New Delhi: To facilitate amphibious operations in the Brahmaputra river basin to the east and the Sir Creek area, subject of a maritime territorial dispute between India and Pakistan, the Indian Army plans to procure eight Landing Craft Assaults (LCA) and six Fast Patrol Boats (FPBs) and 118 integrated surveillance and targeting systems for deployment in border areas as part of efforts to enhance its combat capabilities.
The Indian Army has said in the requests for information (RFI) issued for the vessels that it wants to deploy the LCAs for transportation of vehicles and material including random patrols and limited search and rescue operations, while the FPBs will be for surveillance, patrolling and interception at sea and over water bodies. The Army requires both to have at least a 50 percent domestic component in design. The last date to respond to the RFIs for fast patrol boats as well as the LCAs is November 28.
The integrated surveillance and targeting systems are being procured for use by mechanised forces in border areas. According to the RFI, the systems are being procured under the ‘buy Indian’ category and they must have 60 per cent indigenous content.
The LCA system needs to be designed in a manner that it can be driven in and out of water bodies without the need for any jetty. It should be operable in water at minimal draughts, in unknown and varying terrain conditions, and also at high speeds, the Army says in the RFI for the LCA. It wants the LCA to be versatile, to facilitate seamless execution of operations such as patrolling, fast attack and interception across varying terrains and operating conditions.
“The LCA should be designed to ensure safety of the operator, reduction of operator fatigue whilst achieving the standards for rugged military use,” the Army said. Its maximum speed should be not less than 20 knots, with an endurance of eight hours. The carriage capacity should be 35 personnel, including the crew, along with weapons and equipment and a total payload of 5,255 kg.
“The boat shall be designed to be operational and manoeuvred safely and effectively at specified speed with full complement in specified sea conditions. The boat shall be very stable and resistant to capsize,” according to the RFI. It also calls for “good manoeuvrability” and throttle response throughout its speed range. The LCA should be transportable by road and by in-service aircraft such as IL-76/C-17.
For FPBs, similar requirements have been laid out on operational parameters. The Indian Army is seeking a maximum speed of 35 knots at sea with four persons on board, including the crew, with a total payload of 500 kg (personnel weight plus battle load). The Army wants to be able to operate the boat in shallow and muddy conditions, and carry out coordinated secure operations and force protection of vessels. These boats will be used for seaward anti-terrorist patrols — for security of coastal and inland installations, and Indian vessels and coast line.
“The Fast Patrol Boats shall be utilised for coastal patrol and surveillance with the aim to protect area of creeks of Gujarat, coastal area of India and inland water. The boat shall be highly seaworthy,” the RFI mentions.