India government’s failure to take a decision on the purchase of 98 Black Shark torpedoes worries Indian Navy as the induction of the first Scorpene submarine is less than a year away, reports DHNS.
The navy plans to buy Black Shark torpedoes for its Scorpene submarines - under-construction at a yard in Mumbai - from Whitehead Alenia Sistemi Subacquei (WASS), a subsidiary of Italian defence conglomerate Finmeccanica embroiled in a chopper scam.
After a desperate push by the navy that has called the torpedoes an “operational necessity”, defence minister Manohar Parrikar referred the proposed acquisition to the law ministry a few months ago but no guidelines have been issued so far.
Sources say that the crucial naval requirement is stuck as the defence ministry awaits legal opinion on whether it can place an order for the lethal underwater weapon from the subsidiary of a tainted arms firm.
The first submarine, Kalvari, is undergoing trials and slated to be inducted in September 2016. But still there is no decision on its main weapon, the Black Shark torpedo, as the supplier is a subsidiary of scam hit Finmeccanica group.
The panic-stricken Navy which asked the Defence Ministry to consider it as a special case has sought an opinion from the law ministry, which is also yet to respond even after six months.
“In the absence of a decision from the government, the Navy cannot start process of importing torpedoes,” Defence Ministry sources said.
Black Shark is a 63 mt long, fully stealth, wire guided and self-homing heavy-weight torpedo that can be integrated with any types of torpedo tubes