Shipbuilding Industry in India

bengalraider

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Interview: Chairman and managing director, Mazagon Dock Limited


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Interview‘We have already imbibed this technology at the higher end of the learning curve’
Chairman and managing director, Mazagon Dock Limited,Vice Admiral H.S. MALHI (retd) AVSM, VSMFORCE December 2009

On Project 17

We are building three frigates of the Shivalik class, also called Project 17, of which the first ship is now in the final stages of being commissioned. Last time when we met, I had mentioned some issues with the GE turbine engine. That had set us back by a few months. We were keen on delivering the ship prior to monsoons this year. However, that deadline could not be met. The ship has undergone a number of trials at sea. At the moment, she is dry-docked, after which a final machinery trials are planned. The ship will be delivered to the Indian Navy early next year. We are conducting the trials in conjunction with Navy’s Overseeing Team as well as the ship’s staff and Naval Trial Agencies. The second ship of Project 17 will be delivered seven to eight months after the delivery of the first one. The third one will take that much more time after the delivery of the second one. Our biggest constraint is deploying limited number of Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)’s representatives simultaneously on three ships for carrying out equipment trials and defect rectifications, if any.

On Project 15A

Our other major project is 15A, which is progressing very smoothly. The first ship of this Project will be out in August 2011 and the next two will follow in August 2012 and 2013. The first destroyer, which was launched nearly a year and a half ago, is being outfitted at the moment. The second one was launched on September 18 this year. This was the first launch at MDL and indeed in the country to be pontoon-assisted. Pontoon-assisted launch overcomes the tidal constraints, which we face owing to limited depth of water along our waterfront. The other advantage of this type of launching is that weight of the ship at launch is no longer a restricting factor and, therefore, much more pre-launch outfitting is possible.

We put pontoons fore and aft and take her out. This has been a big success and we are very proud of it. The third one will also be a pontoon-assisted launch, in March next year.

On Submarine Building

The third project that we are currently working on is Scorpene Submarine, where we have made considerable progress fabricating the pressure hull. The first boat is almost complete. In fact, we have progressed so well that the fabrication of the pressure hull for the fourth boat has also commenced. At the moment, we are waiting for the equipment to come from various OEMs. On receiving this equipment, it will be put on to the cradles and installed in the hull. Once all the equipment goes in, the hull will be welded together to form the submarine. For majority of the equipment, we are through with various stages of price negotiations and now we only have to place the order. Contrary to some press reports, our collaboration with the OEM is progressing very smoothly. Both sides are very happy with absorption of technology. All the issues that we had in the beginning pertaining to the infrastructure and industrial means (since we had not undertaken submarine construction for many years) have been resolved in very quick time. The skills of our workers are being admired by our collaborators, who consider them on par with the best in the world. In fact, the number of non-conformities or the defects that come up during construction have reduced drastically. We are really proud of our welders, structural fitters and other operatives. As far as infrastructure is concerned, we have procured additional equipment, so that work can be speeded up. At the same time, we are also setting up a full-fledged workshop with requisite facilities in order to carry out simultaneous construction of the hull at two different sites. This is being done to catch up, at the earliest possible, with delay which was not envisaged. This workshop will be set up at our Alcock Yard, where we earlier did heavy engineering work for the ONGC.

Despite our efforts in compressing the time-frame, there may be some delay in delivering all six submarines by the contractual date of December 2017, which is common in such complex project. To put this programme in perspective, TOT has been a huge success. We have imbibed the technology of constructing pressure hull very well.

On the Second Line of Submarines

Given the success achieved in TOT and immense capital invested in setting up enabling infrastructure and above all, intricate skills mastered by our workers, it would be downright silly, to put it mildly, in not throwing our hat in the ring for the next lot of submarines. As per our plan, the fabrication work on all six pressure hulls will be completed by 2011. Our workshops will then be ready to commence fabrication of the next lot by 2012. In fact, these facilities will lie idle in case the order for the next lot is not in place by then. In order to compress the time frame, as I said earlier, we are setting up a parallel line of construction in a new workshop at Alcock Yard. This second line can be used for the follow-on orders.
We are confident about our capabilities. It stands to reason, that a shipyard, which has in the past successfully delivered two SSK (Submarine to Submarine Killers) Submarines under German collaboration and is currently building six state-of-the-art SSKs, will have an edge over any other yard in the country in terms of skills and infrastructure to handle any such future projects. I would feel that there wouldn’t be anybody better equipped than us in the country. May I add here, that in terms of construction technology, building an SSK is far more complex than any other type of submarines, conventional or non-conventional, since SSKs are much more silent. It does not make sense for another shipyard learning on the job, since we have already imbibed this technology at the higher end of the learning curve. Moreover, capability aside, there are a number of intangibles. The workforce employed in submarine construction acquire a mind-set of their own, which lays greater stress on hygiene in work areas, use of correct tools and above all, a high degree of quality consciousness. I can see this difference on a daily basis between submarine construction and shipbuilding. All this comes from many years of submarine building work. I hope we don’t fritter away this capability like we did in the Nineties, which was really the Lost Decade.

