Sources told ET that innovative solutions are being considered, including procurement of unmanned vessels and underwater systems to protect warships, besides the induction of ‘clip on’ suites that can be used by individual vessels.
The Navy is looking for ‘man out of the loop’ solutions that could involve autonomous systems that are being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as well as foreign vendors, sources said.
Left without a single mine counter measure vessel in its fleet after the retirement of the INS Kozhikode in April, the Navy has ordered special suites for some of its warships – sensors that can be fitted to provide limited mine detection capability. These ‘solo suites’ could also be increased in the future.
The Navy’s experience with adding mine hunting vessels has been bitter, with several rounds of setbacks. The government has nominated Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) for the Rs 32,000-crore project to construct 12 mine hunters but the yard has been unable to decide on a foreign technology partner.
In the first instance, the Korean firm was dropped by the UPA government after allegations surfaced that it had appointed ‘consultants’ for the contract, in a violation of Indian procurement norms. A second round of negotiations broke down in 2017 after talks failed on technology transfer.
GSL made another attempt in 2018 to rope in a foreign collaborator, with responses received from Italy and Russia but a final choice has not been made. Sources said that some technical requirements that were seen as being too restrictive are now being eased up to ensure a more competitive process with multiple bidders.
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1 Comment on this Story
Arvind Chitale328 days ago
How careless our MOD is.SHAME. In 15 years you could NOT find foreign collaborator/s, shows how our system is rigid in approach. Mr. Gadkari was right when he said MOD takes 8 years to clear a small demand of chairs/tables and by the time it is approved, it becomes outdated. The loudmouth Defence minister should review the functioning of MOD first.