In driving self-reliance and technology development, the Indian Navy is well established on a path of budget optimization. The modernization of the Armed Forces depends on the defence budget. Services plan their acquisition based on the budgetary allocation. In the last defence budget, the navy received the increased outlay which was necessary to drive key naval projects. Recently, the Navy Chief said: “The Navy’s share of the Defence Budget this year was 17.8 %, and in using this judiciously, we have achieved a Revenue to Capital expenditure ratio of 32% – 68% – which accords us flexibility in pursuing our capability developments plan.”
What are the key modernization projects for the Indian Navy? What are the ongoing projects?
According to the Indian Navy’s current Maritime Capability Perspectives, the present force level comprises about 150 ships and submarines. The Indian Navy’s perspective-planning in terms of ‘force-levels’ is now driven by a conceptual shift from ‘numbers’ of platforms – that is, from the old ‘bean-counting’ philosophy—to one that concentrates upon ‘capabilities.
There are presently more than 50 ships and submarines under construction. Our preferred choice of inducting ships has been through the indigenous route. For instance, the GRSE has already delivered all three of the large amphibious ships and ten water-jet Fast Attack Craft. The yard is presently constructing advanced Anti-submarine Corvettes and has been recently awarded a contract to build LCUs.
One of the biggest projects is the submarines of the Scorpene Class which is constricted at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders (MDL). The project—75 is near completion at MDL, Mumbai. Indian Navy’s sixth and final scorpene submarine named ‘Vagsheer’ has already being launched by the MDL in Mumbai.
The construction of Kolkata Class and P-15B destroyers besides stealth frigate of the Shivalik Class come under the capability plan for acquiring advanced -level technological upgrades. The Project 15B class of ships will be equipped with next-generation stealth guided-missile destroyers.
Two Talwar-class frigates are being built in Russia for the Indian Navy. The construction of Indian naval ships continues in Russia which belongs to the new generation of frigates.
The number of Offshore Patrol Vessels for the Navy and the Coast Guard, has advanced versions of this type is under construction at Goa Shipyard Limited.
Indian Navy is also working on the Mid-Life Upgrades (MLUs) of warships. After their MLU, ships of the Rajput Class as also those of the Brahmaputra Class will emerge as potent 21st Century combatants with significant residual life. As Indian Navy has been operating indigenously built warships from four different classes–Shivalik class, Talwar class, Brahmaputra class and Godavari class.