An IDC Analysis


New Delhi, 07 April 2005

The Indian Navy has impressive expansion plans. Besides the ATV and the media reported lease of one Akula class submarine by 20078, the Indian Navy has over 19 ships on order. These include:

At Mazagon Dock Ltd:

  • 3 Type 17, 4900 ton Shivalik class stealth frigates (two already launched) which is an upgraded hybrid home design of the Brahmaputra and Krivak class with Brahmos vertical launch missiles

  • 3 Type 15A, 6700 ton Bangalore class Destroyers an improved version of the Delhi class also with vertical launch Brahmos missiles, aft of the bridge superstructure. DRDO and Larsen and Tubro Ltd had jointly designed the vertical missile launch system.


  • 3 LST (L) Magar class,

  • 3 or 4, 2500 ton ASW Corvettes based on the missile corvette designs

  • 3 Fast Attack Craft

  • 3 Patrol vessels out of a total of nine offshore patrol vessels that the Navy will finally induct

The Government had also sanctioned 11 Dornier 228 aircraft for maritime surveillance at a cost of $180m as a stopgap arrangement, though the US offer to sell PC-3 Orions to India is under consideration. The Indian Navy will also purchase a C-303 submarine-fired torpedo decoy system from Italy and manufacture eight more in India, having inducted new Italian chariots for its marine Commandoes. It will upgrade 14 British Sea Harriers, fitting these with the latest air-to-air Derby missiles from Israeli firm Rafael, combat manoeuvring flight recorders, new Elta EL/M 20032 radars to replace the Blue Fox and digital cockpit voice recorders at Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd at a cost of $105m.

The Government also recently sanctioned the indigenous construction of the Air Defence Ship, with provision for over 355 designers and 200 inspectors and in a place like Kochi it will be difficult to find this manpower. The Indian Navy faces a shortage of civilian manpower and finds it difficult to run its establishments, particularly the workshops for maintenance of warships and equipment. 

The Navy is also poised to commission its new naval base at Karwar with a modern Syncrolift, which is considered one of the most modern naval bases in the world. The Navy has told the Government that it would not be able to operate the facility for want of adequate civilian staff according to the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Western Naval Command, Vice Admiral Madanjit Singh. Admiral Singh was talking to reporters on board the aircraft carrier, INS Viraat, after a demonstration exercise of the Western Fleet. He said there was a 31 per cent shortage of civilian manpower. The Karwar naval base was scheduled for commissioning in May 2006 and immediate sanctions of manpower were needed.

The Navy had plans to hold the National Fleet Review in February 2006. The President would preside over the event. Besides the warships of the Navy and Coast Guard vessels, merchant ships, oil exploration platforms, fishing vessels of the Indian companies and research vessels would participate in the Review. 

Admiral Singh said that the proposal for acquiring and building the French Scorpene submarines, had been sent to the Cabinet Committee on Security for approval. These submarines would be built at Mazagon Docks. 

Admiral Singh said that the Russian Amur submarines were also being considered because the Navy was interested in having two types of submarines. It now has three types of submarines in its inventory Russian Kilo and Foxtrot and German HDW hunter-killers. But several of them needed to be replaced. The Navy had funded building of the naval variant of the LCA and expected it to take off in three to four years.

The Navy has ambitious plans but the order process has been slow for some reasons and it was seen that the proposed Naval Budget was only one third of the Air Force budget for 2005-6 as the IAF has also committed a lot.

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