Currently, nuclear submarines are possessed by only six nations’ navies all over the world including the US, UK, Russia, France, China, and India. India joined this group of nations in 2012, after it had acquired a Russian Akula II class SSN on a ten-year lease. The nuclear powered submarines provide considerable advantages such as longer underwater endurance, speed and greater strike capabilities over the conventional SSKs. Particularly, the SSBNs are regarded as one of the most superior equipment to be possessed by a Navy, due to their capability to launch Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBM) even when submerged. This capability to launch nuclear tipped weapons from the sea is one of the three legs to achieve the nuclear triad status by a nation.
Figure: Global Submarine Market (US$ billion) 2013-2023
Major countries such as the US, the UK, Russia and China have already deployed SSBNs during the past with China being the latest. Therefore, there are a number of long term SSBN procurement programs underway including the Ohio replacement by the US, Russian Borei class, Successor class of the US, Arihant class of India and the Chinese Jin class. The countries which already possess SSBNs are undertaking programs to replace their ageing fleets and the countries such as China and India are procuring them in order to establish their strategic nuclear deterrence at sea for the first time. Conversely, as SSNs are cheaper than SSBNs and possess capabilities approaching those of SSBNs, they are increasingly being adopted by Navies to form the muscle of their submarine fleets.
The present market opportunities in the global submarine market have attracted companies to increasingly venture into the industry through mergers and acquisitions. Additionally, international collaborations and technology transfer agreements are expected to play a significant role in consolidating the industry. For example, India is building six Scorpene SSKs within the country with the help of technology transferred from the French company DCNS. This is expected to result in significantly developing the country’s submarine building capabilities in the future.
Source: ASDReports - Market Research
Date: Apr 11, 2013