Indian Navy to get more firepower: To deal with China, govt approves construction of 56 more ships

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New Delhi | December 3, 2018 5:57 PM

Naval chief declared that the Indian with Navy 200 ship, 500 aircraft will be world class Navy by the year 2050.

According to the Navy chief, the construction plan would be spread across a decade.

With the growing presence of the Chinese warships in the Indian Ocean Region, approval for 56 ships and submarines besides the 32 warships under construction has been given by the government, announces the chief of the Indian Navy Sunil Lanba.

At the annual presser in New Delhi, the Navy chief responding to a question clarified that “The government has given approval to having 56 ships and submarines. Some of these will replace the existing fleet and include new ships like fleet ships, submarines and minesweepers.”

According to the Navy chief, the construction plan would be spread across a decade. To a question on how was the Indian Navy compared to the strength of the Chinese Navy, the Naval chief declared that the Indian with Navy 200 ship, 500 aircraft will be world class Navy by the year 2050.

According to the chief “The 32 ships and submarines are presently under construction in Indian shipyards include the Aircraft Carrier, Vikrant, P-15B Class Destroyers, P17A class stealth Frigates, P28 ASW Corvettes, Offshore Patrol Vessels and `Scorpene’ class submarines.”

To a question of the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC), the chief said that presently the IAC is in its third and final Phase of construction at Kochi and the sea trials for the ship are expected to commence mid 2020 and work is on full swing with all stakeholders to achieve the delivery timelines.

The induction of INS Vikrant will provide significant fillip to the Navy’s blue water capability, increasing the reach and impact of carrier borne strike forces, both as a means of deterrence as well as during combat operations.

Responding to a question of the second aircraft carrier, “The IAC has received the necessary impetus. Though it is at least a decade away, the aircraft carrier project would accrue significant national gains in terms of boosting indigenisation and the country’s economy, through its life cycle of construction, maintenance and upgradation. “We are looking at ways and means to incorporate the immense potential of Academia, private industry and DRDO into the Project.”

ALSO READ: TROPEX: India’s full military might to be on display as three services sharpen their joint war skills

Modernisation of the submarine arm is also well underway. The second “Scropene’’ Class submarine Khanderi has completed her major trials and is expected to be ready for commissioning shortly. The third and fourth submarines of this project namely Karanj and Vela are also undergoing various stages of pre-induction trials.

On the aviation front, a long standing critical shortfall in the naval helicopter fleet has been finally addressed with the accord of AoN for 111 Utility Helicopters under the Strategic Partnership Model in August this year and issue of LOR (Letter of Request) for 24 Multi Role Helicopters last month.

As has been reported by FE earlier, in an effort to fast track acquisition of MH-60 ‘Romeo’ anti submarine helicopters for the Indian Navy, the government has sent a `letter of request’ to the US administration for $ 2 bn deal.

Since the deal is under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS), as per the procedure laid down, India has to send a ‘letter of request’ giving details of what is the requirement of the Indian Navy and if the US can meet the request. The Indian Navy needs 24 of these fourth generation helicopters armed with torpedoes and missiles are used for anti-submarines warfare.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) had recently issued a issued the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) with a validity of 18 months for acquisition of 24 anti-submarine and anti-ship multi-role helicopters (MRH) for the Indian Navy. Once the deal is inked it will take two years for the helicopters to be delivered by Sikorsky-Lockheed Martin of the US.

These helicopters are expected to provide a vital capability for the Indian Navy in the Indo-Pacific region, where according to the Trump administration India is considered as a major partner to ensure stability and prosperity in the strategic region.

In an exclusive interview to FE, Vivek Lall, Vice President of Strategy and Business Development had said that “The MH-60R provides a vital capability for the Indian Navy in the Indo-Pacific region. The significant investments made in the MH-60R by the US Navy and industry provides the unique assurance that it has undertaken the most rigorous testing.”

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