik is close to winning an order for sonar systems for the Indian navy's indigenous Delhi-class and Russian-built Talwar-class warships, the Business Standard newspaper reported.

Atlas is the lowest bidder to supply active towed array sonars, but the Defense Ministry hasn't made a final decision, the Business Standard reported.

The first six systems will be manufactured at the Atlas facilities in Germany and the rest will be made in India under a transfer of technology arrangement.

"Atlas Elektronik has won the competition for the ATAS, which will equip the Delhi-class and Talwar-class ships initially and subsequently be manufactured in India under cooperation with Bharat Electronics," Khalil Rahman, head of Atlas Elektronik's Indian division, said.

Atlas Elektronik set up its Indian company in last March.

Rahman said an ATAS system detects submarines as far away as 35 miles from the surface vessel and before the submarine gets within its own firing range.

The parent company in Germany announced last month it would be supplying Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering with bow sonar systems and active towed array sonars for a new Thai navy frigate.

Delivery of the systems is planned for early in 2016, a statement by Atlas said.

Together, the two sonar systems can detect and track numerous types of underwater vehicles, including submarines, torpedoes and unmanned vehicles.

Atlas' India sonar win comes after it picked up a contract to upgrade heavyweight torpedoes for use by four of the Indian navy's submarines.

The New Indian Express newspaper reported in November 64 surface and underwater running torpedoes will be upgraded, adding 15 years to their operational life.

The four submarines, built by the German company Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft at its Kiel shipyard, are Type 209 Shishumar-class vessels delivered from 1986 to 1994.

India also in the process of building six Scorpene submarines under a technology transfer agreement signed 2005.

The Scorpene is a diesel-electric attack submarine with additional air-independent propulsion jointly developed by the French shipbuilder DCN -- now DCNS -- and Spain's Navantia.

But delays of as long as 18 months in delivery are likely after consultants from Spanish shipbuilding partner Navantia announced they were pulling out last year.

A report by India's Times News Network in April said the hulls for all six Scorpene submarines, made of steel supplied by the French division of ArcelorMittal, are ready in the Mumbai shipyard of government-owned Mazagon Dockyard.

TNN reported Mazagon had informed the navy delivery of the first vessel would be around the end of 2016.

Delays will put operational pressure on India's submarine fleet of 10 aging Russian Kilo class and the four HDW submarines. India also leases a Russian nuclear submarine, Chakra.

Three of the subs are expected to be retired in the next several years.

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