‘Make in In­dia’ Thrust on an Over­drive for the In­dian Navy

In a very re­cent in­ter­ac­tion with the media, Ad­mi­ral R.K. Dhowan, Chief of the Naval Staff, said, “We have put the ‘Make in In­dia’ thrust on an over­drive. The fo­cus in the road map is on weapons, sen­sors and cut­tingedge tech­nolo­gies, with cer­tain mile­ston

SP's NavalForces - - FRONT PAGE - Rear Ad­mi­ral Sushil Ram­say (Retd)

Early fi­nal­i­sa­tion of the long­pend­ing plan to in­dige­nously con­struct coun­try’s largestever air­craft car­rier, the 65,000-tonne INS Vishal with air­borne early warn­ing and anti-sub­ma­rine war­fare ca­pa­bil­i­ties, is an im­per­a­tive, con­sid­er­ing im­pend­ing de-com­mis­sion­ing of INS Vi­raat in the near fu­ture

AT­TRIB­UTED TO IN­DIA’S VAN­TAGE lo­ca­tion in the In­dian Ocean and con­se­quen­tial strate­gic im­per­a­tives, the roles and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of the In­dian Navy (IN) have gained as­cen­dancy, both in quan­ti­ta­tive and qual­i­ta­tive terms. The Mar­itime Ca­pa­bil­i­ties Per­spec­tive Plan (MCPP) enun­ci­ates the road map for re­ju­ve­nat­ing IN to be ready to face the dy­nam­ics of mar­itime se­cu­rity con­cerns.

In a very re­cent in­ter­ac­tion with the media, Ad­mi­ral R.K. Dhowan, Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), said, “We have put the ‘Make in In­dia’ thrust on an over­drive. The fo­cus in the road map is on weapons, sen­sors and cut­ting-edge tech­nolo­gies, with cer­tain mile­stones and re­quired time­lines. As of now, In­dia has achieved 90 per cent in­di­geni­sa­tion in the ‘ Float’ (hull, su­per­struc­ture, etc.) com­po­nent of a war­ship through the de­vel­op­ments of high grade steel by the De­fence Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Or­gan­i­sa­tion (DRDO) and the Steel Au­thor­ity of In­dia (SAIL), among other things. But the ‘ Move’ ( propul­sion) and ‘Fight’ (weapons and sen­sors) com­po­nents lag be­hind at 50-60 per cent and 30 per cent, re­spec­tively. “The ‘Fight’ com­po­nent has been made a thrust area, with talks be­ing held with pro­duc­tion agen­cies like public sec­tor un­der­tak­ings (PSUs) as well as pri­vate sec­tor. Close to a hun­dred tech­nolo­gies have been iden­ti­fied, which range from guns and mis­siles to dif­fer­ent kinds of radars and sonars,” said CNS.

DRDO will have to de­liver in the time­frames re­quired to hand over to avoid sit­u­a­tions like last year’s com­mis­sion­ing of 6,800-tonne de­stroyer, INS Kolkata, the largest-ever war­ship to be built in In­dia with­out the crit­i­cal long-range sur­face-to-air mis­sile sys­tem. A brief re­sume on the crit­i­cal pro­grammes is in the suc­ceed­ing para­graphs.

Fleet Air Arm

In­dige­nous Air­craft Car­ri­ers

Con­sid­er­ing the com­plex­ity of de­sign de­vel­op­ment and con­struc­tion, sys­tems in­te­gra­tion, the ges­ta­tion pe­riod for IAC-II, to be chris­tened as INS Vishal, could well span over 10-12 years. If the de­sign of IAC-II is cen­tred on cat­a­pult as­sisted take-off but ar­rested re­cov­ery, it would of­fer flex­i­bil­ity for launch­ing fight­ers as well as heav­ier air­craft for sur­veil­lance, early-warn­ing, elec­tronic war­fare and other oper­a­tions. Early fi­nal­i­sa­tion of the long-pend­ing plan to in­dige­nously con­struct coun­try’s largest-ever air­craft car­rier, the 65,000-tonne INS Vishal with air­borne early warm­ing (AEW) and anti-sub­ma­rine war­fare (ASW) ca­pa­bil­i­ties is an im­per­a­tive, con­sid­er­ing im­pend­ing de-com­mis­sion­ing of INS Vi­raat in the near fu­ture.

