The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a contract to Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL), Visakhapatnam to deliver five Fleet Support Ships (FSS).

Under the contract, which has an overall value of about INR190bn ($2.30bn), HSL will indigenously design and construct the 44,000t FSS for the Indian Navy.

The fleet support ships will be the first-of-its kind to be built by an Indian Shipyard in the country.

The MoD said the contract will contribute to the country’s efforts to achieve the goal of self-reliance in defence manufacturing. The project will support ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Make in India’ initiatives.

In a press statement, the ministry said: “This project will generate employment of nearly 16.88 million mandays over a period of eight years. The construction of these ships will provide a new dimension to the Indian shipbuilding Industry and encourage active participation of associated industries, including MSMEs.”

The MoD said that these five FSS will support the Indian Naval Fleet to conduct missions for a longer time by providing with fuel, water, ammunition, stores and other replenishment at sea. This will enhance the service’s strategic reach and mobility.

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Built to improve the Navy’s capability to deploy task force across the open ocean, the FSS can also support people and human assistance and disaster relief operations.

The ministry said most of the equipment and systems for the new ships are planned to be sourced from indigenous manufacturers.

In March 2023, the Indian MoD selected HSL, Visakhapatnam for the normal refit of the Sindhukirti, a 3rd Kilo-class diesel-electric submarine.