India needs a home-built Navy

Discussion in 'Indian Navy' started by Galaxy, Dec 4, 2011.

  1. Galaxy

    Galaxy Elite Member Elite Member

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    India needs a home-built Navy

    December 3, 2011 |
    By Arun Kumar Singh

    The Indian Navy, which celebrates Navy Day today and Submarine Day on December 8, and will be holding a grand President’s review of the fleet in Mumbai on December 20, would look back with some justifiable pride on its recent achievements, including the unglamorous task of coastal security and anti-piracy operations, while simultaneously proudly displaying the tricolour in its overseas deployments.

    However, the Indian Navy’s traditional record on indigenous force augmentation needs “help” from the government given the emerging challenges from piracy, terrorism, a growing Pakistani submarine capability and Chinese sea power.

    It takes about 15 years from the time a request for proposal (RFP) is sent to competing vendors till the time the ship, submarine or aircraft becomes available — there’s the protracted process of evaluation, contract signing and commencement of work. During this period, the strength of the Navy continues to get depleted (obsolete warships and submarines are phased out) while threats continue to multiply.

    For example, by 2025, Pakistan would have imported from China six more submarines, four frigates and unmanned aerial vehicles, while the Chinese Navy would have inducted a huge blue-water capability which could be deployed against India (12 conventional submarines (SSKs), 12 SSNs, six SSBNs, three aircraft carriers, a dozen frigates or destroyers, a 3,000-km-range, shore-based anti-aircraft carrier missile (DF-21D) and six large amphibious warfare ships).

    Hence, if timely action is not taken, India will be at a serious disadvantage within a decade, and the Indian Navy may not be able to protect our seaborne trade in the Asia-Pacific, the Indian Ocean regions, or ONGC’s planned oil exploration in the South China Sea.

    Since imported platforms are expensive and make us dependent on imported spare parts, India needs a home-built Navy, which can protect India’s seas and borders while providing the nation with strategic second-stike capability. Unfortunately, the Navy is not yet equipped to carry out all its tasks.

    The Indian Navy has placed fresh orders for the indigenous construction of two cadet-training ships, five offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), eight Landing Craft Utility, 80 fast interceptor craft (FICs to be imported from Sri Lanka) and 15 FIC (to be imported from France).

    The FICs are small high-speed boats for harbour and offshore oil rig and counter-terror patrols, meant for use by the newly created Sagar Prahari Bal, post-26/11, and hence have no relevance to any traditional naval blue- or green-water operations.

    A contract to import two and indigenously built six South Korean-origin minesweepers may also be signed soon. RFP for indigenous construction of four 20,000-tonne amphibious warships has been issued, and the construction may commence by 2015.

    Though some 49 ships and submarines are under construction (45 in India and four abroad), many important projects are still gathering dust, either at the naval headquarters or the ministry of defence. These include proposals for six indigenous SSKs under Project 75 (I), a dozen OPVs, seven frigates and four destroyers.

    Awaiting approval is a proposal for the indigenous construction of one 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier.

    The six Project 75 (I) SSKs are crucial as they provide critical tactical submarine capability at sea to attack enemy ships and submarines. The tactical SSKs (and SSNs) must not be confused with the strategic SSBNs (or ballistic missile submarines), like the indigenous Arihant class, which are essentially second-strike platforms and play no tactical role in a conventional war. To clarify, India urgently needs indigenous SSKs, SSNs and SSBNs.

    The irony is that while our public sector shipyards are overloaded by 200 to 300 per cent with orders, modern private sector shipyards, like Pipavav, with spare warship and submarine building capacity, are awaiting regulatory approvals.

    For India to become a great sea power, the combined capacity of all its public and private shipyards must be harnessed for building indigenous warships, submarines and merchant ships. The proposal for joint ventures — between public and private shipyards — needs to be approved at the earliest, with clear guidelines for optimal output of indigenous shipbuilding.

    India’s naval aviation strength is being augmented with the induction of P-8i maritime patrol aircraft, MIG-29 fighters for aircraft carriers, and helicopters. However, there is an urgent need to fast-track the trials and induction of the indigenous naval variant of the LCA (light-combat aircraft), and indigenous 10-tonne helicopters.

    The Navy also needs additional dedicated indigeneous satellites for maritime surveillance, communications and data link to provide instant “situational awareness” across large ocean areas.

    Hopefully, the long-delayed single Russian Akula-class SSN will be inducted in the not too distant future, on lease. However, one imported submarine is not enough. India needs to start an indigenous SSN production line of six units.


    The writer, a vice-admiral, retired as Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command, Visakhapatnam

    India needs a home-built Navy | Deccan Chronicle
     
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  3. Galaxy

    Galaxy Elite Member Elite Member

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    Navy hits blue water block

    New Delhi, Dec 3, DHNS:

    In what may eventually hurt its blue water ambition, many strategic projects of the Indian Navy, ranging from expanding a major naval base on the west coast and manufacturing of many more killer submarines, are nowhere close to realisation.

    The latest casualty in the long-list of delay is the indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) whose sea trial has been put off by six months. The 40,000-tonne carrier being constructed at the Cochin Shipyard is now expected to go for the sea trial by the middle of 2012.

    The delay happened because its gear boxes and generators had not arrived in time as a result of which the time plan was rescheduled, said Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma.

    The Navy ordered 45 carrier-borne fighters, MiG-29K, for the IAC and the Russian-origin “INS Vikramaditya”. The delivery of the first batch of 16 fighters would be completed by March. But in the absence of any carrier, the fighters are now cooling their heels in Goa.

    The Navy’s ambitious second phase expansion plan of Karwar naval base is also stuck. The Rs 20,000-crore project has not yet received the Finance Ministry approval after getting the defence ministry nod.

    The phase-II envisages constructing more than twenty additional piers so that the base can house more than 40 ships and submarines at any point of time. Both carriers – “INS Vikramaditya” and IAC – will be based at Karwar, which would release pressure on Mumbai. A top Navy officer said the nuclear reactor on-board “INS Arihant” submarine had not yet gone critical and a certificate from Atomic Energy Regulatory Board would be required before the reactor is fired. The Navy chief, however, assured that the boomer would be on patrol duty before 2012 ended.

    Another big-time project to have a second assembly line of six conventional submarines (75I) is also not anywhere close to the starting point as the Navy was trying to avoid a “single vendor” situation. In the initial phase, the project took time, because of issues in “defining the technology” and “creating more stealthy features,” which may include air-independent propulsion that allows conventional diesel-electric submarines to stay longer under water.

    The first submarine assembly line under construction at Mazgaon dock is already delayed by close to three years. The first Scorpene submarine is now expected only in 2015 rather than the original target date of 2012.

    The Naval satellite too is not on the radar, but the responsibility lies primarily with Isro, which encountered a series of failures with its geo-stationary satellite launch vehicle (GSLV).

    Navy hits blue water block
     

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