On Future Projects

We are currently negotiating Project 15B for follow-on destroyers. While the project has been approved, we are in discussion with the Indian Navy and the ministry of defence. We are expecting an order of four ships. We are also looking forward to four frigates under Project 17A. The difference between Project 17 and 17A would be in the mode of construction. We will do ‘integrated construction’ in making 17A frigates. This is where the modernisation of the shipyard comes in.

On Modernisation

We are moving very rapidly on modernisation of the yard and will complete this process in 2011. This will entail making a new wet basin to enhance our berthing capacity. Every time a ship is launched, it needs a berthing area for outfitting. We will also have a 300 ton Goliath crane (136m long and 92m high), which will straddle two existing slipways as well as the new Modular Workshop. This will be below the crane and will have a retractable roof, so that the blocks can be lifted and placed on the slipway. All the shipyards across the world have these facilities. The defence shipyards have only now embarked on this Modernisation programme. Once all this is in place, we will be able to do build ships faster. Constructing a ship through completely outfitted blocks will also enable us to farm out some block construction to other shipyards, private or public, and thus hasten shipbuilding process.

On Challenges

The major challenge is to bring about a change in the mindset. We have not had any delivery or commissioning of ships at MDL since 2001. And eight years is a long period. There is quite a difference in fabrication and outfitting phases of shipbuilding and the ‘Delivery’ phase. The Delivery phase which includes extensive tests and trials, including sea trials, calls for a more proactive attitude. One has to be very nimble-footed, quick in decision-making, good at ensuring and better coordination amongst trial various agencies. The mindset has to change completely, from fabrication and outfitting to operation of machinery and weapon systems. Getting people to reorient their thinking and mindset has been a major challenge. The other challenge has been to upgrade and create infrastructure in keeping with our company’s plan to meet the current and future requirements. We are building new facilities at Alcock Yard. Earlier, since the Offshore work was going on, we weren’t sure how best we would be able to utilise this space. Now, that we are no longer in Offshore business, our roadmap for Alcock Yard is quite clear. We will have second line of construction and third line of frigate destroyer construction there. We also have some land with waterfront at Nhava. This area is on lease from ONGC. We are talking to them for some sort of division of this area, so that we utilise the water front to launch ships from there or for outfitting work and to hasten the pace through parallel construction.

On Limited Capacity of Indigenous Shipyards

One could certainly look at private shipyards to bridge the gap in capacity available. As regards capability for integrated construction we will need some hand-holding from shipyards abroad, who have adopted this method of construction. This will be in the area of Build Strategy and detailed design.

On Making Ships Abroad or Within the Country

There is no gainsaying that all avenues for shipbuilding must be explored to meet the requirement of the navy, so that Maritime security imperatives are not compromised. We need to consider whether to build ships indigenously or go abroad to meet this requirement. Considering that indigenous warship-building is a strategic capability, it would be in the country’s interest, in the long run, that we encourage this activity. A fine balance really will have to be struck in between these two imperatives. It is possible that in the short term, one may get a ship a couple of years early from a foreign shipyard than if it was to be built indigenously. However, the spin-offs of building indigenously will tend to outweigh advantages, if any, of procuring from abroad. This is especially evident in areas of ancillaries’ development, standardisation and spurring infrastructure growth. There is certainly more comfort and confidence in building a ship within the country and this should not be compromised.

On Public-Private Shipyard Partnership

At present, there is no private shipyard in the country that has built a warship. Considering that we are moving towards integrated ship-building, the way forward is, to farm out construction of some Blocks. These blocks of up to 250-280 tons could be built at private shipyards. This will help the private shipyards initially to undertake warship construction with overseeing provided by the navy. In due course, the private shipyard will be well-poised to construct an entire warship. This ‘Lead Shipyard Concept’ exists all over the world. I think that both the public and private shipyards have their pluses and minuses and we should come together in a partnership to derive maximum benefit from each other.

On Level Playing Field for the Defence Shipyards

Once a naval order is placed with the defence shipyard, it becomes a captive supplier for the Service. In the case of foreign shipyards, when a contract is signed, it is made clear that the design would be frozen at a certain point. This does not happen with us. Though, as the ‘fixed price’ contracts take hold, we will have to insist on this. It is not uncommon for design modifications to happen at very advanced stages of construction, where some modifications are charged and others are absorbed. Partly due to this, slippages take place. Moreover, there is the C3I factor, that is, the CVC, CBI, CAG and Information as in RTI. They certainly provide the necessary checks and balances, which have made PSU, weather the storm, even in times of recession. However, on the flip side, they hang like the sword of Damocles over the PSUs, leading to slow decision-making, and in some cases, stifle initiative. The private shipyards have an edge here. Their procurement processes are certainly faster. However, they are looking only at the bottom line. As a DPSU, we have a certain responsibility towards the nation and the armed forces. No matter what happens, the ship will get delivered irrespective of how much the Company has made or lost.

As you may know, GRSE is in a very advance stage of forming a JV with DCNS. We are looking to tap that for our requirement. Most shipyards abroad will not agree to provide inputs for design alone. They want some ship construction order placed on them before they provide assistance with design. Designing a ship for modular construction, after all, is an important IPR.

