Five naval support vessels to be built with Turkish Design
Each of our Naval Commands need at least one major Fleet Support Ship. Also one such ship must always be ready for Human Disastour Relief Operations if required for our Coastal Regions or anywhere in the Indian Ocean Region.
Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL), Vizag is expecting an order from the Indian Navy by the year end for building five Major naval support vessels of 45000 tons each with transfer of technology from a Turkish shipbuilding firm,
HSL may have a sort of a collaborative arrangement for transfer of technology and building these in Visakhapatnam. The project, estimated to cost around Rs 15000 Crores will involve transfer of technology from Anadolu Shipyard, part of the TAIS consortium of Turkey, with which HSL signed an agreement for technical collaboration last year.
HSL is expected to deliver the first fleet support vessel (FSV) to the navy within four years of the go-ahead, with the other ships to be delivered at the rate of one every 10 months to 12 months. The vessels will be 230 metres long and have a displacement of 45,000 tonnes.
The agreement with the Turkish consortium will commence once HSL gets an order from the Indian Navy. If all goes well, that could happen by October 2021. Several Indian vendors will also be involved in the project.
Unlike other massive projects of this type, which usually witness at least one of the vessels being constructed in the country providing the technology and know-how, the Turkish side has decided to go ahead with transfer of technology from the initial stages and back the “Make in India” initiative by constructing all five vessels at HSL.
Turkey’s shipyards are fully booked for a long time and there is nothing to lose by transferring technology and having all the vessels built in India. Turkish engineers will come to India to assist with the project.
Besides designs, the Turkish consortium will provide engineering services, planning and preparation of specifications, the people said. The transfer of technology will also boost India’s shipbuilding capabilities.
TAIS, which is a member of Turkey’s largest industrial group, and HSL concluded an agreement for cooperation in the first quarter of last year, after the issue had come under a cloud for some time because of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s criticism of the Indian government’s decision to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in 2019. Questions were also raised in some quarters because of the strong defence ties between Turkey and Pakistan.
The Turkish consortium was the lowest bidder for the contract to make the FSVs. Moreover, some other bidders had insisted that at least one of the vessels should be made in a foreign shipyard. The agreement with TAIS was signed after clearance by the Indian defence ministry, the people cited above said.
This cooperation is indeed surprising, as there has been long-standing concerns in India about Turkey’s defence relationship with Pakistan.
Though it seems that Turkey under President Erdogan has focused on building commercial relations with all countries. This pragmatism is being seen in this effort to collaborate with India despite the proximity with Pakistan. India wants to build its naval capabilities and Turkey has a defence industry that is very advanced.
“If Turkey is offering transfer of technology, why should we say no?” said an expert, noting that Turkish company Savronik was given sub-contracts for building key parts of the strategic Atal Tunnel under Rohtang Pass in Himachal Pradesh.