DCNS offers modified Mistral to India

Lions Of Punjab

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DCNS offers modified Mistral to India

SOURCE: stratpost



Pierre Legros of DCNS, spoke to StratPost on the sidelines of the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition (LIMA2015) about his company's response to the Indian Navy's RFP for LPD vessels.

Tell us about your response to the Indian Navy RFP (Request For Proposal) for four LPD (Landing Platform Dock) vessels.

We have offered the Mistral-class. But because of the very specific requirements of the Indian Navy we have been obliged to propose significant changes to the Mistral-class design – original design.

And initially, very frankly, we thought that the best value for money for India would be to acquire the Mistral as it is – maybe with some modifications, as we did for the Russians, for instance. But it appears that they wanted to have very big modifications in order to comply with the depth and standard which are applicable to this particular ship.



And for instance, they did not accept the engines which normally equip the Mistral family which are essentially the (azimuth thrusters) – they are installed on pods – they wanted to have normal normal shaft lines – maybe it doesn't speak to you, but it means that since, now the well dock, which is the main part of the Mistral cannot be realized in th same way because of the shaft lines – two shaft lines, at least – we have to redesign the whole aft-section of the ship.
So most of it is going to be more or less similar to the Mistral and same from the outside. You will still see it – more or less similar.

But indeed, the modifications are really, really significant and we have some doubts, very frankly, about the real value for money. But once again, those are the requirements of the Indian Navy – let's abide by that, let's try to meet all those requirements and maybe later in the process of negotiations we might end up in convincing the Indian Navy that they might do significant savings by going for the more off-the-shelf solution.

Why is the Indian Navy circumspect about the existing engine pods?

It works (existing azimuth thruster propulsion) but certain navies think that the pods are very – well, first of all have not been designed with all the military requirements taken into account. Secondly, that they are more difficult to maintain over time, which is not at all our view – quite the contrary. It's a perception issue.

I can tell you that all the countries in which we have marketed the Mistral – all countries have accepted the pod approach without any problems – even the Russians.
So we were very much surprised when the Indian Navy said, "No, no, no, no – this is not what we want. You have to follow exactly the requirements that we have expressed in our RFP, otherwise you might be eliminated right away," and we said, "Okay, okay – don't frighten us with elimination. If this is what you want we can certainly do it." It's not a technical issue, it's only a question of value for money.

This is one of the things – there are other things, which have led us to study all those changes but, once again, this is not at all a big deal. This is a very flexible ship, not only in terms of the capacity and military operations or whatever, but even in terms of design.

We have conducted, for instance, a number of changes for the Russians who wanted ship capable of moving in Arctic seas. For instance, in the Russian version, the deck can be heated, which is not a requirement in India. They also wanted to change the height of the lower decks in order to accommodate 'higher' helicopters, so all of this can be very easily done. This is not an issue.
How difficult is it to modify the original design?

Modular design and modular construction. This is the reason why it was for us relatively easy to design those modifications. As a matter of fact we did the job in less than four months (for the modifications of the response to the Indian Navy RFP). So we see that as a real advantage of our design. Now obviously the other advantage that we have is that this ship amply proven at sea.

And for the Indian Navy we have proposed a basic design, as we normally do in a proposal – concept design – but we will have to – if we happen to be selected at the end of the day, we will have to do the detailed design and that will take some more time.

Mistral9 (600 x 278)

But the other thing, also, which we believe is an advantage is – and this is something that has not been matched by any other competitor – is the time needed to build such a ship. This is a big ship – between 22 and 26,000 tons – only an aircraft carrier would be bigger than this – and that ship has been built for he Russians in 32 months. For the French Navy – same thing and therefore we have now a track record which demonstrates that we can build it quickly.

Now, obviously, in India – it will have to be built in India, so we have to transfer the technology. But this is what we did, for instance, for the Russians and they have been capable to follow the same.

How confident are you about your partnership with Pipavav in bidding for this RFP?

We have developed those changes to make a good proposal in association with our partner Pipavav – maybe tomorrow, Reliance Defence – we don't know.

To us, very frankly, this was a fantastic news because we were very anxious about the future of Pipavav. And up to the point where, because of the situation of Pipavav and the situation of the ABG at the same time we were about to have the Indian Navy canceling the RFP by saying 'Okay guys – let's redo the whole thing because now we have only one solid proposal on the table' – which is the one of L&T – Larsen and Toubro.
There are three contenders, basically, each of one with one occidental partner – ABG with Alion Technologies from the US, L&T with Navantia of Spain and we are with Pipavav.

In any case, we built most of the ship in France for the Russians but in India have known right from the beginning that the whole thing would be built in India. So this is not something which is a problem for us. Pipavav has a very large capacity – very large dry dock – probably the biggest in India and therefore they are an ideal partner for building that type of ship, so we're very confident. And now we will also to find a a suitable partner to build, integrate and install the combat system that will equip the ship.

Not (identified) yet. There are many, many contenders for this type of thing – it's not a very complex ship in terms of military capacity. So BEL might do it, Tata might do it. And here again, we will be very flexible and we will listen to the Indian Navy – have always their way of thinking about their partners, their privileged partners and this not a domain in which there should be any difficulty to accommodate any partner of their choice.