On the Future of Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design

Over time, the role of the Directorate of Naval Design should ideally be confined to providing the concept design. They should formulate general staff requirements and ask the shipyards to take on from there. In the short term, DGND must leave the detailed design entirely to the shipyards. Project 17A should be a big step in this direction as the DGND, in any case, has not undertaken detailed design for modular construction before.
__________________
Some good snippets of information here , the GOI should speed up the process of selecting the second line of submarines so that we do not have yards lying empty afetr 2012, also why are the OEM prices not yet finalized?


SOURCES: Key Publishing Ltd Aviation Forums - View Single Post - Indian Navy News and Discussions

FORCE - A Complete News Magazine on National Security - Defence Magazine
 

bengalraider

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FORCE - A Complete News Magazine on National Security - Defence Magazine

We Have Already Been Qualified and Cleared as the Second Line for Construction of Submarines at Hazira’
Member of the Board and senior executive vice president, heavy engineering, Larsen & Toubro Limited, M.V. Kotwal


What are L&T’s defence priorities?

We have, over the last two decades, developed capabilities primarily through orders received from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO); making prototypes for rocket-launchers, missile launchers, torpedo launchers and so on. Today, we have a wide range of capabilities covering weapon systems, sensors and engineering systems for all the three services. Our focus is on total system development including platforms. Having said this, we have done maximum work for the navy where we have been involved in a wide range of products — from manufacture of weapon systems and engineering systems, sonar handling systems, unique stabilised systems like WM-18 multi-barrelled rocket launchers, Dhanush vertical missile launchers, to construction of India’s first nuclear-powered submarine, ’Arihant’. The technologies that we have developed cover the requirement for the army and the air force as well. We have now set-up a new facility at Talegaon for producing weapon systems like multi-barrel rocket-launchers (eg Pinaka) for the Indian Army, torpedo launchers and rocket launchers for navy, which are in progress. The facility is also equipped for manufacture, assembly and integration of radars and other sensors. We have already manufactured radar systems, starting with the instrumentation radars for Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) followed by the military radar platforms — Rohini and Revathi, which we manufactured in partnership with BEL and LRDE (which was the nodal agency). We have partnered DRDO in development of multiple types of articulated and mobile bridge systems for the army and expect to produce them shortly. We have set-up a facility in Coimbatore for precision manufacture.

All this is behind us now. We have ambitions to develop complete platforms for the navy, army and the air force. In case of the army, we have the capability and desire to participate in the manufacture of small arms and artillery guns (including self-propelled, mounted and towed variants). We are also keen to offer custom-engineered systems involving tracked and wheeled vehicles, suitably modified to carry weapon and missile systems, as well as bridging systems. Our established capabilities in defence electronics, communication and software at Mumbai, Talegaon and Bangalore, combined with domain knowledge of weapon systems place us in an ideal position to offer complete tactical communication, and network centric systems.

Our aerospace capabilities began with ISRO with the satellite launch vehicles; we made contributions to Mission Chandrayaan by participating in manufacture of the launch vehicles as well as the C&S Band tracking radar and deep space network antenna systems. We have been involved in building some special systems like aluminium plate stretcher, angular motion simulators and hypersonic wind tunnel. We have established an advanced composites facility in Baroda for components and sub-assemblies for missiles and aircraft. From this facility we have been supplying components for Brahmos, ISRO and for HAL programmes.
Recently, we have made a proposal to the government to form a joint venture with EADS, with whom we have chosen four segments: avionics, electronic warfare, mobile systems and radars. Mobile systems mean transportable bridge systems or command centres for military application. Once, the government clears this proposal, we intend going in a big way for both the domestic and global markets with state-of-the art technologies including setting up a centre of excellence for new product and technology development. So, when you ask about our priorities for the Indian defence services, we are confident of making significant contributions by building ships, submarines, guns and specialised vehicles apart from the several other areas described above.

Was the JV proposal with EADS made before the revised DPP 2009 guidelines recently announced by the defence minister?

The proposal to form a JV with EADS has been made before announcement of revised DPP 2009. It complies with the announced policy of the government with regard to FDI and with the recent press notes on the subject and enables us to offer equipment and systems in the areas mentioned above not only to serve domestic requirements but also for the global market. The DPP in its latest version deals with the ‘Buy and Make-Indian’ category where a DPSU or a private company can be a lead bidder and have a tie-up with a foreign company for transfer of technology. The DPP works on a case to case basis, whereas our proposal in the JV is for a long-term partnership. As far as we are concerned, a JV is a long term initiative with commitment to co-develop and co-produce, and is not to be restricted in its scope just for a specific product or for a single country. Both partner companies in a JV should have something to gain in global business. As for us, through this JV we will be part of the EADS global supply chain.

Will you be manufacturing things for EADS under this JV?

There will be two modes for functioning of the proposed JV: In the first part, production will be based on certain technologies which EADS will bring in whereas L&T will add some technologies developed in-house. In the other part, the two companies will develop certain next generation technologies together.



I Will post the full interview later on in the week.
 

bengalraider

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‘Infrastructure at PSL Has Been Designed for Steel Fabrication of Approx 1,44,000 Tons
PerAnnum’
Executive director Pipavav Shipyard Ltd,
Rear Admiral R.M. Bhatia
http://www.forceindia.net/coverstory9.aspx




What kind of infrastructure and capacity exists at the PSL? What are the expansion plans till 2020?

