The Indian government has sanctioned funds worth $4.7 billion to complete the purchases in the next five years. It is expected that a large part of the targeted project shall go to private players.
New Delhi (Sputnik) – In sync with the Indian government’s decision to beef up coastal security by strengthening the fleet of ships and aircraft operated by the Indian Coast Guards, India’s private shipyard L&T has launched the first of seven 2100 ton offshore patrol vessels (OPV) in Chennai which is scheduled to be inducted into the Indian Coast Guard by April 2018 after completion of sea trials on equipment and machinery.
The 98 meter long OPV has an endurance of 5000 nautical miles at a cruising speed of 12-14 knots. Its maximum speed is 26 knots. The ship is fitted with one 30 mm automatic gun and two 12.7 mm gun with fire control system. The vessel can operate twin-engine helicopters which would be used mainly for surveillance, search, and rescue operations. The remaining six vessels will be delivered in next three years by the shipyard.
This is the first offshore patrol vessel for the Indian Coast Guard that has been built by a private sector yard. The Indian Coast Guard aims to add 70 ships & 40 aircraft by 2022 in a bid to bridge the gap in the 7500-kilometer long coastal area.
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“Seventy ships are under construction in six shipyards. The Indian Coast Guard currently has 130 ships and 62 aircraft which will go up to 200 ships and 100 aircraft by 2022,” VST Murthy, Additional Director General, Indian Coast Guard said.
Another private firm Reliance Defence and Engineering Limited had also commenced the construction of 14 Fast Patrol Vessels at its shipyard in Pipavav, Gujarat from August this year. The delivery of the ship will begin from January 2019 and thereafter the subsequent 13 vessels will be delivered one in every three months.