New Delhi: In order to add more teeth to
its amphibious warfare capabilities, the Navy is planning to
induct four Landing Platform Docks (LPD) to join the fleet
alongside INS Jalashwa.
"We are looking to add four more LPDs in our fleet to
operate alongside INS Jalashwa, the only LPD currently in
service," Navy officials said.
The procurement procedure has already begun with the
release of the Request for Information (RFI) by the Defence
Ministry, they said.
The four warships would be procured under the buy and
make category of the Defence procurement procedure
under which the Indian shipyards, both private and public,
would be required to form a partnership with foreign shipyards
for the contract.
The navy wants the ships to be produced within the
country itself and has sought response only from Indian
shipyards, having their own infrastructure and capability of
building LPD class of ships, they said.
On the procurement of warships, officials said the
LPDs provide the Navy strategic reach to operate far away from
Indian shores and support amphibious warfare.
The Navy wants the ships to be 200 metres long and to
be able to transport Main Battle tanks (MBTs), heavy trucks,
Armoured Personnel Vehicles and other heavy machinery.
It should also be able to carry out operations of
heavy-lift helicopters of the Navy, the officials said.
The four LPDs will also have a point missile defence
system and a close-in weapon system to protect itself from
enemy firing and aircraft.
In 2007, India had inducted the INS Jalashwa - a
Sanskrit name for Hippopotamus, which is a replenishment and
amphibious warfare ship with capacity to embark, transport and
land a 1,000-men battalion along with equipment and tanks to
support operations on enemy shores.
Being the second largest ship in the Navy inventory
after aircraft carrier INS Viraat, Jalashwa is also capable of
undertaking maritime surveillance, special operations, search
and rescue, medical support as well as humanitarian aid.
Jalashwa was originally commissioned in the US Navy as
USS Trenton and had served for 36 years when India bought it
for USD 48.4 million in 2007. It is based under the Eastern
Naval Command in Visakhapatnam.