The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has issued a $2.25bn tender to domestic shipyards for the construction of 16 shallow-water anti-submarine warfare (ASW) vessels, as part of efforts to replace the aging Russian-built Abhay-class corvettes commissioned in 1989 and 1991.
Under the 'Buy and Make India' category, the tender was issued to private sector firms, including Larsen & Toubro, ABG Shipyard, Pipavav Defense and Offshore Engineering, and Goa Shipyard and Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers.
The participating domestic companies are required to collaborate with foreign defence firms for the procurement of certain critical technologies.
An unnamed senior Indian Navy official was quoted by DefenseNews as saying: "The domestic defence companies have the ability to build the shallow craft but will need to tie up with overseas companies, especially to procure a variety of sonars."
To be connected with the navy's network-centric warfare system, which will be in turn linked to other ASW assets, including airborne manned and unmanned platforms, the new water crafts could cruise at maximum speed of more than 25k while carrying seven officers and approximately 50 sailors.
Capable of being deployed for anti-submarine warfare operations in coastal waters, low-intensity maritime operations and mine-laying, the vessels with stealth capabilities would need to operate within 200nm of the base port, according to the news agency.
Further, the vessel must be capable of carrying out sub-surface surveillance of coastal waters, coordinated anti-submarine warfare operations with aircraft, destruction of sub-surface targets in coastal waters, day and night search and rescue in coastal areas, and to engage intruding craft.
Image: An Abhay-class corvette of the Indian Navy. Photo: courtesy of Strike Eagle.