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By Bulbul Singh

20 Oct 08. Indian Navy is to acquire eight Mine Counter Measure Vessels
(MCMVs)costing over $ 1.4 billion. The Indian Navy plans to add assets to enable it to prepare for littoral warfare. Global bids have been sent to Northrop Grumman of U.S., Fincanteri of Italy, Izhar of Spain, Kangnam Corp. of South Korea and DCN International of France.

“The purchase of MCMVs is part of a long-term Indian Navy plan to acquire assets for littoral warfare which will include
purchase of Large Landing Platform Decks (LPD’s), Fast Attack
Craft, Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessels and MCMV’s.” a
senior Indian Navy official said. “There will also be a revaluation of qualitative shift in acquisition of naval assets in terms of ability to operate in shallow and deep waters.”

The MCMVs to be purchased will replace the 12 existing Pondicherry class ocean minesweepers procured in the 1970 and 80’s. The selected shipyard will supply two MCMV vessels and in addition will provide complete technology transfer for production of six additional MCMVs in India at state-owned shipyard, Goa Shipyard Limited. Besides, the short-listed shipyard will also have to supply deliverables for setting up of production infrastructure at the production agency in
India. The MCMVs will be made of reinforced plastic with
help from several Indian electronic companies which will provide varieties of radar.

The contract entails compulsory defence Offset calculated at
30 per cent of the total value of the contract. The short listed vendor will also train the crew and maintenance personnel.

The MCMC vessels should be capable of operating in areas of
Indian Navy’s interest to locate, classify, sweep, hunt and
neutralize all types of marooned and drifting mines. Besides, the MCMVs will also be deployed in local Naval defence and
search and rescue missions.

The technical specifications of the MCMV include a length of 50 to 60 Meters, the breadth not to exceed 11 meters. The vessels should be able to move at a speed of not less than 16 Knots at high engine combustion and not less than 11 knots as economical speed and have an endurance of not less than 10 days with a planned life span of 30 years.

The MCMV vessel should have mine detection and classification
capability using a combination of hull-mounted side scan sonar. The sonar should have the capability to operate in a 360 degree arc in shallow waters and be able to classify a mine at ranges of not less than 450 meters.

In addition the MCMVs will be fitted with one lightweight, 30 mm cannon, two 12.7mm Heavy Machine Guns and two Kavach chaff launchers
developed by state-owned Gun Factory. In addition the small arms on board will include 2x medium machine guns, two light machine guns, 8x 7.62 SLR rifles, 6x pistols and 1x mortar. The navigation equipment will include two CFOTS class navigation radars, advanced navigation aids, auto pilot and advanced navigation lighting.

The bidder will have to give a Build Plan for construction of the MCMVs which will include, design capabilities, a broad plan
of work for undertaking the construction and other details
pertaining to sub-contracting.

The Indian Navy’s long-term plan also include purchasing assets to
protect India’s island territories, particularly the Andaman and
Nicobar (A&N), which remains vulnerable due to its remote geographical
location, spread and scatter. The focus will be on attaining assets
like network centric warfare systems which will enable the force to
stay for longer periods in the Indian Ocean region.

The Indian Navy is also acquiring UAVs to collect acoustic data on a continuous basis as part of the added focus on littoral warfare.

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