Pipavav Shipyard Ltd is being developed as a modern shipyard of international standards at Pipavav in Gujarat. The aim is to create an excellent infrastructure to meet the global shipbuilding standards for commercial ships as well as for the Naval ships & submarines.

Infrastructure at PSL has been designed for steel fabrication of approx. 1,44,000 tons per annum. To achieve such high volumes of production, the yard has been equipped with state of the art CNC machines for cutting, welding, bending and other shipbuilding related activities. The shipyard has the largest dry dock (662m long and 65m wide) in India. Dry dock is serviced by two large Goliath cranes, 600 tons each. The cranes have span of 148m which is one of the largest spans for the Goliath cranes in the world. The Yard is spread over an area of 782 acres consisting of 210 acres of fully developed waterfront area, 250 acres of Block Making Site and 322 acres of land earmarked for future expansion. Total covered area for fabrication activities is 169,090 Sqm.

In addition to the above, the yard has dedicated environment controlled Blast and paint cells, modern outfit bays and a dedicated Corridor for shifting of pre-outfitted blocks upto 350 tons each.
 

bengalraider

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INDIA: A GLOBAL HUB FOR WARSHIP BUILDING

The Project 17 frigate, INS Sahyadri, being fitted out at the Mazagon Dock, Mumbai





by Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 15th Dec 09



Strategic circles are abuzz with rumours that the United Kingdom will soon offer India one of the new-generation aircraft carriers that it is constructing, since they are turning out too expensive for the Royal Navy to afford. Interestingly, India will almost certainly turn down the offer.


The Royal Navy had planned to build two Carrier Vessels Future (CVFs): the 65,000 tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales. With the budgeted price of US $6.4 billion (Rs 30,000 crores) for the pair now apparently the cost of each, building a third and selling it abroad is an option being considered to reduce the unit price. But, in contrast to this exorbitant price, the cost of India’s 44,000 tonne Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC), under construction at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), is barely a third of the Queen Elizabeth. And the Indian Navy’s next IAC, a 60,000 tonne behemoth like the Queen Elizabeth, will cost less than half its British counterpart.

In the gloomy framework of Indian defence production, warship building has emerged as a silver lining. The Kolkata class destroyers, being built at Mazagon Dock Ltd, Mumbai, will cost the navy Rs 3800 crores each, one-third the global price for comparative warships. The INS Shivalik, now completing sea trials, is a world-class frigate built at Indian prices. Earlier this year, addressing an industries body, the Indian Navy’s chief designer, Rear Admiral MK Badhwar, called for making India a global hub for building warships.


While his appeal might have been tinged with strategic motivation --- a larger warship industry would bring down unit prices, providing the navy with even more bang for the buck --- there is little doubt that shipbuilders would profit more from crafting warships than from slapping together merchant vessels. India has developed the capabilities, including, crucially, the design expertise, to produce world-class warships. But the defence shipyards do not have the capacity to meet even the Indian Navy’s needs; playing the international warship market needs clear-sighted government intervention to synergise the working of public and private shipbuilders.

Building a merchant ship is a relatively cheap and simple process, from design to outfitting. Essentially it involves welding together a hull (often from imported steel) and then installing imported systems such as engines, radars, the steering, navigation and communications systems, and some specialist systems, e.g. for cargo handling. Imported components form the bulk of the cost, with little value addition within the shipyard. A commercial shipyard’s business plan revolves around bulk manufacture, compensating for the small profit margins by churning out as many ships as possible.


Creating a warship is infinitely more complex, and expensive. The design process is critical, with complex software shaping the “stealthiest” possible ship, virtually undetectable to an enemy. Next, a host of sensors and weapons must be accommodated to deal with different threats: enemy ships, submarines, aircraft and incoming missiles. Harmonising their different frequencies, and canalising information and weapons control into a single command centre, involves weaving an elaborate electronic tapestry.


Actually building the warship is a labour-intensive task, which involves painstakingly duplicating key systems so that the vessel can sail and fight even with one side blown out by the enemy. More than 400 kilometres of wiring must be laid out inside, all of it marked and accessible to permit repair and maintenance. A modern frigate has 25 kilometres of pipelines, built from 10,000 separate pieces of piping.


All this generates many jobs. An army of skilled craftsmen, many more than in merchant shipbuilding, does most of this work manually, through an elaborate eco-system of 100-200 private firms feeding into each warship. And these numbers are growing as defence shipyards increasingly outsource, using their own employees only for core activities like hull fabrication; fitting propulsion equipment; and installing weapons systems and sensors.


In this manpower-intensive field, India enjoys obvious advantages over the European warship builders that rule the market. These advantages are far less pronounced in merchant shipbuilding, where Korean and Chinese shipyards are turbocharged by a combination of inexpensive labour, indirect subsidies, and unflinching government support.


What makes India a potential powerhouse in warship building is not so much its labour-cost advantage as a strong design capability that the navy has carefully nurtured since 1954, when the Directorate General of Naval Design first took shape. The importance of design capability has been amply illustrated in the bloated CVF programme. The UK, having wound up its naval design bureau, has already paid over a billion dollars to private companies to design the aircraft carrier. And with every minor redesign, not unusual while building a new warship, the design bill and the programme cost goes higher.


