Steel cut for navy’s first fleet support ship in indigenisation boost | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Steel cut for navy’s first fleet support ship in indigenisation boost

ByRahul Singh
Apr 10, 2024 07:10 PM IST

Hindustan Shipyard is expected to deliver the first vessel to the navy in mid-2027, with the rest to follow at the rate of one every 10 months thereafter

NEW DELHI: A ‘steel cutting’ ceremony at Hindustan Shipyard Ltd (HSL) in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday marked the beginning of production of the first of the five fleet support ships ordered for the Indian Navy last year to boost its capabilities to replenish warships at sea and extend their range and endurance for longer missions.

Defence secretary Giridhar Aramane presided over the first ‘steel cutting’ ceremony and also laid the foundation stone for augmentation of slipways (X/SpokespersonMoD)
Defence secretary Giridhar Aramane presided over the first ‘steel cutting’ ceremony and also laid the foundation stone for augmentation of slipways (X/SpokespersonMoD)

The defence ministry signed a 19,000-crore contract with HSL last August for the five fleet support ships (FSS).

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“The FSS, with a displacement of 44,000 tonnes, will play a crucial role in replenishing the fleet at sea with fuel, water, ammunition, and stores, thereby extending the operational capabilities of the navy and enhancing its strategic reach,” the defence ministry said in a statement.

Defence secretary Giridhar Aramane presided over the first ‘steel cutting’ ceremony. He also laid the foundation stone for augmentation of slipways and took stock of infrastructure modernisation being undertaken to enhance the yard’s capacity.

“The ongoing infrastructure upgrades, including the installation of a 300-tonne crane and slipway upgrades, will further enhance HSL’s capacity to undertake projects..., reinforcing its role in meeting the defence and commercial sector requirements under the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative,” the statement added.

HSL is expected to deliver the first vessel to the navy in mid-2027, with the rest to follow at the rate of one every 10 months thereafter. The vessels will have a length of 225 metres and width of 32 metres.

The navy, which currently operates four such vessels commissioned between 1996 and 2011, was scouting for more such ships for several years to cater to its growing replenishment needs amid the expansion of its fleet and increased roles and responsibilities in the Indian Ocean region.

The project will generate employment of nearly 168.8 lakh man-days over eight years.

The development comes at a time when the navy is working on becoming fully self-reliant by 2047 when India celebrates 100 years of independence.

India has taken a raft of measures during the last five to six years to boost self-reliance in the defence manufacturing sector. Apart from a series of phased import bans, these steps include creating a separate budget for buying locally made military hardware, increasing foreign direct investment (FDI) from 49% to 74% and improving ease of doing business.

Last May, India announced that the value of defence production in the country crossed 1 lakh crore for the first time on the back of key reforms to spur growth in the sector. The figure stood at 1,06,800 crore in FY 2022-23 compared to 95,000 crore in FY 2021-22 and 54,951 crore five years ago.

India is eyeing a turnover of 1,75,000 lakh crore in defence manufacturing by 2024-25.

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