French naval company DCNS won a contract this summer to supply two Subtics combat management systems for Pakistan's Agosta 70 diesel-electric submarine fleet, industry executives said.
DCNS signed in June a contract for modernization of Agosta 70 boats, described as "very old subs," for an Asian country, Alain Cursat, DCNS marketing manager for submarine combat systems, told journalists. Cursat declined to identify the country. But other industry sources said Pakistan was the customer. One industry executive said the prospect of selling new submarines to Pakistan had gone cold as the Navy was modernizing its existing Agosta fleet, while a second executive said Pakistan was the only operator of the Agosta boat in the region.
Pakistan bought two Agosta diesel-electric submarine, built by DCNS, in 1978 and had been looking to add to its fleet with more modern boats.
DCNS had pitched the Marlin, a submarine derived from the Scorpene boat co-developed with Spain, but the Pakistan Navy favored the rival U214 boat from German archrival Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW). The Pakistan Navy has not signed with HDW.
DCNS is expecting other contract wins for the Subtics system, notably among the fleet of U209 boats operated by South American navies, as operators look to implement a midlife upgrade of their conventional (SSK) submarines, Cursat said.
DCNS expects to capture about 10 more modernization contracts for its Subtics system over the next 10 years, he said.
A sale to Pakistan of new submarine technology is a sensitive issue as DCNS sold six Scorpene submarines to India for $3.9 billion in 2005. The boats are being built locally by Mazagon Docks but the program has fallen behind because of technical problems.
Subtics stands for submarine tactical integrated combat system. The system, which integrates sensors and weapons, can be retrofitted on boats of different manufacture, including Russian build, Cursat said.
DCNS last year signed a deal for the supply of four Scorpene type submarines to Brazil, and is helping the Brazilian Navy to design and build the non-nuclear parts of a nuclear powered submarine. The Brazilian submarine deal, including construction of a shipyard and naval base with the local joint venture partner Oderbrecht, is worth 6.7 billion euros, of which four billion goes to DCNS.