India has everything it takes to be a warship building superpower: the springboard of design expertise; cheap and skilled labour; and mounting experience in building successful warships. What it lacks is capacity, which the government can augment with the help of private shipyards. This will significantly augment private shipyard revenue, boost defence exports, and provide the government with another strategic tool for furthering its interests in the Indian Ocean region.


Broadsword
The GOI needs to energise the warship building sector in india , many indian yards already have MOU'S with global shipbuilders like THALES (Mazagon docks ) and Fincianteri(CSL) , we need to encourage foreign investment into shipbuilding in india, if the GOI offers the same type of incentives as the Koreans, we could see Hyundia and Daewoo bringing their business and expertise here. if we level the playing field by offering subsidies we have a lot to gain.
The IN has always pioneered indigenous systems, now this investment can be used to get a lot of money(as the article says the design of the QE class cost more than a billion dollars). We can start with offering design services to IOR allies like mauritius and sri lanka and build up our reputation from there.
 

Energon

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Given the massive backup with its own ship deliveries (merchant and military) I doubt India is going to be the "global hub" of ship building anytime soon. At least based on my discussions with multiple marine engineers who either work or have worked at MDL the supposed capacity being fed to the media is overly exaggerated. None of India's ship building facilities actually operate at their true potential and collectively they are unable to suffice the local needs (which is pretty much the case with any state dominated sector).

There are of course efforts to change this. Massive investments are being made into buying technology and even the sector is being liberalized (up to a certain extent); the overall pace of India's ship building capacity is nonetheless still pretty slow. This is an industry that takes decades to develop, and India despite having all the precursors hasn't managed to get its act together (again, the standard Indian tale).
 

bengalraider

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Sea power has its significance
India needs self-sufficiency in ship building
by Abhijit Bhattacharyya

ONE does not have to be an Admiral Gorshkov (the longest serving Soviet naval chief) or Alfred Thayer Mahan (the guru of the maritime doctrine) or a Sir Julian Corbett, the Royal Navy Admiral, to state the obvious. That a navy is not built in a day and no nation can aspire to be a naval power by being at the eternal mercy of foreign suppliers and manufacturers, which can arm twist the ship users’ lack of knowledge and technology at will by taking advantage of its expertise and experience in ship building thereby resulting in the importer’s weakness and helplessness. In fact, naval history of the world is replete with instances of nations which prospered and developed during last 500 years inevitably had the advantage to traverse the entire two-thirds of the global lake in ships built in their own shipyards.

Traditionally, there have never been very many fighting ship-builders either in the 20th or the 21st century. Thus, during World War II Japan was virtually the sole Asian naval power by virtue of its ship building capacity and capability, restrictions imposed by the Washington naval disarmament conference of 1922 notwithstanding. In the west of Suez, Anglo-American supremacy was over, and superiority to the perceived “land-powers” like Germany and its European allies could never match the marine powers’ strength, stamina, endurance and industrial productivity. Hence the war ended in victory for the superior, combined naval strength of the West and defeat for the sole maritime Japanese foe.

Post-World War II, however, the rise of the Soviet Navy was the sole non-Western, non-capitalist state to pose a threat to the virtual monopoly of the Anglo-Saxon naval axis. And it happened, thanks to the Soviet Deputy Minister of Defence-cum-Commander-in-Chief of the Soviet Navy, Admiral Sergei Georgiyevich Gorshkov, who initiated an unprecedented construction plan and timely execution of all ships required by the state. The Soviets challenged the West in the sea because the Soviets made the ships in their own shipyard. Hence they did not have to bank on the charity and worry about the whims of foreigners resulting in time and cost overrun.

In the post-Soviet era, it is the turn of China to pick up the thread which already has built a formidable navy with an apparent single-point agenda of an indigenous ship construction programme. True, the Chinese Navy still has a few ex-Soviet/Russian inventories in its fleet, but the variety and range of Beijing’s vessels today is simply awesome. And there lies the strength of its fleet. Thus China today, according to Jane’s Fighting Ships, 2009-2010, has a total of 54 submarines (of various class), 27 destroyers, 49 frigates and 275 fast attack and patrol craft. Of these, only 16 ships are of non-Chinese (i.e. Russian) make; 12 kilo class submarines and 4 Sovremeny destroyers.

Little wonder, the Chinese feel much more free and confident to flex their muscles and show their ships in out-of-area operations. Jane’s refers to Chinese enterprise thus, “Future historians may come to regard 2009 as the year that the Chinese Navy finally came of age.”

In the midst of the Soviet challenge to the West till the 1990s and the Chinese Navy’s “coming of age in 2009”, where does the Indian fleet stand today? How strong and self-sufficient is the navy of New Delhi? To this writer, the scenario appears to be a mixed bag of success and shortfall. The positive sides of India’s defence is the technical competency and mastery over the English language, expertise in aircraft carrier operations and combat capability in both surface and sub-surface warfare.