DCNS offers modified Mistral to India | idrw.org
 

Ray

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It takes time to build ships and Mistral states that they did it in 32 months.

However, can Mistral be trusted to deliver even if the ships are built in India.

Halfway, if the geoploitical situation changes, then they will stop construction and we will have a half way home ship.
 

Srinivas_K

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Just get the technology, establish the infrastructure in India , form JVs and induct them.

China is rising and arming the neighbours. We need to have the capability to defend and maintain peace as India rises.
 

sgarg

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This class of ship is for the future. A learning process is better rather than imports.

The only large island territory of India is A&N where India can actually station large ground forces if need arises. For other inhospitable places, far more than ships will be required.

So let us not jump on Mistral bandwagon.
 

indiandefencefan

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a financially viable option would be if DCNS is not handing over russia their 2 mistrals, DCNS could carry out the modifications on the already completed ships. Just a theory from my side. Can anyone confirm if this can be done. If so this can save a lot of time and money,
 

sgarg

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a financially viable option would be if DCNS is not handing over russia their 2 mistrals, DCNS could carry out the modifications on the already completed ships. Just a theory from my side. Can anyone confirm if this can be done. If so this can save a lot of time and money,
NO. No need for India to jump into France-Russia dispute.
 

sorcerer

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Not (identified) yet. There are many, many contenders for this type of thing – it's not a very complex ship in terms of military capacity. So BEL might do it, Tata might do it. And here again, we will be very flexible and we will listen to the Indian Navy – have always their way of thinking about their partners, their privileged partners and this not a domain in which there should be any difficulty to accommodate any partner of their choice.
So...this could be the first project of Reliance Defence.
 

grampiguy

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I have heard that Navy prefers Navantia built Juan Carlos class ship which was also bought by Australia. Their size is much bigger and can be extended to 40,000 tons which Navy is looking for. More so, that ship is actually a light aircraft carrier with a ski jump capability. You add arresting gear and landing lights and hoila!! you have a carrier of INS Vikrant size for 800-900 million USD.

Let's see who prevails..
 

sorcerer

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NO. No need for India to jump into France-Russia dispute.
Some interesting pointers of Mistral and business conduct of France.
The Mistral class amphibious assault vessel is popularly referred to as the "Swiss Army knife" of the French navy. These versatile ships are prized not for their onboard weapons—they are essentially unarmed—but for their ability to project symbolic power, support amphibious operations, assist in humanitarian relief operations, and direct military operations through state-of-the-art command and control technologies. It can support up to 450 troops for 45 days at sea without replenishing and can hold up to 16 medium to large helicopters, 70 armored vehicles, and up to four landing craft. The ship's flight deck can accommodate six helicopters taking off and landing simultaneously. The Mistral also functions as a hospital ship, equipped with two operating theaters and 69 beds, which makes it particularly useful in humanitarian operations. In addition to its amphibious assault capabilities, the Mistral's Senit 9 command and control system provides a 3D fusion of data based on information received from on- and off-board sensors, the same combat system on board the flagship aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle. These systems underpin the "network centric" warfare capabilities that have long given the West a qualitative military edge over competitors.

In functional terms, the Mistral is the somewhat smaller equivalent of the U.S. Navy's LHD Wasp-class amphibious assault ship—like the USS Boxer or USS Kearsarge (and six others). The French navy possesses three Mistrals of roughly 21,000 tons and 200 meters in length, making them the second-largest ship in the fleet behind the Charles de Gaulle.

Moscow first took an interest in acquiring the Mistral after its 2008 war with Georgia. According to one report, Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky, then Russian Chief of the Navy, marveled at the ship just months after the war while visiting the Euronaval defense show in Paris.1 Vysotsky later crowed that if Russia had possessed the Mistral in 2008, it "would have won the war with Georgia in 40 minutes rather than 26 hours."2
The business part

But Russia proved to be a tough negotiating partner. It did not simply want to buy the hulk of the ships, which was what France hoped to sell. Moscow insisted that it would only buy the ships if the Senit 9 system was included. Moscow also demanded an offset in the contract to produce part of the hull of the second ship in Russia. Paris and Moscow squabbled over the price of the ships, too, dragging out negotiations. It remains unclear whether Paris has actually agreed to deliver the ships with the sophisticated technologies, but it is unlikely that Moscow would otherwise have agreed to purchase them
Now reading the French

let's abide by that, let's try to meet all those requirements and maybe later in the process of negotiations we might end up in convincing the Indian Navy that they might do significant savings by going for the more off-the-shelf solution.
Will they simply try to sell of the off the shelf solution to Indian Navy quoting price which seems to be their tactic with Russians.

Mistral Mysteries - The American Interest
 

sgarg

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The twin objective of building these helicopter carriers is to promote Indian shipbuilding. This objective will not be satisfied by importing the ship. This project is like the aircraft carrier project - it must be built by Indian shipyards.
 