In the re­cent past the gov­ern­ment has ac­corded sanc­tion for Phase-II for 40,000tonne IAC-I to be com­mis­sioned as INS Vikrant and is cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion at the Cochin Ship­yard Lim­ited. The pro­ject has suf­fered un­due de­lays, time and cost over­runs, and is now slated to be in­ducted by 2018-19 only. This will leave the In­dian Navy with just one air­craft car­rier, the 44,400-tonne INS Vikra­ma­ditya in­ducted from Rus­sia at a cost of $2.33 bil­lion in Novem­ber 2013.

Multi-role He­li­copters

In or­der to aug­ment the multi-role he­li­copter (MRH) fleet for the ships and the air squadrons ashore, as also to equip the ships which will be com­mis­sioned as per the 14th Naval Plan un­til 2020, the In­dian Navy had ini­ti­ated the pro­cure­ment process for 56 MRH. The in­duc­tion plan was aimed at ac­quir­ing MRH for ASW, an­ti­sur­face war­fare (ASuW) and Spe­cial Forces’ oper­a­tions, etc. Af­ter sev­eral years of ups and downs, fi­nally the MRH ten­der was re­duced to a quan­tity of merely 16 air­craft which was opened on De­cem­ber 4, 2014, for al­ready phased out Seak­ing 42 and 42A dur­ing 1990-91. The time­lines for fi­nal cost ne­go­ti­a­tions are still blurred. Hence, if the con­tract for 16 S-70B MRH is signed now the de­liv­er­ies will be af­fected only from 2018. The sil­ver lin­ing is the pos­si­ble in­clu­sion of an op­tion clause for ad­di­tional eight units with­out fur­ther ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Naval Multi-role He­li­copters

IN has an ad­di­tional re­quire­ment of naval multi-role he­li­copters (NMRH) pend­ing ap­proval of the gov­ern­ment. The in­duc- tion plan in­cludes NMRH with ASW, ASuW and Spe­cial Forces oper­a­tions ca­pa­bil­i­ties. The orig­i­nal plan for ac­quir­ing 123 NMRH from the lead­ing global ven­dors has been re-cat­e­gorised as ‘Buy & Make (In­dian).’ This is aimed at pro­mot­ing In­dian in­dus­try in the avi­a­tion sec­tor to tie up with global ma­jors for the tech­nol­ogy trans­fer and joint ven­ture ar­range­ments for pro­duc­tion of the air­craft in­dige­nously. The gov­ern­ment has or­dered the ca­pac­ity and ca­pa­bil­ity ver­i­fi­ca­tion of In­dian in­dus­try to be cleared for par­tic­i­pa­tion in the ten­der­ing process. It is learnt that ten­ders will be out shortly. The com­pa­nies ex­pected to take part in the ten­der in­clude all ma­jor he­li­copter man­u­fac­tur­ers like Euro­pean Euro­copter, Agus­taWest­land, Amer­i­can Bell He­li­copters, Siko­rsky, Lock­heed Martin and Kamov He­li­copters.

Naval Util­ity He­li­copters

As a re­place­ment for the Hin­dus­tan Aero­nau­tics Lim­ited (HAL) man­u­fac­tured age­ing Chetak he­li­copters, a sur­vey for twin-en­gine util­ity he­li­copters was launched nearly a decade ago. A re­quire­ment to pro­cure over 100 naval util­ity he­li­copters (NUH) from the lead­ing global man­u­fac­tur­ers was iden­ti­fied. This pro­gramme was, how­ever, scrapped last year and the ‘Buy & Make (In­dian)’ cat­e­gori­sa­tion was awarded to it.

