Indian Navy issued a tender for 4 landing helicopter-carrying dock ships. According to Indian defense Ministry A.K. Antony, national defense procurement council has already approved acquirement of four large-size landing ships.
As for the ministry, these ships will improve Indian Navy’s landing capabilities and make possible to conduct rescue operations in regions suffered from natural disasters and emergencies.
According to Mer et Marine, Indian Navy command had consulted with domestic shipbuilders, but they could not offer an adequate project. For this reason, the navy sent requests to foreign companies.
As is expected, the tender will be attended by French, Italian, Spanish, and South Korean companies.
Most probably, French DCNS would offer Mistral-class assault landing ship operated by French Navy and purchased by Russia, Spanish Navantia – Juan Carlos I type (Project BPE – Buque de Proyeccion Estrategica), Italian Fincantieri – Multifunction Ship (MS), and South Korean Hanjin Heavy Industries – Dokdo class landing helicopter carrier.
DCNS and Fincantieri have a kind of advantage because they have already signed naval-related contracts with Indian Navy. DCNS builds Scorpene-class submarines and Fincantieri – Deepak-type fuel replenishment tankers. Besides, the Italian company takes part in construction of the first Indian aircraft carrier.
In Sept 2011 Indian Navy and state-led company Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (Calcutta) signed a contract for construction of 8 landing boats LCU to protect islands better and strengthen amphibious fleet. The boats are expected to join Indian Navy in 2013-2015.
Shipbuilding Tribune Staff, November 28, 2011; Image: indiannavy