Govt. set to place a Multi-Billion $ Mega Order to build 4 Assault Helicopter Carriers in Indiia

helicopter-carrier1The Modi government’s ongoing focus to improve national security and empower the Indian Navy to ring-fence the Indian Ocean and beef up its strength in the region is being seen as an important growth driver by private players in the defence sector.

While China is steadily growing its influence in the Indian Ocean as also the South China Sea, India currently has only one LPD that was acquired way back in 2005, commissioned in 2007 and is currently called the INS Jalashwa. In all and with costs running into billions of dollars, six frigates and one refitted Aircraft Carrier (from Russia), two logistic tankers (from Italy), and one LPD (Second hand ship from USA) have been imported since 2002.

However, in line with government’s current plans and focus, the Indian Navy will soon be equipped with latest state-of-the-art assault warships. On the anvil is a mega order from the Indian Navy, with an announcement expected anytime now, for its multi-billion dollar program to build four 25,000-ton landing platform docks (LPD) or helicopter carrier warships—-the largest assault ships to be built in an Indian yard.

Equipped with a point defence missile system, these LPDs or specialised warships powered by electric propulsion systems will possess massive capabilities of carrying as many as six main battle tanks, 20 infantry combat vehicles and 40 heavy trucks.

Besides, special operation helicopters and large helicopters, weighing up to 35 tons, will operate from the ship. The LPDs will also be equipped with a close-in weapon system, an anti-torpedo decoy system, a chaff system, and heavy and light machine guns. This apart, each ship will be able to accommodate as many as 1500 personnel including officers, sailors and troops.

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With established foothold in the sector, engineering and construction conglomerate, the $15 billion plus company Larsen and Toubro (L&T) is looking forward to the announcement of commercial negotiations for this LPD program of the Indian Navy. With a mega shipbuilding facility at Kattupalli near Chennai and a shipyard at Hazira in Gujarat, L&T is looking forward to major orders from the Indian Navy, LPD being one of them.

The Request for Proposal (RFP) for building four LPDs / Helicopter Carriers had already been issued by the defence ministry in 2014 as first Buy and Make (Indian) program by the Indian Navy and L&T along with Reliance Defence are the two shortlisted companies in the fray for this large order.The RFP stipulates that out of the four LPDs, two lead ships will be built by the winning private sector shipyard while the later two will be produced by Hindustan Shipyard at the same cost. An announcement on the commercial negotiations process for these four LPDs is expected shortly.

While earlier three domestic vendors– ABG Shipyard, L&T and Reliance Defence (formerly Pipavav Defence) were vying for this contract, only two (L&T and Reliance) could finally clear financial and technical evaluation. ABG Shipyard failed to qualify due to large debts on its balance sheets and the corporate debt restructuring process being underway for the yard. While L&T has a tie-up with Navantia of Spain as its technical partner, Reliance Defence with DCNS of France, and ABG had tied up with Alion of the United States.

This explains our focus on the Shipbuilding capabilities of Indian companies.

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Source:- Defence Avitation post

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