Con­se­quent to re­vised cat­e­gori­sa­tion, sev­eral top In­dian com­pa­nies in­clud­ing Tata, Mahin­dra and Anil Am­bani-led Re­liance Group have dis­played keen in­ter­est to par­tic­i­pate in the nearly $1.5-bil­lion NUH pro­gramme. A large num­ber of do­mes­tic firms have re­sponded to the re­quest for in­for­ma­tion is­sued in Oc­to­ber 2014. Most of the lead­ing In­dian in­dus­tries, such as Punj Llyod, Bharat Forge, Mahin­dra Aerospace, Re­liance De­fence and Aerospace, Tata Ad­vanced Sys­tems and HAL have re­sponded. Euro­pean ma­jor Air­bus, Agus­taWest­land, Bell He­li­copters and Siko­rsky are re­port­edly in ne­go­ti­a­tions with In­dian in­dus­try to fi­nalise their par­tic­i­pa­tion in ‘Make in In­dia’ ini­tia­tive.

Naval Ship­borne Un­manned Sys­tem

The In­dian Navy in­tends to pro­cure at least 50 Naval Ship­borne Un­manned Aerial Sys­tem (NSUAS) for in­tel­li­gence, sur­veil­lance and re­con­nais­sance, sea-lanes of com­mu­ni­ca­tion mon­i­tor­ing and coastal/EEZ sur­veil­lance, anti-piracy and anti-ter­ror­ism, as­sis­tance in search and res­cue and as­sis­tance in mar­itime do­main aware­ness. The pref­er­ence for NSUAS would be for those which can op­er­ate from war­ships of size of 50 m up­wards (with or with­out he­li­copter decks) and be ca­pa­ble of day/night oper­a­tions. The In­dian Navy has been on the look­out for a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent UCAS and UAS, in­clud­ing ship­borne ro­tary-wing ve­hi­cles, shore-based MALE/HALE ve­hi­cles and con­ven­tional shore-based ve­hi­cles.

US-2i Am­phibi­ous Air­craft

The In­dian Navy has shown in­ter­est in ac­quir­ing 12 am­phibi­ous air­craft US-2i built by Ja­panese firm ShinMaywa. The $1.65-bil­lion deal is be­ing pro­gressed as part of the Ser­vices Cap­i­tal Ac­qui­si­tion Plan (SCAP). This could be the Ja­pan’s first de­fence ex­port to In­dia. In­dian Navy re­quires the air­craft for search and res­cue mis­sions, in­ter-is­land com­mu­ni­ca­tion, rapid re­sponse du­ties and re­con­nais­sance of is­lands, but also as an off­set to China’s grow­ing strength at the north end of the An­daman Is­lands.

V-22 Osprey – Air­borne Early Warn­ing Air­craft

For some time now the In­dian Navy has been eval­u­at­ing the op­tions for ac­quir­ing a fixed-wing AEW plat­form for its air­craft car­ri­ers. Not just for INS Vikra­ma­ditya but the two IACs, as well. While Northrop Grum­man in the past had pitched for the E-2 Hawk­eye with ap­pro­pri­ate mod­i­fi­ca­tions, In­dian Navy is also in­trigued by the flex­i­bil­ity of­fered by the V-22 Osprey tiltro­tor air­craft. With ver­ti­cal take-off and tran­si­tion into fixed-wing flight, it ap­pears to take care of tac­ti­cal ad­van­tage the In­dian Navy is look­ing for­ward to through an AEW plat­form.

