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Multi-Role Support Ship (MRSS)

The Indian Navy is strengthening its amphibious warfare capabilities to counter growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean Region. The Indian Navy operated former US-owned, Austin-class LPD Trenton. It was acquired by India in 1997 and renamed INS Jalashwa. By 2017, India's amphibious warfare capability is burdened with nine older tank landing ships of various sizes and capabilities. The 5655-ton Shardul class ships are the latest ones which are a hybrid of LST and LSD designs. They are an evolution of the Magar class amphibious landing ships. Shardul and Magar class can carry 10 armored vehicles, 11 armored personnel carriers and more than 500 troops.

The Indian Navy originally desired a LPD configuration for at-sea logistics and humanitarian relief operations. On December 13, 2009 it was reported that the Indian Navy planned to induct four Landing Platform Docks to join the fleet alongside INS Jalashwa. These ships would be 200 meters long and able to transport Main Battle tanks, heavy trucks, Armoured Personnel Vehicles and other heavy machinery. It would carry out operations with heavy-lift helicopters of the Navy. The four LPDs were to have a point missile defence system and a close-in weapon system to protect itself from enemy firing and aircraft.

By 2009 it appeared that the Navy developed a requirement for helicopter carriers (LHD) with rear flooding decks to accommodate wheeled/tracked amphibious assault vehicles and LCAC-type assault hovercraft. The MRSS may host at least six medium-lift utility helicopters. The Indian Navy planned to acquire up to three LPH-based multi-role support ships (MRSS)

The Navy was looking for a hybrid design called Multi-Role Support Vessel (MRSV) which is similar in design to the ARMARIS-built Mistral, Hanjin's Dokdo and the GNG's MHD-150. A total of eight companies had proposed designs:

14,500 tonsSouth KoreaHanjin Heavy Industries assault landing ship
15,000 tonsGermanyThyssenKrupp Marine SystemsMHD-150
16,160 tonsNetherlandsSchelde ShipbuildingEnforcer LPD
20,000 tonsItalyFinantieriLHD
21,300 tonsFranceArmarisMistral LHD
21,500 tonsSpainNavantiaStrategic Projection Ship
21,578 tonsUKBAE Systems MarineOcean-class LHD
25,000 tonsUSRaytheonSan Antonio-class LPD-17

The Enforcer Series was developed around three basic sizes, based on the vessel's beam. Selection of the most suitable platform configuration is done in close cooperation with the customer by analysis of the Concept of Operations and functional requirements. The 14,000 ton RNLN LPD "Rotterdam" was the first of the Enforcer Series, developed in close cooperation with the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN). This was followed by 4 16,160 ton RN LSD (A) Bay Class vessels and the RNLN Rotterdam-class LPD "Johan de Witt". The well deck arrangement varies between the Rotterdam and the Johan de Witt.

In January 2012 The Hindu reported that Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) expected to achieve a turnaround with the Ministry of Defence deciding in principle to award an order for construction of two Landing Platform Docks (LPDs). Each LPD, to be useful for strategic deployment as well as tackling disasters and other contingencies, was projected tol cost around Rs.4,000 crore. The order valued at Rs. 8,000 crore is expected in a few months, HSL Chairman and Managing Director Rear Admiral N.K. Mishra told The Hindu in an interview.

In December 2013 the Indian Navy floated a US $2.6 billion domestic tender for construction of four landing platform docks (LPDs) and bids were sent to domestic shipyards, Larsen & Toubro (L&T), Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering, and ABG Shipyard. The service will select a winning design based on the low bidder. State-owned Hindustan Shipyard Ltd. (HSL) then would build two LPDs based on that design and the winning company would build two. Larsen & Toubro was tied up with Navantia of Spain which designed the 13,000 ton "Galicia" class LPD in the 1990s, and more recently the 27,000 ton Juan Carlos I Amphibious Assault Ship for Spain, Canberra Class Landing Helicopter Dock for Australia and Amfibi Taaruz Gemisi for Turkey [all to the same design]. Pipavav Defence teamed with Frances DCNS which designed the 21,300 ton Mistral for France and Russia.

ABG Shipyard partnered with Alion of the USA. Alion took the 79th spot on the August 2014 Defense News Top 100 annual list of worldwide defense contractors, wtih revenues of $849 million. In 1936, the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) established the not-for-profit IIT Research Institute (IITRI) with the goal of testing and developing new, beneficial technologies. On December 20, 2002, approximately 1600 employees of IITRI purchased a majority of the organization's assets, founding Alion Science and Technology.

Alion is one of the largest naval architecture and marine engineering companies in the United States and maintains an excellent reputation for exceeding customer requirements. With over 50 years of maritime innovation and experience, Alion currently supports the acquisition and introduction of every current U.S. surface class as well as submarine classes. Alion technical and operational experts have provided ship designs for many international naval programs. Current programs include the South Korean Navy 18,860 ton Dokdo LP-X Class Amphibious Ship.

The Indian Navy set its target to finalize a $2.6 billion contract for Landing Platform Docks with private Indian shipbuilders by the end of 2017. If all goes well, then the Navy is expected to close the LPD contract by end of this year," Vice Admiral DM Deshpande, Controller of Warship Production and Acquisition, Indian Navy, said in New Delhi 19 APril 2017.

Indian Navy had planned four 20,000 ton LPD for induction in the next decade. India's private manufacturers Reliance Defence and Engineering Limited (RDEL) and Larsen & Toubro (L&T) have cleared the financial and technical tests and have submitted commercial bids to the Indian defense ministry. L&T has a tie-up with Navantia of Spain and RDEL with DCNS of France. Earlier, the government had planned to give the contract to private as well government-owned shipbuilders but reworked it and decided to give all four shipbuilding contract to private players as the public sector shipbuilder had too many orders.

Vice Admiral Deshpande said India aimed to emerge as a defense manufacturing hub in the future; thus the Navy seeks the support of industry, researchers, DRDO and government organizations. He added that proactive government policies aimed at easing business rules would help forge a collaborative environment.

According to the Indian Navy tender issued in 2013, LPD should not be more than 215 meters long and have a draft no more than 8 meters in full load conditions. The ships will be powered by electric propulsion systems. The proposed LPD will have the capacity to carry six main battle tanks, 20 infantry combat vehicles and 40 heavy trucks. Each ship is expected to carry 1,430 personnel, 470 sailors and 900 troops.



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