However, the not-so-positive factor lies in Indian inability (should one say traditional inertia!) to be self-sufficient in ship building expertise for long. The deficiency on this front is so conspicuous that one still finds all 16 submarines of the Indian Navy to be of foreign make (10 Russian ‘Kilo’,‘2Foxtrot’ and 4 German HDW class). Its sole aircraft carrier Viraat (ex-Hermes) is of British origin, 5 Rajput (Kashin class) destroyers are made in Nikolayev North shipyard (Russia), the 3 Talwar class frigates also are of Moscow origin (with three more likely to follow suit). At least five out of 12 Veer (Tarantul class) corvettes are of Russian make and so are the 4 Abhay class anti-submarine warfare patrol boats.

On the positive side, however, the Indians have made tremendous improvement in ship design, construction time reduction and planned delivery thereof. The pride of Indian ship building has been reflected in the Delhi and Kolkata class destroyers, Shivalik, Brahmaputra and Nilgiri class frigates; Kora, Khukri, Veer, Abhay and project 28 corvettes and the top of the line project of indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant which has been going on at Kochi shipyard.

Despite the mixed bag of success and shortcoming, a horrible mess appears to have been created by the failure of the Russians to stick to the delivery time schedule of the proposed refurbished and refitted Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier to India. This inordinate delay only results in an avoidable spiralling cost, which in turn affects a balanced fleet development. Indeed, one suspects that perhaps the Russians are no longer capable of producing the same quality vessels for which they made a name for themselves during the Soviet era. The period after the demise of the Soviet Union could have resulted in an acute shortage of naval technical experts thereby creating an all-round vacuum in ship-building capability of Russian shipyards.

Else, how does one justify the report that “the French government has given the go-ahead to the possible sale of a helicopter-and-troop carrying ship to Russia”? Is Russia now incapable of building even its own 15000-18000 tonne helicopter-and-troop-carrying carrier? If so, then how would the Russians be able to re-manufacture a sophisticated 45000 tonne aircraft carrier for India? Indeed, the scenario appears rather intriguing. Gorshkov has been badly delayed already. Diplomatic talks have been upgraded from the Joint Secretary to the head of government level. In between, the Captains, Admirals and Defence Ministers are failing to achieve any breakthrough. And yet the “price rise” haggling is going on.

Amidst all this, the Russians are reportedly negotiating with French civil shipbuilders STX and combat ship company DCNS for potential purchase of a Mistral class warship. Although referred to as the amphibious assault ship by Jane’s Fighting Ships 2009-2010, this 21600 tonne vessel has a range of 11000 nautical miles at 15 knots an hour and is capable of up to 16 attack helicopters in its deck thereby giving it enough teeth for offensive operations. If indeed Russia manages to clinch the deal for this ship (two of which are in the French fleet), then its navy would be able to play a role of “forward pressure, force projection, logistic support for the deployed force (ashore or at sea) . . . and command ship for combined operations.”

All indications suggest that the Russian Navy is keen on an early acquisition for a force multiplier mission in the ocean. As an Indian, one certainly cannot possibly have any grudge if a long-standing friend like Moscow acquires a floating airstrip from Europe. But why does Moscow not look into the need of its friendly South Asian navy with the same sense of urgency and sensitivity? Is the “price rise” really that grave as to delay the delivery of India’s maritime defence? One wonders!n

The writer is an alumnus of the National Defence College of India and a Member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London.

The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Opinions
The author makes a good point about the decline of Russian shipbuilding , however i feel that has happened because of the lack of capital for the industry in the 90's and the industry may recover soon(if the Russian government prods it along). one more factor has been the migration of submarine and ship designers and engineers to foreign nations lured by the prospects of better pay and benefits(reportedly some are even in India helping us with the ATV and ADS projects).
 

bengalraider

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On national security interests, Govt moves Hindustan Shipyard to Defence ministry
PTI 24 December 2009, 02:29pm IST

NEW DELHI: The government transferred state-owned Hindustan Shipyard Ltd from the Shipping to the Defence Ministry to meet the country's security needs.

Sources said the move is aimed at creating capabilities for the Navy to indigenously construct nuclear submarines.

The Cabinet also approved the setting up of a new shipyard of international standard.

"The government has approved transfer of Hindustan Shipyard Ltd (HSL), Visakhapatnam, to Ministry of Defence for meeting the national security requirements of building strategic vessels for Indian Navy," Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said.

Briefing the media about the decisions, she said "For meeting the merchant shipping requirements of ship-building and ship repair, government has given 'in principle' approval to Ministry of Shipping for setting up of a new shipyard of international standard."

The location of the new shipyard is yet to be finalised. The Shipping Ministry had sent a note to the Cabinet for the transfer of HSL after valuing the company at a little over Rs 1,000 crore and finalising the transfer modalities.

HSL has built around 150 ships and repaired over 1,800 so far and undertaken repair works for the Navy. Sources said it will be critical to the Navy's plan to induct a fleet of nuclear submarines in the coming years.

"The shipyard has work orders worth Rs 2,000 crore now, which are likely to be completed by March 2011," a top HSL official said.

On national security interests, Govt moves Hindustan Shipyard to Defence ministry - India - The Times of India
 

A chauhan

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Navy to launch latest stealth destroyer INS Kochi news
17 September 2009



INS Kochi, the second of the three Project 15-A Kolkota class stealth destroyers will be launched on 18 September 2009. The 6800 ton ship, designed by the Directorate of Naval Design, is being built in Mumbai at the Mazagon Docks.