Sur­face Fleet

Pro­ject 15B, Guided Mis­sile De­stroy­ers

In the wake of suc­cess story of Pro­ject 15A, Kolkata class guided mis­sile de­stroy­ers, the gov­ern­ment has al­ready ap­proved a fol­low-on pro­gramme of four more stealth de­stroy­ers as Pro­ject 15B. The Pro­ject 15B ships will re­tain the same hull form as for Kolkata class and most of its sys­tems. There will be some up­grades, struc­tural changes in the su­per­struc­ture to im­prove stealth, bet­ter sound and in­frared sup­pres­sion. The dis­place­ment of each ship will be ap­prox­i­mately 7,000 tonnes, a 200-tonne ad­di­tion over Kolkata class.

The main ar­ma­ment will in­clude the new Nirb­hay, land at­tack cruise mis­sile (1,000-km range), the hy­per­sonic BrahMosII anti-ship cruise mis­sile (300-km-range) and an Ex­tended Range sur­face-to-air mis­sile (100-km range). Con­struc­tion of the first of the class, INS Ben­galuru is al­ready well un­der­way.

Pro­ject 17A, Stealth Frigates

Dor­mant for some years now, Pro­ject 17A guided-mis­sile stealth frigates ( FFG) has re­cently been kick-started. The pro­ject is an ad­vanced de­riv­a­tive of the ex­ist­ing 5,600-tonne Pro­ject 17 Shiva­lik class frigates. The Mazagon Dock Lim­ited (MDL) will be the lead yard for both de­tailed de­sign and con­struc­tion of the first four ships of the pro­ject and the Gar­den Reach Ship­builders & Engi­neers Lim­ited (GRSE), Kolkata, will build the bal­ance three.

The first ship is ex­pected to be launched by 2017 and the re­main­ing six ex­pected to be de­liv­ered, one each year un­til 2023. The Pro­ject 17A’s de­sign will in­clude new-gen­er­a­tion weapon sys­tems like the Barak-2 MR-SAM/EL/M-2248 MF-STAR com­bi­na­tion and BrahMos ver­ti­cally-launched su­per­sonic multi-role cruise mis­siles. The su­per­struc­ture of this class will also make ex­ten­sive use of composites.

While INS Kamorta was com­mis­sioned on Au­gust 23, 2014, sec­ond ship of the class INS Kad­matt is sched­uled for com­mis­sion­ing in June/July 2016, INS Kil­tan in Septem­ber 2017 and the last ship of the se­ries to­wards the end of 2018.

Pro­ject 28, Anti-Sub­ma­rine War­fare Corvettes

Kamorta class corvettes are In­dian Navy’s next-gen­er­a­tion ASW plat­form, be­ing built un­der Pro­ject 28 at GRSE. All four corvettes are planned to be handed over to the In­dian Navy by 2017. The ba­sic de­sign for Pro­ject 28 was spec­i­fied by the Di­rec­torate of Naval De­sign which was con­verted into de­tailed de­sign by GRSE. These ships will have a very high per­cent­age of in­dige­nous equip­ment. The DMR 249A hull steel is pro­duced by SAIL. Wärt­silä, In­dia will de­liver the low-vi­bra­tion diesel al­ter­na­tors to power the on board elec­tron­ics. While INS Kamorta was com­mis­sioned on Au­gust 23, 2014, sec­ond ship of the class INS Kad­matt is sched­uled for com­mis­sion­ing in June/July 2015 (prob­a­bly de­layed), INS Kil­tan in Septem­ber 2016 and the last ship of the se­ries to­wards end 2017.

Next-gen­er­a­tion Mis­sile Corvettes

To aug­ment ex­ist­ing strength of mis­sile corvettes, a brand new pro­ject of six stealth next-gen­er­a­tion mis­sile ves­sels (NGMVs) has been enun­ci­ated. The pro­ject has been cat­e­gorised as ‘Buy (In­dian)’/‘Buy & Make (In­dian)’. The de­sign and tech­nol­ogy spec­i­fi­ca­tions are un­der fi­nal­i­sa­tion. The main en­vis­aged ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the new NGMVs will in­clude stealth fea­tures, low radar, acous­tic, mag­netic and IR sig­na­tures, high en­durance and cred­i­ble ad­vanced mine de­tec­tion and anti-air ca­pa­bil­i­ties. The propul­sion sys­tem is en­vis­aged to cater for greater en­durance and oper­a­tions in low speed regimes dur­ing low in­ten­sity mar­itime oper­a­tions or EEZ pa­trols.

