13 Oct 16. The Indian Navy may as early as this month begin the commercial bidding process for its $2.6bn program to build four 20,000-ton landing platform docks (LPD), following the final selection of two domestic vendors. Only Reliance Defence and Engineering Limited (RDEL) — formerly known as Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering — and private sector business Larsen & Toubro (L&T) cleared the financial and technical tests from September. A third vendor, ABG Shipyard, which has a technical relationship with Alion of the United States, could not clear the tests because it failed to restructure its debts, a senior Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) official said. L&T has a tie-up with Navantia of Spain, and RDEL with DCNS of France. No ABG Shipyard executive would comment on the outcome of the Indian Navy’s routine technical and financial tests. The Navy floated the tender in 2013 for production of four LPDs, and bids were sent to domestic shipyards, L&T, RDEL, and ABG Shipyard. Under the program, two LPDs will be built by a private shipyard, and then state-owned Hindustan Shipyard Limited will build the remaining two LPDs at the same cost.
“Indian Navy requires LPDs not only protecting its island territories and the exclusive economic zone but also to thwart growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean littoral region,” an Indian Navy official said. “The aggressive posturing of the Chinese Navy in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean Region has made is necessary to beef up [the Indian Navy’s] strength in the Indian Ocean region.”
The Indian Navy currently operates one LPD, the former US-owned, Austin-class LPD Trenton, which was acquired by India in 1997 and renamed INS Jalashwa.
Commenting on the capability of the domestic shipyards that will build the LPDs, the Indian Navy official said: “RDEL has no past experience in building large warships, including LPDs. However, as far as L&T Limited [is] concerned, they[‘ve] been building the commercial ships of equivalent tonnage, thus there is sufficient in-house capability to build ships of equivalent displacements.”
Though the two domestic shipyards don’t have experience building LPDs, the overseas shipyards, which have technical relationships with domestic shipyards, will help with technology transfers for the LPDs, according to the MoD official. The Navy requires that the ships be no 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, have an endurance of 45 days with a maximum sustained speed of no less than 20 knots, and have the capability to carry six main battle tanks, 20 infantry combat vehicles and 40 heavy trucks. The LPDs will also be equipped with a point defense missile system, a close-in weapon system, an anti-torpedo decoy system, a chaff system, and heavy and light machine guns. Special operation helicopters and large helicopters, weighing up to 35 tons, will operate from the ship. Each ship is also expected to accommodate 1,430 personnel, including 60 officers, 470 sailors and 900 troops. The 20,000-ton LPD would be the largest warship to be built in an Indian yard after the aircraft carrier under construction at state-owned Cochin Shipyard. (Source: Defense News)
13 Oct 16. Senior officials from Italy’s defense industry and armed forces have issued an unusual appeal for closer cooperation between Italian and French shipyards that could lead toward what is being described in Italy as a “naval Airbus.”
The officials set out their case at a conference in Rome on Sept. 27 where Giuseppe Bono, the CEO of Italian shipyard Fincantieri, made it clear he was keen on a possible team-up with French naval yard DCNS.
“We must work together — today there is competition between European firms, but the competition should be between European firms and the rest of the world,” he said.
Citing the “spirit of Europe,” he added: “The integration and consolidation of the