With the indigenous lightweight torpedo programme delayed, Indian Navy is facing serious shortage of submarine killer equipment for its new frigates, destroyers and submarines forcing it to turn to western suppliers for emergency purchases.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) despite an 18-year effort has failed to make a breakthrough in the production of lightweight torpedoes and the Government after global tendering has issued licence to an Italian firm, Whitehead Alena Sistami Subacqua, for procuring the lightweight torpedoes, according to highly placed Defence Ministry officials.
Under the contract, India will build 900 lightweight torpedoes to replace Navy's aging ones to arm new Naval warship platforms as well as replenish old stocks.
While, a few dozen torpedoes would be procured off the shelf, the bulk of the production would be undertaken in the Hyderabad facility of the Bharat Dynamics limited, officials said.
"Navy has placed orders for 900 torpedoes and the Indian Built torpedoes would also be offered for sale by the Italian firm to European and other customers," they said.