Friday, April 6, 2012
Indian Navy Increases Expenditure To Speed Up Key Warship Projects In The Current
In order to increase its strategic reach in the Indian Ocean region and to defend its vulnerable coastline, Indian Navy has decided to increase its spending by around 75 per cent in the current fiscal. With an overall hike in the defence budget of 17 per cent, Indian navy has been allocated $4.77 billion which is roughly $2 billion more than the allocation last year with which it will procure several frigates and destroyers.
Till last year, Indian Navy's force-levels were hovering around 135 ships with over 50 major warships and 14 ageing submarines. While most of these will be phased-out soon, there are about 50 ships on order for Navy at various domestic shipyards including Talwar-class stealth frigates being built in Russia and the refurbished Gorshkov aircraft carrier.
Other keys naval projects include ‘Project-75 India' to acquire six new-generation stealth submarines, equipped with land-attack missiles and air-independent propulsion and six Scorpene submarines that are already being constructed at state-run Mazagon Docks (MDL). Added to this, seven more stealth frigates are to be built at MDL and GRSE under Project-17A which is being followed by three 6,200-tonne stealth frigates (INS Shivalik, INS Satpura and INS Sahayadri) built at MDL.
While the costs of several key naval projects like the refurbished Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov and the French Scorpene submarine programme escalating, the Indian Navy remains undettered and plans to continue spending more despite the price-rise. Among other things, it has been reported that there has been a hike in costs in the import of steel from Russia which has bloated the costs of the warship-building program in India. Apart from this, the Scorpene submarine program has also witnessed a hike of about $1 billion.
Currently, the Indian Navy is building 46 warships, including destroyers, stealth destroyers and frigates. Three destroyers are being built at state-run Mazagon Dock Ltd. (MDL) for $ 3.5 billion under the Project 15-A. In addition, another four destroyers at a cost of about $3 billion are also coming up at MDL. State-run Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) is also building four corvettes for about $2.2 billion.
While the indigenous aircraft carrier being built at Cochin Shipyard will be inducted by 2015 and the refursbished aircraft carrier Gorshkov by early next year, Indian Navy will have the much needed aircraft-carrier battle groups to give edge to its force. The navy will also acquire new carrier-borne fighter jets and maritime patrol aircraft as well as multi-role helicopters and spy drones which together will cost to the tune of around $ 18.90 billion. India's own nuclear submarine, the over 6,000-tonne INS Arihant being built at Vizag is also ready to become operational by 2013.