India Approves Construction of 7 Stealth Frigates, 6 Nuclear Subs
In a major step towards building a formidable blue-water Navy for the future, the Modi government has cleared the indigenous construction of seven stealth frigates and six nuclear-powered attack submarines, which together will cost well upwards of Rs 1 lakh crore ($16.1 billion—Ed.)
The Cabinet committee on security (CCS) took these decisions in tune with the “critical necessity” for India to bolster its “overall deterrence capability” in the entire Indian Ocean Region (IOR), especially its primary area of strategic interest stretching from the Persian Gulf to Malacca Strait.
Under the over Rs 50,000 crore ‘Project-17A’ for stealth frigates, four will be constructed at Mazagon Docks in Mumbai and three in Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers in Kolkata. “The contract will be inked with MDL and GRSE this month itself, with an initial payment of Rs 4,000 crore,” said a source.
Both the defence shipyards are already geared up for the project because it’s a “follow-on” to the three 6,100-tonne stealth frigates built by MDL, INS Shivalik, INS Satpura and INS Sahyadari, which were inducted in 2010-2012.
The new multi-mission frigates will be larger, faster and stealthier than the Shivaliks as well as packed with more weapons and sensors to operate in “a multi-threat environment”. But it could well take a decade, if not more, to build all the seven frigates.
The complex project for the nuclear-powered submarines (SSNs) will take longer. After the CCS approval, technical parameters or naval staff qualitative requirements (NSQRs) will now be drafted for the over 6,000-tonne submarines.
The SSNs are likely to be constructed at the secretive ship-building centre (SBC) in Vizag, where India’s first three SSBNs (nuclear-powered submarines with nuclear ballistic missiles) are being built to complete the country’s nuclear weapons triad.
The government has basically “reworked” the 30-year diesel-electric submarine-building plan, approved by the CCS in 1999, which envisaged induction …read more
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