Government set to clear Mine Counter Vessels for Navy
Vasco, Goa: In a major boost to indigenous defence industry, Ministry of Defence is all set to give its nod to Indian Navy to acquire Mine Counter Measure Vessels (MCMV), which are extremely critical for the safe passage of Indian warships before they leave the dockyards to go in deep seas.
Sources in the Navy said the issue was discussed prominently in the recently held commander’s conclave and the new Defence Minister Arun Jaitley was briefed about the urgent need of these high end vessels for the safety of the warships.
Navy has projected the requirement of 24 MCMVs and the project is awaiting government’s approval for some time now.
Public Sector Undertaking Goa Shipyard Limited has been nominated for this prestigious project, which will catapult Indian ship building capacity into a very different league.
“Construction of MCMV is totally different and will provide major leap in indigenous shipbuilding capacity. These are very high end vessels and will be made using composite materials, which provides them high stealth capability with zero magnetic signatures”, says Chief of GSL Rear Admiral (Retd) Shekhar Mital.
Advocating the urgent need of the government sanction for the project, Admiral Mitalsaid, “Delay in sanction is impinging our capacity utilization. We are accountable to the people of India for every penny invested in PSUs and underutilization of capacities build over the years is a matter of concern.”
Contract Negotiations for the project with the foreign vendor have been completed two years back. On grant of ‘go ahead’ by MoD, the first two vessels of this kind will be built in foreign shipyard, which in turn will provide the required know how to GSL to make these boats indigenously.
The GSL Chief said, since the shipyard has been nominated to build these very high end vessels , shipyard is fully geared up to undertake this task, the moment it gets the government’s nod. “We have undertaken massive modernization program in three phases to achieve the capacity to construct these world class vessels” he said, adding that the first two phases have already been completed with the in-house resource of over Rs 300 Cr, while the government has approved Rs 450 Cr for the third phase which is currently underway and is expected to be completed by mid 2015.
After GSL starts constructing MCMVs, the annual turnover of the shipyard is set to take a big leap and expect to cross Rs 1200 Cr.
Mine Counter Measure Vessels are in the category of 700 to 800 tons with state of art mine detection and destruction equipment fitted on board. As per the Naval operating practices these vessels are first deployed to sweep the harbor, for detection of mines, if deployed by enemy in war, for making it safe for bigger warships/fleet to sail out to the high seas.
Talking about the contribution of GSL in big ticket projects for the Navy, besides supplying OPVs, Admiral Mital also pointed out that recently they have built the ‘Shore Based Testing Facility’ on Goa coast at the Naval Station INS Hansa. “The facility is a replica of Vikramaditya’s flight deck which is used to train our Naval pilots before they are deployed on the aircraft carrier. We are the fourth nation to create such a facility on our shore after US, UK and Ukraine,” he said.