Mines Coun­ter­mea­sures Ves­sels

The De­fence Ac­qui­si­tion Coun­cil has re­cently given the go-ahead to the Goa Ship­yard Ltd (GSL) for the con­struc­tion of all eight mines coun­ter­mea­sures ves­sels (MCMVs) with the op­tion of ad­di­tional ships. The pro­ject is to re­place 12 age­ing Pondicherry and Kar­war class minesweep­ers by 2020. The In­dian Navy re­quires at least 24 MCMVs to clear mines laid by en­emy war­ships and air­craft to block­ade har­bours dur­ing war.

Sub-Sur­face Fleet

Pro­ject 75 – Scor­pene Class

In Oc­to­ber 2005, con­tract for Pro­ject 75 was awarded to French de­fence gi­ant DCNS to build six Franco-Span­ish Scor­pene class diesel at­tack sub­marines at MDL. The deal in­volved ex­ten­sive tech­nol­ogy trans­fer agree­ments. Though the first Scor­pene sub­ma­rine was sched­uled to be handed over in 2012, as things stand now, the first boat which was un­docked at MDL on April 6, 2015, will be de­liv­ered by Septem­ber 2016, com­plet­ing the de­liv­ery of all six boats by Septem­ber 2020.

MDL will soon have two lines of sub­marines con­struc­tion; one for six Scor­pene SSKs and the sec­ond yet to be or­dered six Pro­ject 75I SSKs. Con­se­quently, by late next year, MDL will have two ded­i­cated sub­ma­rine con­struc­tion fa­cil­i­ties—one at its East Yard and the other at the Al­cock Yard, both of which will be used for the ac­cel­er­ated de­liv­ery of the six Scor­pene SSKs.

Pro­ject 75(I) – Con­ven­tional AIP Sub­marines

With in­tent to re­visit the dor­mant Pro­ject 75(I), a high-level Min­istry of De­fence com­mit­tee had con­ducted a sur­vey of In­dian ship­yards, both in public and pri­vate sec- tors in­clud­ing MDL, GRSE, Hin­dus­tan Ship­yard Ltd., GSL, L&T, ABG Ship­yard and Pi­pavav Ship­yard to build six next-gen­er­a­tion sub­marines with Air In­de­pen­dent Propul­sion (AIP) Sys­tem by 2022. Re­port­edly, the com­mit­tee has short­listed L&T and Pi­pavav De­fence & Off­shore En­gi­neer­ing Com­pany, in which the Anil Am­bani group firm Re­liance In­fra­struc­ture has re­cently ac­quired man­age­ment con­trol. The ten­der un­der ‘Buy & Make (In­dian)’ cat­e­gori­sa­tion will be is­sued for trans­fer of tech­nol­ogy with lead­ing for­eign col­lab­o­ra­tors and sub­stan­tial man­u­fac­tur­ing in In­dia for six ad­vanced stealth diesel-elec­tric sub­marines.

The likely global con­tenders to par­tic­i­pate in the ven­ture in­clude DCNS with up­graded/ad­vanced Scor­pene, Na­van­tia with the S-80, Ru­bin De­sign Bureau with Amur 1650 and HDW with Class 214. So­ryu class new-gen­er­a­tion con­ven­tional at­tack sub­marines jointly de­vel­oped and man­u­fac­tured by Mit­subishi and Kawasaki Heavy In­dus­tries of Ja­pan are also likely to join in the fray.

