Kolkata / Chennai: The second of the four Survey Vessels (Large) (SVL) Project – Yard No 3026 – ‘Nirdeshak’ being built by GRSE in collaboration with L&T shipbuilding for Indian Navy was launched on May 26.
The Survey Vessel was launched by Sarbani Dasgupta, wife of Vice Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta, AVSM, YSM, VSM, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command. Vice Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta was the Chief Guest at the occasion. Among the others present at the ceremony were Vice Admiral Kiran Deshmukh, AVSM, VSM, Controller of Warship Production & Acquisition, Vice Admiral Adhir Arora, NM, Chief Hydrographer, Cmde P R Hari IN (Retd), Chairman and Managing Director (Officiating) GRSE, Shri R K Dash, Director (Finance), GRSE, other Senior Officials of GRSE, L&T and Indian Armed Forces.
This is the second vessel in a series of four such ships being built by GRSE for the Indian Navy to be launched in less than six months. The first ship, INS Sandhayak, was launched in Kolkata on December 5, 2021. The contract for building four SVL ships was signed between MoD and Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata on October 30, 2018.
The ship has taken its name from erstwhile Nirdeshak which was also an Indian Naval Survey ship and was decommissioned after 32 years of glorious service in December 2014. Part construction of three out of four ships of SVL is being undertaken at L&T, Kattupalli as part of collaborative approach between GRSE and L&T shipbuilding. This model of Public Private Partnership shall be harbinger of future successful collaboration for Warship construction in India.
The SVL ships will replace the existing Sandhayak Class survey ships with new generation hydrographic equipment to collect oceanographic data. The Survey Vessel (Large) ships have a deep displacement of about 3400 tons and a complement of 235 personnel. The ship is designed to operate at cruise speed of 14 knots and maximum speed of 18 knots. Bow & Stern Thrusters have been catered for better manoeuvring at low speeds required during shallow water survey operations. The hull of these ships is made from indigenously developed DMR 249-A steel manufactured by Steel Authority of India Limited.
These modern, indigenously developed 110-metres long and 16-metres wide ships have a displacement of nearly 3,400 tonnes and can attain a top speed of 18 knots with an endurance of 6,500 nautical miles.
With a capability to carry four Survey Motor Boats and an integral helicopter, the primary role of the ships would be to undertake full scale coastal and deep-water hydrographic surveys of Ports and navigational channels. The ships would also be deployed for collecting oceanographic and geophysical data for defence as well as civil applications. In their secondary role, the ships are capable of providing limited defence, besides serving as Hospital ships during emergencies.
Despite challenges due to COVID-19 pandemic, GRSE has made substantial progress and aim to deliver Sandhayak, the first ship of SVL by January 2023. The delivery of the second ship Nirdeshak is likely by April 2023. Launch of the second Survey Vessel reinforces our resolve for indigenous shipbuilding as part of the vision of ‘Make in India’, and ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’. The Survey Vessels Large will have over 80% indigenous content by cost. This will also ensure that large scale defence production is executed by Indian manufacturing units thereby, generating employment and capability build up within the country.
Congratulating GRSE on the achievement, Vice Admiral Dasgupta acknowledged that a large number of ships of the Eastern Fleet are being built by GRSE. He said, “The newer ship ‘Nirdeshak’ will be more capable, larger, modern, state-of-the-art with advanced propulsion and manoeuvring and will be able to operate autonomous and remotely operated systems. The ship’s ability to perform full spectrum of hydrographic and oceanographic operations of the Indian Navy will make us even more potent and foreign navies are looking to the Indian Navy for the hydrographic co-operation. The vessel has achieved 80% of Indigenization by cost which is a significant achievement for Indian shipbuilding.”
Applauding the efforts of the Indian shipyards, he highlighted the tremendous shipbuilding opportunities ahead with 31 ships to be constructed in the coming years by the Indian Navy and expressed hope that the near future will see Indian shipbuilding industry making serious inroads in obtaining a much larger share in the global shipbuilding.
In his speech during the ceremony Cmde P R Hari IN (Retd) highlighted the capability of these ships and acknowledged the contribution from all stakeholders including industry partners in achieving the major milestone with 45% physical progress. These ships are capable of full scale coastal and deep-water hydrographic survey of port and harbour approaches and determination of navigation channels and routes. They can also carry out survey of maritime limits and collect oceanographic and geographic data for defence applications. These ships are propelled by two marine diesel engines combined with fixed pitch propellers, and are fitted with bow and stern thrusters for manoeuvring at low speeds while carrying out surveys.
In order to ensure swift delivery of quality, GRSE has now enhanced its capacity through tie-ups with capable Private Shipyards under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode for part construction of ships. Further, these ships are now being built using the ‘Integrated Construction’ concept through which maximum pre-outfitting is being carried out at the block stage itself.
GRSE is the only shipyard in the country to have built and delivered 105 warships to the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard. Two warships built by this shipyard were also exported by the Government of India to Mauritius and the Seychelles. At the moment, GRSE is working on 23 ships. Seven of these are for foreign orders.
Among the larger ships that GRSE is working on now are the Stealth Frigates under the Indian Navy’s Project 17A. The shipyard is also building Anti-Submarine Warfare Shallow Water Craft for the Indian Navy. In keeping with the Atmanirbhar Bharat theme, GRSE has achieved nearly 90% indigenization, even for large ships.