The Indian Navy is scouting for seven “next generation” heavily armed Corvettes that will come as a boost to the domestic industry since it will be a ‘Make in India’ project running into several thousand crore of rupees. Private shipyards like the Reliance Defence and Engineering Limited (RDEL) are likely to respond to the navy’s Request for Information (RFI) along with state-run shipyards. “We will be pitching for it strongly. We have made different types of warships in our shipyard and we are the only ones to have delivered earlier than schedule,” Chairman and Managing Director of Goa Shipyard, Rear Admiral Shekhar Mittal (Retd) told PTI.
The corvettes will be capable of carrying out surface-to-surface missile attacks, anti-submarine warfare operations, and the navy wants the ships to be delivered from 2023. While the exact value of the project is yet to be determined since it all depends on the kind of weapon platform that will be on board, sources said it is safe to assume that each corvette would cost about Rs 1,500 to Rs 1,800 crore. The criteria for the new vessels are largely similar to the Khukri-class boats they will replace — 4,000 nautical mile range, maximum and sustained top speeds of 25-27 knots.
The 120-meter-long single hull corvettes, or small warships, will have low radar, acoustic, magnetic, visual and infra-red signatures. The ships should able to carry a minimum of 8 surface-to-surface missiles and engage sea-skimming missiles, flying 3-5 metres above sea level, upto maximum speed of Mach 3 (three times the speed of sound). Active towed array sonar, two light-weight torpedo launchers should be on board fitted to the corvettes, a navy document says.
There are at present at least 45 ships and submarines under construction in India. India has already built four anti-submarine warfare corvettes under Project-28, the first of which was handed over to the navy in 2014. This was built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd.