New Delhi: Defence ministry today cleared a mega naval project worth over Rs 20,000 crore for four Landing Platform Docks (LPD) also known as amphibious assault ships.
LPDs are warfare ship that helps armed forces to transport troops defence equipment, helicopters and amphibious vehicle into a war zone by sea.
Each of these four ships will weigh in the range of 30,000 and 40,000 tonnes. Once built and deployed, they will be the biggest battle ships to be built in India after the under-construction aircraft carrier INS Vikrant. These warfare ships will enhance India’s ability to conduct sea-borne offensives in enemy areas.
The ships have huge lower decks that can be opened as a bridge to accommodate landing of tanks, defence cargo, as well as troops from sea to land. These ships do not require docking and can easily return as they can stay in sea uninterrupted for months depending upon their capacity.
LPDs can easily deliver the assigned consignment at the designated spots, which helps the Army to launch their offensive. Currently, India has one LPD, bought in 2007 from the US. Indian had bought Ex-USS Trenton from US and has renamed as INS Jalashwa. The 16,900-tonne warship, Jalashwa, alone can transport around 5,000 soldiers besides defence equipments.
The long-pending project was given green signal by the Defence Acquisition Council, the top decision-making body of the Ministry, at its meeting yesterday, informed sources told PTI.
Three private sector companies Reliance Defence and Engineering Limited (RDEL), Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and ABG Shipyard were in race initially for the mega project but ABG was disqualified on account of poor financial health. The sources said RDEL and Larsen and Toubro will be asked next week to submit fresh commercial bids for the four LPDs.
L&T has tied up with Navantia of Spain whereas Reliance Defence has tied up with French firm DCNS, considered a global leader in construction of LPDs. A top Navy official last month had said the contract for procurement of the four LPDs will be finalised by the end of this year.