Larsen & Toubro has introduced the lead Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV), which is in a series of seven OPVs for the Indian Coast Guard entirely designed in-house, from concept. It is the first OPV class vessel for the Indian Coast Guard that has been built by a private sector yard in a record time frame.

The OPV was launched by Smt Jyoti Murthy and was named Vikram in the presence of Additional Director General of Coast Guard, VSR Murthy, PTM, TM. Mr J D Patil, Whole Time Director (Defence Business) and Member of Larsen & Toubro Board, Vice Admiral B. Kannan (Retd), MD & CEO L&T Shipbuilding, and other dignitaries also graced the occasion.

L&T was entrusted by the Ministry of Defence in Mar 2015 to design and build seven OPVs for an order value of Rs. 1432 Crores. The order stipulated delivery of the first OPV within 36 months from signing of the contract, i.e., by March 2018 and subsequent vessels at intervals of 6 months. However, with the construction of multiple OPVs progressing on or ahead of schedule, all are planned to be delivered ahead of the contracted delivery dates.

These OPVs are long-range surface ships, capable of operation in the maritime zones of India, including island territories with helicopter operation capabilities. Their roles include coastal and offshore patrolling, policing maritime zones of India, control & surveillance, anti-smuggling & anti-piracy with limited wartime roles.

The vessel is 97m-long, 15m-wide, has 3.6m draught, 2140t displacement with a range of 5000 NM, and is built to attain sustained speeds of up to 26 knots.

The entire design and construction processes have undergone dual certification from the American Bureau of Shipping and Indian Registrar of Shipping, while the project is being overseen by the Indian Coast Guard’s resident team at Kattupalli shipyard.

Having been built with modern methods and the build strategy of construction on land and launch through ship lift, on launch the OPV would be put through a series of Harbour and Sea Acceptance Trials before delivery to the Indian Coast Guard. Once commissioned, it would significantly enhance the coastal patrolling capabilities of the Indian Coast Guard.

Commenting on the launch, Mr S N Subrahmanyan, CEO & Managing Director, Larsen & Toubro, said: “This launch is a reaffirmation of our credentials in the ship-building space as this is our third major mandate form the Indian Coast Guard under relationship that began with a contract for 36 Interceptor Boats followed by a repeat contract for 18 more Interceptor Boats. It is also heartening to note that our team has overcome all challenges to remain ahead of contractual schedules for all the mandates. A total of 34 of those Interceptors Boats has already been delivered well ahead of contractual delivery schedule, and the remaining boats have been constructed and ready for delivery. The timely launch of the first OPV following that of the Floating Dock (FDN-2) for Indian Navy in June 2017, reaffirms our ability to execute and deliver multiple complex projects on time. With a favourable policy environment and government’s thrust on ‘Make in India’, we expect our contribution in indigenous Defence manufacturing to grow manifold in the coming years,” Mr Subrahmanyan added.

Mr Jayant Patil said: “With L&T’s ethos of Nation building we have been a part of National initiatives across strategic sectors and core sectors of the economy and we stay committed to strengthening the nation’s armed forces. This is reflected in the heavy investments made by us in building state-of-the-art facilities for defence manufacturing. The launch of the lead OPV designed and built in-house is a big leap towards the country’s self-reliance in Defence. With a long-term commitment to the defence sector, L&T has been a part of Navy’s Indigenisation initiatives over the past three decades and has developed weapon systems, fire control systems, propulsion equipment and systems, engineering equipment and systems, sensors, controls and platform management systems to maximize indigenous content of our war-going vessels.”

“L&T’s time-tested association with the Indian armed forces has built a track record of developing and delivering multitudes of critical equipment, systems and platforms completely through in-house R&D across domains as also complement National R&D and Science & Technology laboratories.

Today, L&T has the unique distinction of addressing the complete value chain for wargoing vessels from basic design, workshop design model testing, to construction and lifecycle support,” Mr Patil added.