Mine Counter-Measures Vessel (MCMV)
In early May 2004 the Ministry of Defense adopted a plan under which the Indian Navy would implement its future mine countermeasures vessel (MCMV) program. These MCMVs will search for mines using high-resolution sonar and neutralise them with explosives by remote-controlled mine disposal systems. The ships will be made of lightweight reinforced composite materials to lower their acoustic and magnetic signatures, and to better resist underwater explosions.
The plan envisioned the procurement of at least eight MCMVs in order to replace the dozen existing Pondicherry-class ocean minesweepers which entered service in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The Navy planned on the delivery of the first unit by 2008, which coincides with the planned decommissioning of the first Pondicherry-class minesweeper. The twelve vessels of the Pondicherry-class were acquired in two batches, the first between 1978 and 1980, and the second between 1986 and 1988.
The $1 billion project entails the construction of glass reinforced plastic ships at India's Goa Shipyard. Indigenous companies such as Bharat Electronics will provide the fire-control radar and 30mm gun with assistance from OTO Melara of Italy. GSL would seek foreign naval companies for the sensitive equipment aboard these glass-reinforced-fibre ships.
A Request for Tender (RFT) for construction and/or technology assistance was scheduled for June 2004. The RFT was provided to Intermarine of Italy, Kangnam Corp. of South Korea and IZAR of Spain, all current builders of MCMVs. The Request for Proposals (RFP) for the mine-hunting and neutralization equipment was to follow in August 2004. The RFP was sent to Thales of France, Atlas Elektronik of Germany, FABA of Spain and ECA of France.
Goa Shipyard Ltd is modernising its shipbuilding yard to increase production and productivity, and improve the order book position. The Shipyard's plans are, however, based on the acquisition plans of the Government of India. Through the modernisation, the value of production and profitability of Goa Shipyard is likely to go up by more than three times by the end of the 11th Plan (2011-2012). As part of the expansion, the Shipyard is undertaking modular construction and installing a ship lift system. Certain production multipliers in the area of welding have also been added. ERP has been fully implemented for better project monitoring. Goa Shipyard is tapping the international market for new export orders. These include orders for Advance Offshore Patrol Vessels (AOVP) from Sri Lanka and Mauritius and Fast Patrol Vessels (FPV) from Mozambique and Maldives. The company has formed a consortium with other Indian defence shipyards, Magazon Dock Ltd and Garden Reach Shipbuilders, to seek the assistance of RITES Ltd, a Central PSU, to market its products globally.
In late 2008 the Indian Navy floated bids worth more than $1.4 billion to acquire eight mine countermeasure vessels (MCMVs). France's DCN International, Fincanteri of Italy, Izhar of Spain, Kangnam of South Korea and Northrop Grumman of the US were invited by the Indian Defence Ministry to participate. The MCMVs will hunt for mines with a high-definition sonar and then destroy them using explosives by remote-controlled mine-disposal systems. The MCMVs, with a planned lifespan of 30 years, will replace the 12 existing Pondicherry-class ocean minesweepers procured in the 1970s and 1980's. The vessels whould be 50 to 60 meters long with a beam of 11 meters, have a maximum speed of at least 16 knots and an endurance of at least 10 days.
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