Of indigenous design, the Kolkota class are a follow-on, stealth version of the existing Project 15 Delhi class destroyers – INS Delhi, INS Mysore and INS Mumbai. The Kolkata class guided missile destroyer will be the latest stealth destroyer with land attack capability being built for the Indian Navy.

The first vessel, INS Kolkota is expected to join the fleet in 2010, followed by INS Kochi in 2011 and the third, as yet unnamed, in May 2012.

Four more vessels are planned under Project 15-B, with updated stealth features.The keel of INS Kochi was laid on 25 October 2005.

Of indigenous design, 90 per cent of a Project 15-A ship is constructed through the use of local material and equipment. At per unit cost of Rs3,800 crore, the three Project 15-A Kolkata-class destroyers will cost the navy approximately Rs11,000 crore ($950 million), including the cost of long-term spare parts.

domain-b.com : Navy to launch latest stealth destroyer INS Kochi
 

Known_Unknown

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I am skeptical of the need to build a huge surface fleet. A large submarine fleet instead will give us larger reach, striking capability and better odds against enemy warships. Our current submarine 'fleet' is in decrepit condition-one wonders how long the IN can hold out against a submarine assault by the PLAN.
 

bengalraider

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I am skeptical of the need to build a huge surface fleet. A large submarine fleet instead will give us larger reach, striking capability and better odds against enemy warships. Our current submarine 'fleet' is in decrepit condition-one wonders how long the IN can hold out against a submarine assault by the PLAN.
The Russian NAVY & PLAN both rely on submarines to project power more than surface ships simply because of the naval policy of "sea denial" they follow. neither of these two navies ever had the fianacial muscle to engage in "Supercarrier diplomacy"(a modern form of gunboat diplomacy).A Sea denial strategy is usually followed by a navy that relies more on the psychological fear thata hidden submarine threat implies rather than the visible presence of a large no of surface warships, however a submarine fleet is pretty much useless in the time of peace having no visible impact on sealane security. the IN instead follows the British and American pattern of sea control wherein we use carriers and surface ships to foster naval diplomacy and protect sea lanes, though i agree we need to spped up submarine construction i feel we should still remain a top heavy force that follows the sea control strategem .As for china , China has 66 submarines as of sinodefence.com out of these 8 are nuclear out of which only 4 are of the relatively modern jin and shang class out of the 58 boats of the chinese SSK fleet 26 boats are obsolete craft of the ming and romeo class also out of the 16 boats of the newer song class at leat 50% are older hullsm that are on their way to retirement, however we are still far behind and the next line of submarines does need to be opened urgently.
 

Known_Unknown

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The Russian NAVY & PLAN both rely on submarines to project power more than surface ships simply because of the naval policy of "sea denial" they follow. neither of these two navies ever had the fianacial muscle to engage in "Supercarrier diplomacy"(a modern form of gunboat diplomacy)
And we do? We're financially weaker than both of them. Building a large surface fleet may be good for show, and for international diplomacy, but a large submarine fleet, IMO, would be more potent in time of war. The German U-boats during WWII were famous for sinking record numbers of Allied battleships, while being hard to kill themselves.

The British love of battleships is may have something to do with the fact that the British have used them to rule the seas for 5 centuries-before the advent of submarines, that is. The US followed in the footsteps of Britain, and they have the same mindset towards naval warfare. But both of them can afford to spend billions on building and maintaining a huge surface fleet, as well as significant ASW capabilities.

As for china , China has 66 submarines as of sinodefence.com out of these 8 are nuclear out of which only 4 are of the relatively modern jin and shang class out of the 58 boats of the chinese SSK fleet 26 boats are obsolete craft of the ming and romeo class also out of the 16 boats of the newer song class at leat 50% are older hullsm that are on their way to retirement, however we are still far behind and the next line of submarines does need to be opened urgently.
In times of war, a relatively small number (7-8) of advanced PLAN submarines could loiter in the Bay of Bengal, putting the entire surface fleet of the IN under threat. IMO, if the IN is unable to locate and destroy PLAN submarines, the entire fleet will possibly remain at the docks, as happened with the Argentine Navy during the Falklands war.

I don't think the IN ASW capabilities are world class......though against Pakistani subs, we might be more than able to hold our own, but against a larger foe.......
 

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I don't think the IN ASW capabilities are world class......though against Pakistani subs, we might be more than able to hold our own, but against a larger foe.......
India is investing heavily in ASW capabilities by building new corvettes and frigates and buying the P8I poseidon.
 

badguy2000

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no offence.

it will cost india one decade at least and billions of dollars even to work out one key component of shipbuilding, supersized watercraft crakshafts,let alone other key components.

India would have to study hundreds of such key techs ,before India really were to become a "hub of global shipbuilding"

so, pls don't underestimate the difficulty when you draw optimistic conclusion so easily..
 

wild goose

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Mates,

I have read some where that the German shipbuiding giant HDW (Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft AG) is selling its shares because of financial crunch. Will it be a good move if the GoI purchase those.


http://turkishnavy.blogspot.com/2009/12/thyssenkrupp-is-selling-hdw-as-well.html


In case of second line submarines of Indian Navy, we can start building the boats from there till our new shipyard is ready. And also if we can send some of our engineers and technicians to work in a state of the art shipbuilding yard like HDW, we can also avoid the delays caused by problems in absorbing new technology (like the case of scorpene) for the future.

