FRIDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2014
This 'Made in India' warship is ready for
On Saturday, defence
shipbuilder Garden Reach Shipyard & Engineers will hand over to Mauritius a 1,300 - tonne offshore patrol vessel named "Barracuda".
million (Rs 365
crore) vessel is the first
warship ordered by a foreign
country from an Indian shipyard.
Meanwhile, GRSE is bidding to build two frigates for the Philippines Navy, for an
estimated Rs 1,000 crore each. If GRSE wins that order
for which major global
pyards are bidding, including Navantia of Spain, STX of France and Korean majors,
Hyundai and Daewoo
it would be the first time a warship designed and built in India
is selected in an international tender.
India has gifted several warships to smaller I
ndian Ocean countries such as Maldives,
Seychelles and Mauritius. It has sold used vessels, such as a Sukanya
class OPV that
now serves as the Sri Lankan navy's flagship.
The GRSE is also finalising the design of a series of 140
tonne Fast Patrol Boats fo
Vietnam Navy. New Delhi has offered a line of credit to Vietnam for that order.
Yet this is the first time an Indian shipyard has been commissioned to design and build
a warship to specifications formulated by a buyer country. This marks an importan
landmark in the Bharatiya Janata Party
led government's drive to increase defence
According to figures tabled in Parliament on November 28, India's total defence exports were Rs 446.75 crore in 2012
13; Rs 686.27 crore in 2013
14 and Rs 1
66.67 crore this
year, till September 2014. The export of the Barracuda would, therefore, be a significant
The need to support defence exports has been understood for some time, with the
United Progressive Alliance government formulating a "Defen
ce Exports Strategy" and
simplifying the procedure for granting export sanctions.
The BJP's election manifesto in 2014 pledged: "We will encourage domestic industry to
have a larger share in design and production of military hardware and platforms for
h domestic use and exports, in a competitive environment."
Senior naval officers have long argued for exporting warships to friendly countries in the
Pacific region. This, they said, would strengthen India's security partnerships,
while providing eco
nomy of scale to India's warship builders and ancillary companies.
Amongst all three services, the navy has most decisively promoted indigenous warship
design and construction. All 41 warships currently on order for the navy are being built
in Indian ship
"Building in India provides significant cost advantages like cheaper labour, when
compared with most foreign shipyards", points out GRSE chief, Rear Admiral A K
As an example of successful indigenisation, Verma points to the Kamor
submarine corvettes that GRSE is building. He says: "The challenge is not just to build
warships in India, but to also increase the indigenous content of each vessel. In the
class, we have brought the overall indigenous content to abo
ut 90 per cent."
Several navy chiefs have lamented the relative failure to indigenise engines, weapons
and sensors. Earlier this month, the navy chief, Admiral R K Dhowan estimated the float
component of our warships (i.e. the hull) was more than 95 per c
ent indigenous; the
move component (engine and transmission) was sometimes just 60 per cent; while the
tech fight component (weapons and sensors) was barely 35
40 per cent
Even so, the Mauritius coast guard is said to be pleased with the
performance of the
Barracuda, which has completed a month of sea trials. The GRSE chief says the vessel
delivered a top speed of 22.5 knots (42 kilometres an hour), against the customer's
requirement of 20 knots (37 kilometres an hour).
The Barracuda has
been designed for the usual OPV tasks
poaching and search and rescue
as well as additional tasks specified by
Mauritius. The additional capabilities include: pollution response; external fire fighting;
and the moveme
nt by sea of troops.
The Barracuda will be handed over by Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh
to the Mauritius government at Kolkata on Saturday.