Saturday, June 19

Kolkata shipyard may supply unmanned vessels to Navy

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Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) of Kolkata that has earned the distinction of being the country’s only shipyard to build more than a 100 warships, is set to launch a futuristic system that will take maritime security to a new level. It is waiting for the Navy to issue a Request For Proposal (RFP) for Unmanned Surface Vessels (USVs) for which GRSE has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with an Israeli firm.

“It will be a game-changer. Not only the Navy, the Army may also place orders for riverine areas. The Coast Guard may also want some. Just as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), the USVs are extremely versatile and useful. These small vessels can operate for four days at a stretch away from the mother ship. They can be remotely controlled and only require a change in module for shift in operations. From effective mine-control measures, they can shift to anti-submarine warfare and other activities,” GRSE chairman and managing director Rear Admiral (retd) V K Saxena said.

The Israeli firm already builds USVs. If GRSE were to start building them, they would have at least 60% indigenous content, the MoU states. Another signatory in the document is Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) that has already started work on advanced sensors for these small vessels. GRSE has also held discussions with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and its Naval Science & Technological Laboratory (NSTL) to work out possible designs.

“In its Request For Information (RFI), the Navy was interested in procuring 12 USVs. We responded to the RFI and are now waiting for the RFP. I think that the Navy is keen to utilise the USVs in their mine-control measure mode. These vessels have tremendous potential and we are preparing to receive orders,” Rear Admiral Saxena added.

 

Source: Times of India

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