New Delhi: Navy set to get four new warships with deadly BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles on board in Rs 20,000 Crore project with Russia to bolster defences at sea.
Seeking to further strengthen the Navy’s capabilities, the defence ministry has cleared a proposal worth Rs 20,000 crore to buy four state-of-the-art warships equipped with the deadly BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles.
Two would be built in Russia and the other two in India, in a project crucial for the Navy which has been asking for additional warships to maintain its ‘blue water’ capabilities – the ability to carry out operations in high seas, far away from its waters.
GSL chief rear admiral Shekhar Mittal said they have already started working in this direction and are ready for construction of such big warships.
We are already working on the project as our shipyard was recently modified to undertake the construction and integration of such weapon intensive platforms,’ Mittal told Mail Today over phone.
After approval by the defence acquisition council (DAC) headed by defence minister Manohar Parrikar, the Navy will now move towards preparing a commercial note for the project after getting price quotes from the Russian side and other vendors to be involved in the programme.
Once the commercial and other related negotiations are done, the project will be sent across to the cabinet committee on security headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for final approval, sources said.
The vessels would be the follow-on warships of the Talwar class frigates, six of which are already in the Navy and are known as project 11356 in the Russian Navy.
Once the project starts, the GSL would take four years to start delivering the ships. The six previous warships of the Talwar class are already serving in the Navy and equipped with potent anti-ship missiles including the Russian Klub and BrahMos.
They are Talwar, Trishul, Tabar, Teg, Tarkash and Trikand. Built fully in Russia, the first three have the Klub as their main weapon, while the rest have BrahMos as its major anti-ship arsenal.
The locally-built warships will be manufactured by Goa Shipyard Ltd. (GSL) at its Vasco Da Gama facility, while the Yantar shipyard, which has delivered similar vessels for the Indian Navy in the past too, will build the other two warships, defence sources said.
The Yantar shipyard has faced some problems in manufacturing the warships as the engines are built in Ukraine, which is not in good terms with Moscow at the moment.
Sources in the GSL said the major portion of the weapon-intensive platforms would be made in India and more than 50 per cent of it would be built here.
‘Surface-to-air missiles, including Shtil-1, would be from Russia, but we are going to involve a lot of equipments such as electronic warfare components from India,’ they said.
The Navy has also given its mine counter-measure vessels (MCMVs) project worth Rs 32,000 crore to GSL. It has tied up with South Korean shipyard Kangnam to build 12 such boats.
Senior defence ministry sources said Parrikar was a bit hesitant to nominate GSL for the project, but it was the only public sector shipyard available for completing the project.
Others, such as Mazagon Dockyards Limited and GRSE, are busy with other important projects and almost working on full capacity.