Five days after bagging a $42 million export order from Denmark, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Wednesday signed a contract with Mumbai-based state-owned Mazagon Dockyard Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL) for procurement of six Next Generation Offshore Patrol Vessels (NGOPVS) for the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) valued at ₹1614.89 crore.

These multi-role state-of-the-art vessels will be indigenously designed, developed, and manufactured by the MDL, and will be delivered in sixty-six months to Coast Guard, said the Ministry of Defence in an official press release. Out of the six vessels, to be manufactured under the Buy (Indian-IDDM) category, four would replace the existing aging OPVs and the remaining two would augment the ICG fleet, the MoD said.

The acquisition of vessels, stated the Ministry, is aimed to boost the ICG’s capability and reinforces the increased focus of the government towards maritime security. “These modern and high-tech Ships will play a critical role in enhancing surveillance, Law enforcement, Search and Rescue, Maritime Pollution Response, and other important capabilities including humanitarian assistance by the ICG,” it pointed out.

Features and equipment

Along with several high-tech advanced features and equipment, these 115m OPVS would be equipped with facilities like multipurpose drones, AI capability, and Wirelessly Controlled Remote Water Rescue Craft Lifebuoy, enabling greater flexibility and operational edge to the ICG to face new age multidimensional challenges, observed the MoD.

Also read: DroneAcharya Aerial Innovations bags contract from Defence Ministry

The MoD said the contract achieves the objectives of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ to boost the nation’s indigenous shipbuilding capability, bolstering maritime economic activities and fostering the growth of ancillary industries, especially the MSME sector. The project will also generate employment opportunities and expertise development in the country.

This is the second contract the MoD has inked with the MDL in less than six months. On June 30, the Ministry had engaged the defence PSU for medium refit with life certification (MRLC) of sub-surface killer (SSK) class of submarine, “INS Shankush”, at an overall cost of ₹2725 crore.