Indian Navy launches fresh hunt to buy 12 minesweepers from Indian shipyards | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Indian Navy launches fresh hunt to buy 12 minesweepers from Indian shipyards

By, New Delhi
Aug 05, 2023 03:27 AM IST

The latest attempt to buy the MCMVs comes after at least three failed attempts during the last 15 years.

The Indian Navy has launched a fresh hunt to buy 12 mine counter-measure vessels (MCMVs) from Indian shipyards to strengthen its mine-warfare capabilities, officials aware of the matter said on Friday.

Indian Navy's INS Chennai undertook a Passage Exercise with Hellenic Naval Ship Nikiforos Fokas in the Aegean Sea on July 29.(Indian Navy twitter)
Indian Navy's INS Chennai undertook a Passage Exercise with Hellenic Naval Ship Nikiforos Fokas in the Aegean Sea on July 29.(Indian Navy twitter)

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The minesweepers, capable of finding, destroying and laying mines, would be constructed over a period of eight years, with the order to be split between the lowest and the second-lowest bidding shipyards, according to a government request for information (RFI) published on Thursday.

The latest attempt to buy the MCMVs comes after at least three failed attempts during the last 15 years.

The development is significant as the navy currently does not operate even a single minesweeper, with the last among a fleet of six such vessels (bought from the erstwhile Soviet Union in the late 1970s) being decommissioned four years ago, the officials said asking not to be named.

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“Twelve MCMVs are planned to be acquired. The anticipated delivery timeline for the MCMVs is proposed between 2030 and 2037. The order is planned to be split between L1 (lowest bidder) and L2 shipyards in the ratio of 8:4, wherein L2 shipyard will be required to construct the ships at the L1 cost,” the RFI said.

The development comes five years after negotiations with a South Korean shipyard for new minesweeper vessels collapsed at the final stage, delivering a blow to the Indian Navy’s efforts to bolster its mine-warfare capabilities.

The 32,640-crore programme for 12 MCMVs to be built at Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) in collaboration with a Busan-based yard, Kangnam Corporation, was then pegged as one of the costliest Make in India initiatives.

Also, in 2014, the government had scrapped a contract to build minesweepers in India in partnership with Kangnam Corporation amid allegations that the Korean firm had hired middlemen to swing the deal in its favour.

The RFI lists out the roles the vessels should be able to perform.

“The MCMVs should be able to carry out operational roles, including mine counter-measure operations using unmanned MCM suite, channel mapping, route survey and sanitisation, search and rescue and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and mine laying,” it said. The MCMVs should be capable of operating in Indian Ocean region, the RFI said.

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