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Pipavav likely to get INS Vikramaditya refit order

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Mumbai: Pipavav Defence, a part of the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group, is likely to get the contract for a refit of INS Vikramaditya, the modified Kiev-class Russia-made aircraft carrier that entered the Indian Navy in 2013, informed sources said on Monday.

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The Indian Navy intends to have the first refit done immediately after its fleet review, planned sometime in February of 2016. In the meanwhile, the details of the repairs required at Pipavav, along with the financial quote, is being prepared, the sources added.

The refit is expected to take around four months. Pipavav is also in the race for the next set of aircraft carrieries to be built in India a project worth more than Rs.60,000 crore (less than $10 billion).

India, at present, has two fully operational aircraft carriers:

INS Viraat, a British-built ship that was first launched in the sea in 1953 and was commissioned in the Indian Navy in 1987. It is to be decommissioned next year.

INS Vikramaditya, a modified Kiev-class Russian aircraft carrier, which joined the Indian Navy in November 2013.

This apart, INS Vikrant, the country’s first indigenously-built aircraft carrier, was undocked at the Cochin Shipyard in June this year and touted as a milestone in domestic warship manufacturing.

The journey of INS Vikramaditya started as Kiev-class aircraft carrying cruiser “Baku” and was re-named after Admiral Sergey Georgiyevich Gorshkov.

Since the takeover by the Reliance Group, Pipavav Defence has seen some brisk developments. It has been selected by Zvyozdochka Shipyard of Russia for refit of EKM 877 submarines in India the refit of 24 submarines is seen as a potential business worth Rs.30,000 crore.

The company has also been selected by United Shipbuilding Company of Russia for the manufacture of four Talwar class frigates, sources added.

This apart, it had announced a pact last month with Russia’s JSC Ship Repairing Centre for medium re-fits and certification of the 877-EKM Submarines in India a project potentially worth Rs.11,000 crore ($1.7 billion).

Zvyozdochka, in fact, had already informed the Integrated Headquarters of Ministry of Defence (Indian Navy) about the selection of Pipavav Defence as its Indian partner for the medium refit and life certification of EKM 877 submarines in India.

Founded in 1954, Zvyozdochka is the premier ship-repairing centre in Russia and undertakes such work for warships and submarines of the Russian Navy. So far, 120 submarines and 90 warships have upgradaded and refurbished by it.

(IANS)

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Russia partners with Pipavav Defence to build Grigorivich frigates in India

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Photo Credit-Indian Defence News

New Delhi, (IANS): With India close to choosing Grigorivich frigates for its navy, Russia is partnering with Anil Ambani-led Pipavav Defence to build these ships under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” initiative, official sources said on Thursday.

They will be upgraded versions of Talwar-class ships, or the Russian equivalent of Krivak-III.

Photo Credit-Indian Defence News
Photo Credit-Indian Defence News

Confirming this to IANS, at least two senior defense officials said a team from Russia evaluated three or four private and state-run shipyards as they were keen on an Indian partner if the ships were to be built in India. This will be a pre-condition for the order valued at $3-$3.5 billion.

The sites evaluated were Pipavav’s yard in Gujarat, Larsen and Toubro’s unit at Ennore, and the state-run Cochin Shipyard in Kerala. Pipavav, a majority stake in which was acquired by the Reliance Group a few months ago, emerged the winner.

“The Prime Minister’s Office is closely watching the development,” one of the two officials told IANS. “This is likely to be an order that will be placed on the Government of Russia by our government.”

Incidentally, the development comes against the backdrop of the Navy vice chief, Vice Admiral P. Murugesan, stating on Tuesday that India was exploring the possibility of getting upgraded Talwar-class ships and was in talks with Russia for its Grigorivich frigates technology.

“As per our maritime perspective plan, we have to build a certain number of ships in a certain time. We are exploring the possibility to expedite the acquisition of certain number of ships,” Murugesan told reporters here. “But this will not be an import. It has to be made in India.”

The idea is to have a 198-ship force by 2027, up from the current 137 vessels.

India has been stressing on domestic defense production under the “Make in India” program, an important aspect of which is to get technology transfers and inviting foreign firms to manufacture in India.

The Grigorivichs are improved variants of the six Talwar-class frigates the navy obtained between 2003 and 2013. The maritime capability perspective plan of the Indian Navy envisages a 198-ship force by 2027, up from the current 137 vessels.

Already, 48 warships are currently under construction at Indian shipyards, including aircraft carriers, frigates, destroyers, submarines, corvettes, and fast attack craft.

In March, the Reliance Group had announced its acquisition of a 18-percent stake from the then promoters of Pipavav Defence, apart from a 26-percent mandatory open offer.

Pipavav’s facility is at the location by the same name on the Gujarat coast and claims modern, versatile engineering, and fabrication facilities with shipbuilding infrastructure that is also suitable for the construction of a wide range of warships and submarines.

The company is said to be a strong contender for a tender, potentially worth Rs.60,000 crore, to build six advanced submarines for the navy along with five other private and state-run firms such as Larsen and Toubro, Pipavav Defence, and the state-run Mazagon dockyard.