An Indian firm (Pipavav Defence & Offshore Engineering) and a Russian one (Zvyozdochka) have formed a joint venture, which the Indian firm owns 51 percent of) to perform overhauls on India’s nine Kilo class submarines. This contract is worth $1.8 billion. The joint venture is meant to do a more efficient job of refurbishing the Russian built Kilos. Previously two Indian Kilos have been overhauled by other Indian shipyards, one of them state owned, with mixed results. The new joint venture is meant to get better tech support from Russia via the Russian partner. The new joint venture had to compete with the other two Indian shipyards for the $1.8 billion contract and they apparently got an order for refurbishing four of the Kilos. The first Kilo will be refurbished in Russia by Zvyozdochka with Pipavav technical personnel there to assist and learn what they need to know to perform the refurbishment on the other three subs back in India. There, some Zvyozdochka personnel will be there to help out but the Indian techs will do most of the work. This transfer of technology and expertise was a major selling point for the Pipavav/Zvyozdochka partnership. If this arrangement actually works, the Russo-Indian joint venture can bid on doing the other Indian Kilos. In addition there is the prospect of doing similar work from other Kilo users (Algeria, Iran and Vietnam) estimated to be worth $3.5 billion.
India and Russia have a mixed record refurbishing Kilos and Indian military procurement is notoriously corrupt and incompetent. But more competition is expected to deal with some of those problems. Time will tell.
Meanwhile Russia continues to upgrade the Kilo design. This year Russia completed sea trials for the second and third (of six) new Type 636.3 Varshavyanka class of diesel-electric submarines. The first of these subs (the Novorossiysk) entered service in late 2014 and is to be stationed in Crimea. The other three are under construction as are six of the older Kilo models for Vietnam. The 636.3 boats are basically a much upgraded version of the Kilo class subs. The Varshavyanka have stealthy features and a top underwater speed of 36 kilometers an hour. The crew of 52 can stay at sea for up to 45 days at a time. Armament consists of 18 torpedoes or missiles plus eight surface-to-air missiles. The six new 636.3 boats will give Russia 25 Kilos with another seven retired but in reserve (can be restored to active duty). In addition nearly 40 have been exported (delivered or under construction) All are the same displacement (about 2,300 tons) and size (70-74 meters/227-240 feet) and all have six 533mm torpedo tubes. All Kilos are very similar to the world-standard diesel submarine, the 1,800-ton German Type 209. The Kilo is a formidable attack submarine and has been continually upgraded with better mechanical and electronic systems since first introduced in the early 1980s.