Sylex21

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Geopolitical considerations should also be considered. Would the potential purchase of these ships greatly upset the Russians, and if so, perhaps for that reason alone it should be avoided. India is badly in need of power projection capabilities such as this ship, but I agree with you all, that if possible an indigenous version produced cheaper and in greater numbers would be far more useful long term.
 

grampiguy

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@sgarg,

Geopolitical considerations should also be considered. Would the potential purchase of these ships greatly upset the Russians, and if so, perhaps for that reason alone it should be avoided. India is badly in need of power projection capabilities such as this ship, but I agree with you all, that if possible an indigenous version produced cheaper and in greater numbers would be far more useful long term.
What if Saudi Arabia decides to gift these two ships to Pakistan in return of their services in Yemen? That will be giving a middle finger to Russia by both France and Saudis. Will India allow that to happen?
 
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sgarg

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@sgarg,

What if Saudi Arabia decides to gift these two ships to Pakistan in return of their services in Yemen? That will be giving a middle finger to Russia by both France and Saudis. Will India allow that to happen?
No problem. Pakistan will get whatever it can. The logical thing is to develop counters like long range anti-ship missiles. A large ship like this is a good target for Brahmos missile.

India has done the right thing by mounting Brahmos on Su-30MKI. The additional modified Su-30MKI will go a long way in blunting any surface ships Pakistan may induct.
 
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sgarg

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India needs to improve its sub-hunting capability. More sub-hunting helicopters and planes will go a long way in improving IN capabilities.

Pakistan's surface combatants may not prove much in real war.

One has to account for Mig-29K in the calculations now which in itself is a potent anti-ship platform.
 

indiandefencefan

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@sgarg,



What if Saudi Arabia decides to gift these two ships to Pakistan in return of their services in Yemen? That will be giving a middle finger to Russia by both France and Saudis. Will India allow that to happen?
does the pakistani navy even have the money needed to operate such ships even if they acquired them ???
 
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Sylex21

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@sgarg,



What if Saudi Arabia decides to gift these two ships to Pakistan in return of their services in Yemen? That will be giving a middle finger to Russia by both France and Saudis. Will India allow that to happen?
Your scenario is so unrealistic I'm not really sure where to begin to address it.

-Why would Saudi Arabia want to buy these ships?
-Why would Pakistan want to upset Russia whom they have been trying to build a better relationship with recently, for example their deals and visits in December
-Why would Pakistan who doesn't have much of a Navy or anything to back up the power projection capability ever want one of these and the associated costs of running and maintaining it?
-Why wouldn't Saudi Arabia just give the Pakistani's money instead, which would be a lot less politically dangerous and greatly reduce international complaints and condemnation?
-Why would Saudi Arabia give Pakistan such an expensive gift?
-Why would France release these ships to Saudi when they don't want to piss of Russia further, and are basically bullied by the US into following the sanctions of Russia?

I could go on for a while, but you get the general idea
 
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Sylex21

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I have heard that Navy prefers Navantia built Juan Carlos class ship which was also bought by Australia. Their size is much bigger and can be extended to 40,000 tons which Navy is looking for. More so, that ship is actually a light aircraft carrier with a ski jump capability. You add arresting gear and landing lights and hoila!! you have a carrier of INS Vikrant size for 800-900 million USD.

Let's see who prevails..
The Juan Carlos costs almost exactly the same as the Mistral at $600M roughly, it is about 26,000 tonnes to the Mistrals 21,300, so it is a bit bigger. The ski jump capability you mentioned is interesting if it doesn't affect any functions that the Mistral can perform. An interesting option from Spain for sure, but the two ships do seem fairly comparable for the most part. I think the mention of the Mistral was motivated by the fact that since they are already in the works, they could be obtained at a significant discount as opposed to the Jaun Carlos which would be at full price. Ultimately force projection is nice, but you really want massive force projection and the quality unlike a combat aircraft doesn't have to be the best in the world or anything. When it comes to moving troops and equipment, quantity truly has a quality of its own. So a much cheaper, slowly developed indigenous to India option that could be mass produced long term, seems like the best option.
 

sgarg

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does the pakistani navy even have the money needed to operate such ships even if they acquired them ???
Not everything that Pakistan has, can be used against India. Pakistan will find it hard to mount a sizable attack from sea. It will meet heavy resistance. Pakistan's ships at sea within 500 km of India sea shore are likely to be hunted intensively and eliminated in case of war.

The Su-30 and Mig-29K are sufficient to eliminate any surface threats from Pakistan.
 

indiandefencefan

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Not everything that Pakistan has, can be used against India. Pakistan will find it hard to mount a sizable attack from sea. It will meet heavy resistance. Pakistan's ships at sea within 500 km of India sea shore are likely to be hunted intensively and eliminated in case of war.

The Su-30 and Mig-29K are sufficient to eliminate any surface threats from Pakistan.
Its not the surface threats we should be worried about. Pakistans subsurface fleet is what poses most danger especially after recent reports that china will sell poakistan 8 more subs.

With the P-8s nad the tupolevs stretched thin over both our seaboards it those subs which pose the most danger to our fleet.
 

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