Sailing towards indigenisation, the Navy way

Amrita Nair Ghaswalla Mumbai | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on March 06, 2016

A file photo of India's Indigenous Aircraft Carrier P-71 "Vikrant", built for the Indian Navy   -  REUTERS

Projects worth ₹1,34,761 crore to be executed in Indian shipyards over the next decade

Though India’s defence spending and opportunity for domestic players is large, indigenisation across platforms has more or less trailed intended goals, with defence imports making up for shortfalls.

In a bid to allay fears, the Indian Navy’s Design Directorate recently showcased the extent of indigenisation currently on with the armed forces.

At present, 46 warships and submarines are being made in India.

Over the next decade, projects amounting to ₹1,34,761 crore are to be executed in Indian shipyards.

On the anvil

At the ‘Make in India’ initiative in Mumbai, the Indian Navy showcased how it has transformed itself from a buyer’s navy to a builder’s navy.

With regards to self-reliance in warship production, it was pointed out that at Mazgaon Dock Limited in Mumbai, six Scorpene submarines are under construction, while 4 P15B Destroyers, one P15A Destroyer and four P17A Frigates are under construction.

At Cochin Shipyard Limited, a public sector undertaking, one aircraft carrier is under construction.

Similarly, at Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), in Kolkata, the warship building company under the administrative control of the Ministry of Defence, two P28 ASW Corvettes (small warship), seven LCU (landing craft utility ships), three P17A frigates, and four WJ-FACs (water jet propelled fast attack craft) are under construction.

Similarly, at Pipavav Defence and Offshore, five Naval Offshore Patrol Vessels (NOVP, a warship) are under construction, as are three cadet training ships at ABG Shipyard, a private sector shipbuilding firm.

ABG Shipyard is the flagship company of the ABG Group with two shipbuilding facilities in Gujarat, at Dahej and in Surat.

At Alcock Ashdown Gujarat Limited (AAGL), a State shipbuilding company, six catamaran survey vessels are also under construction.

Shipborne systems

The Indian Navy’s foray into indigenisation began over five decades ago with the design and construction of warships.

The Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design has designed 80 ships since the commencement of indigenous ship building programme in the 1970s.

Since technology development and production for complex shipborne systems is the need of the hour, the Indian Navy has embarked upon the development of shipborne systems through two routes: to harness the R&D potential at DRDO, and through transfer of technology with industry partners.

It was pointed out that the success of INS Arihant, the lead ship of Arihant class of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, which has seen considerable participation of large and small private players, has given a lot of confidence to the Navy. Similarly, successful indigenous development of missile, rocket, torpedo launchers, ship stabilisers, hydraulic systems, and a large number of components and assemblies by private companies have also helped the forces.

Gas turbines

Citing examples, it was noted that in the case of gas turbines. All gas turbines fitted in Naval ships are of foreign origin.

Given the urgent need to develop indigenous gas turbines, indigenisation initiatives include induction of General Electric’s LM 2500 gas turbine on the basis of its licensed manufacture in India, with progressive increase in indigenisation.

Moreover, the development of a fully indigenous Kaveri Marine Gas Turbine (marine derivative of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) gas turbine) is also being pursued at GTRE (Gas Turbine Research Establishment), Bangalore.

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Published on March 06, 2016
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