As per avail­able re­ports, Na­van­tia has a tie-up with Lock­heed Martin for com­bat man­age­ment sys­tems and is known to be work­ing closely with L&T al­beit on sur­face ship projects. The Swedish Kock­ums Archer class is also in the race. DCNS al­ready has a tech­nol­ogy tie-up with Pi­pavav De­fence, as also Sem­b­corp Marine (Sin­ga­pore), part of Te­masek of the Sin­ga­pore Gov­ern­ment, has a strate­gic and eq­uity part­ner­ship with Pi­pavav De­fence.

The Pro­ject 75(I) sub­marines are ex­pected to be big­ger than the 1,800tonne Scor­pene class. The AIP sys­tems will en­able greater un­der­wa­ter en­durance be­sides in­cor­po­rat­ing stealth, land-at­tack mis­siles ca­pa­bil­ity and other tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments.

Nu­clear Sub­marines

Re­cently, the Cab­i­net Com­mit­tee on Se­cu­rity (CCS) has ap­proved plans for the in­dige­nous de­vel­op­ment and con­struc­tion of six nu­cle­ar­pow­ered at­tack sub­marines (SSNs) for over 6,000 crore. In­dia has al­ready de­vel­oped com­pe­tency in in­dige­nous pro­duc­tion of nu­clear sub­marines. Ari­hant, In­dia’s first in­dige­nously de­signed and con­structed nu­clear sub­ma­rine cur­rently un­der­go­ing sea tri­als, is a shin­ing tes­ti­mony in this do­main.

The plan to add six nu­clear at­tack sub­marines is a mod­i­fi­ca­tion of gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion taken last year for Pro­ject 75(I). This ini­tia­tive seems to be an amal­ga­ma­tion of six nu­clear sub­marines into 30-year sub­ma­rine force build­ing and mod­erni­sa­tion per­spec­tive plan ap­proved by the gov­ern­ment way back in 1999.


Tweak­ing the MCPP of In­dian Navy by in­fus­ing newer ini­tia­tives of ‘Make in In­dia’ to pro­mote greater in­di­geni­sa­tion, al­ready a strong USP of In­dian Navy, across the board for all on­go­ing projects be­hoves well for much needed re­ju­ve­na­tion of the In­dian Navy. Amal­ga­ma­tion of six nu­clear sub­marines into the be­lea­guered 30-year sub­ma­rine force build­ing and mod­erni­sa­tion per­spec­tive plan and along­side de­vel­op­ing the an­cil­lary shore sup­port fa­cil­i­ties, in­fra­struc­ture and the allinclu­sive base could truly be a game changer.

The In­dian Navy has fur­ther stepped on the gas for in­di­geni­sa­tion in tune with the gov­ern­ment’s ‘ Make in In­dia’ pol­icy, iden­ti­fy­ing close to hun­dred tech­nolo­gies for DRDO to de­velop over the next 10-15 years. In­dia al­ready has 42 war­ships and six sub­marines un­der con­struc­tion in In­dian ship­yards with an or­der value of around ` 3,00,000 crore to main­tain a cut­ting-edge three-di­men­sional pro­file. The re­cent re­view of the dor­mant schemes of In­dian Navy’s MCPP by the gov­ern­ment re-em­pha­sises the im­per­a­tives for a stronger and re­ju­ve­nated In­dian Navy to as­sume its strate­gic roles which is due to In­dia’s im­mense ge­o­graphic ad­van­tage in the In­dian Ocean.

The Pro­ject 75(I) sub­marines are ex­pected to be big­ger than the 1,800-tonne Scor­pene class. The AIP sys­tems will en­able greater un­der­wa­ter en­durance be­sides in­cor­po­rat­ing stealth, land-at­tack mis­siles ca­pa­bil­ity and other tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments.


V-22 Osprey tilt-ro­tor air­craft

(Top) Am­phibi­ous air­craft US-2 built by ShinMaywa; (above) Un­dock­ing of the first of Scor­pene sub­marines Kal­vari

PHO­TO­GRAPHS: ShinMaywa, In­dian Navy

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