India has a firepower problem. The otherwise-formidable navy of the world’s second-largest country (by population) is stuck waiting at least five years to outfit its newest submarines with torpedoes, NDTV’s sources estimate, because of a procurement scandal.
The Scorpène-class subs were supposed to be part of India’s defenses in the tense southeast Asian theater, where the Chinese navy is dominant. Instead, the primary weapon for the sub, the Black Shark torpedo, will be absent.
Its maker is a subsidiary of Finmeccanica, an Italian contractor that the Indian government has blacklisted for paying officials bribes to buy a dozen helicopters. As that scandal unfolded, Finmeccanica’s low bid to provide torpedoes for the new subs had to be scrapped. That was 2014, and the Indian government hasn’t moved to find or test a replacement, a process that could take five years.
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