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Defence ministry, Hindustan Shipyard Ltd ink Rs 19,000 crore deal for 5 fleet support ships


New Delhi: In a boost to Indian Navy’s operational plans, the Defence Ministry Friday inked a Rs 19,000 crore contract with the state-run Hindustan Shipyard Ltd (HSL) for the construction of five fleet support ships to cater to the force’s growing deployment across the oceans.

As per the contract, the first ship will be delivered in four years and the rest every 10 months. Each vessel will weigh nearly 44,000 tonnes.

Sources in the security and defence establishment said the Indian Navy plans to have at least eight fleet support vessels in operations by 2030 to support its extensive deployment.

Currently, India operates four tankers and the nomenclature now used is fleet support ships. The sources told ThePrint that of the four, INS Jyoti — commissioned in 1996 — will be decommissioned later this decade.

The Indian Navy had, in 2013, initiated a move to acquire five new fleet support ships under the category of ‘global buy’ for meeting its expanding responsibilities over the years.

HSL was selected by the Indian Navy for the project under which it was supposed to tie up with an foreign ship maker to design and build the support vessels in India. Turkey’s Anadolu Shipyard emerged as the lowest bidder in 2019 in a tender issued by the HSL.

In total, seven global companies had responded to the Request for Proposal (RFP) which included Italy-based Fincantieri, Spain’s Navantia, Russia’s Rosoboronexport, Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems besides the Turkish shipyard.  Given New Delhi’s strained relations with Istanbul, it was the first time that a Turkish shipyard had participated in an Indian defence contract.

Asked about the Turkish shipyard being involved in the project, the defence sources said that this will be indigenously designed and produced. The ship will be designed by the HSL and the Navy’s warship design bureau is not actively involved in the project, they added.

The sources indicated that the Turkish shipyard is not part of the project any longer.

The support vessels will be used as a lifeline for other naval ships for replenishment at sea with fuel, water, ammunition, and stores, ensuring that they can operate for prolonged periods without returning to harbours.

These ships will enhance the strategic reach and mobility of the fleet. They will further be capable of being deployed for evacuation of people and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations.

In a statement, the Indian Navy said that the induction of these ships would significantly enhance its blue water capability.

While the project promises generation of employment for a period of eight years, the construction of these ships is expected to provide a new dimension to the Indian shipbuilding industry and encourage participation of associated industries, including MSMEs.

Majority of the equipment and systems would be sourced from indigenous manufacturers, the defence ministry said in a statement.

(Edited by Tony Rai)


Also Read: Chinese spy over Malabar naval exercise off Australian waters with ‘over 300’ satellites 


 



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