Indian state-owned shipbuilder, Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) hosted the steel cutting ceremony for the Indian Navy Anti-Submarine Warfare Shallow Water Craft (ASWSWC) at its facility in Kochi, Kerala on Dec. 1.
Vice Admiral G Ashok Kumar, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, Vice Chief of Naval Staff, Indian Navy declared through video conferencing the commencement of steel cutting of first steel plate for Ship No. BY 523. The steel cutting ceremony is one of the initial milestones in the vessel construction process.
Madhu S. Nair, Chairman and Managing Director of CSL, delivered the welcome address. Vice Admiral G Ashok Kumar addressed the gathering. Vice Admiral S R Sarma, Chief of Materiel, and other senior officials from the Integrated Naval Headquarters also participated through video conferencing. Senior officials of CSL and Warship Overseeing Team (WOT), Kochi, were also present at the function.
CSL was awarded a Rs. 6,311 crore (~USD855 million) contract for construction and supply of eight Anti-Submarine Warfare Shallow Water Craft (ASWSWC) vessels for the Indian Navy on April 30, 2019 following a competitive bidding process. Under the deal, the project is to be completed in 90 months from date of signing the contract.
CSL, which is under the Indian Ministry of Shipping, emerged as the lowest bidder while the state-owned Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Limited (GRSE), which is under the Indian Ministry of Defence, emerged the second lowest bidder when the tenders were opened. As per the tender issued by the Navy, the lowest bidder and the second lowest bidder will each build eight crafts at the price offered by the lowest bidder. The contract with GRSE was signed on April 29. 2019.
The ASWSWC vessels will have a length of 70 m and will displace around 750 tons. They will be capable of achieving a top speed of more than 25 knots (46 km/h) and will have a range of 1,800 nautical miles (3,300 km) at a cruising speed of 14 knots.
The vessels will be armed with torpedoes, rockets and two 12.7 mm machine guns in remote weapon stations. They will have a complement of 7 officers and 50 sailors.
The vessels will be capable of full-scale sub surface surveillance of coastal waters, Search Attack Unit (SAU) and coordinated ASW operations with aircraft. In addition, the vessels will have the capability to interdict/ destroy sub surface targets in coastal waters. These can also be deployed for Search and Rescue (SAR) missions in day and night in coastal areas. In their secondary role, these will be capable to prosecute intruding aircraft, and lay mines in the sea bed.
The vessels are equipped with highly advanced state-of-the-art Integrated Platform Management Systems (IPMS) including propulsion machinery, auxiliary machinery, power generation and distribution machinery and damage control machinery, etc. These warships will be built as per Classification Society Rules and Naval Ship Regulations and will conform to latest marine pollution standards of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).
The 16 new shallow water anti-submarine vessels will replace the Navy’s Russian-built Abhay-class corvettes commissioned to the fleet between 1989 and 1991. The vessels will complement the larger Kamorta-class ASW corvettes, developed for deep-water missions, in the naval fleet.