And their Type 214 / 212 submarines are superb machines. And experience in handling high end machinaries in the field of shipbuilding will definitely help in making India a global hub if we are serious about it.

regards,
 

Armand2REP

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no offence.

it will cost india one decade at least and billions of dollars even to work out one key component of shipbuilding, supersized watercraft crakshafts,let alone other key components.

India would have to study hundreds of such key techs ,before India really were to become a "hub of global shipbuilding"

so, pls don't underestimate the difficulty when you draw optimistic conclusion so easily..
I believe the article said "global hub of warship building" which is quite a bit harder than being a civilan hub. The economic climate isn't going to be very good for civilian shipbuilding in the next few years so better to focus on more profitable warships which orders are on the rise.
 

Armand2REP

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Seoul Frets Over Shipyards
Early Plans to Address Plunging Orders Unlikely to Avoid Job Losses and Other Distress

By EVAN RAMSTAD

SEOUL—Policy makers on Monday proposed steps to address a plunge in ship orders this year in South Korea, home to seven of the world's 10 largest shipbuilders.

But there is little chance the industry here will avoid steep job losses and financial difficulties in coming years.

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Bloomberg News

An employee worked on a new ship in April at the Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea.
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SHIPS

Even after the global downturn began last year, global shipbuilders continued at full throttle, banging out and welding hundreds of vessels ordered from 2005 to 2007, the biggest years for ship orders ever.

But ship orders through last month were well off last year's pace, meaning that activity in shipyards will start declining next year and slide sharply in 2011 and 2012.

This delayed effect will hit shipbuilding particularly hard in South Korea, where the industry is responsible for about 10% of the country's exports by value.

Shipbuilders have responded in part by building offshore platforms for energy

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companies.

And on Monday, South Korea's commerce ministry presented President Lee Myung-bak with a blueprint for dealing with the potential crisis. The early-stage plan includes restructuring the most troubled small and midsize companies and providing subsidies to encourage shipbuilders to enter new businesses, such as building offshore power-generating wind farms.

It could be months before the government moves forward on any proposals, however.

And industry executives and consultants say only a stunningly large rebound in orders next year can prevent a steep drop in activity at shipyards in the years that follow.

Such a rebound is unlikely because shipping companies are suffering from a 12% drop in global trade from last year. Some have been forced to transport goods below cost. They have also parked ships in ports world-wide.

Analysts say it will take years for shipping companies to absorb the orders for new vessels that were made a few years ago and are being completed at shipyards.

"All through this year, shipowners have been struggling because of the economic situation and shortage of trade," says Ki Won-kang, senior executive vice president of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., in Geoje, South Korea.

"As a consequence, the shipbuilding industry is suffering. I don't know when this market will pick up."

Through November this year, world-wide orders for new ships amounted to 6.5 million compensated gross tonnage, a measure of vessel size, according to Clarksons PLC, a London-based shipping brokerage and consulting firm. That is sharply below the 46.9 million CGT in vessels ordered for all of last year and 89.7 million CGT in vessels ordered in 2007, the biggest year for ship orders in history.

Amid the plunge, China's shipbuilders surged ahead of South Korea's in new orders, though figures from both countries are far below last year's levels. In the past few weeks, Korean shipbuilders announced a handful of big deals and its manufacturers may yet finish the year with the lead.

Daewoo Shipbuilding, the world's third-largest shipbuilder by revenue and tonnage, after Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. and Samsung Heavy Industries Co., on Friday said it had received an order valued at $1.1 billion to build two oil-drilling ships in 2012. Earlier this month, Samsung announced an order to build a $1.1 billion cruise ship designed to be a floating luxury residence. It was Samsung's first ship order of the year. A year ago, Samsung and Daewoo Shipbuilding executives said they would aim for $10 billion in orders this year.

But shipbuilders are scoring far more deals to build offshore oil and gas platforms than contracts for vessels. The platform business typically had provided only about 20% of revenue for shipbuilding companies but could grow to 40%–50% in coming years, analysts say.

"The big scramble right now is for these offshore projects," says Peter Bartholomew, a broker and long-time industry consultant in Seoul who is working on deals for five platforms.

Some investors and shipbuilders also are looking at building offshore platforms that hold windmills that would generate electricity, a potential new business. Several shipbuilders in recent months announced small projects to build wind turbines on land.

Even so, big job losses are nearly certain over the next few years in shipyards world-wide. Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Co., a South Korean company that employs 2,500 people at big shipyards in South Korea and the Philippines, this month announced it was starting an early-retirement program.

Larger companies that rely heavily on subcontractors for a portion of their work force are likely to whittle down those contracts next year. "Slowly we will reduce our dependence on outside contractors," says Daewoo Shipbuilding's Mr. Ki. "That's the only thing we can do for the time being."
—Jaeyeon Woo contributed to this article.

Write to Evan Ramstad at [email protected]
 

shameem007

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I am skeptical of the need to build a huge surface fleet. A large submarine fleet instead will give us larger reach, striking capability and better odds against enemy warships. Our current submarine 'fleet' is in decrepit condition-one wonders how long the IN can hold out against a submarine assault by the PLAN.
 

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