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India Holds Keel Laying for Next-Generation Patrol Vessels

Vice Adm. B Siva Kumar leads the ceremony for the keel-laying, May 3 (Indian Navy)
Vice Adm. B Siva Kumar leads the ceremony for the keel-laying, May 3 (Indian Navy)

Published May 5, 2024 2:49 PM by The Maritime Executive

 

On Friday, the keel laying ceremony of the Indian Navy’s first Next Generation Offshore Patrol Vessels (NGOPVs) was held at Goa Shipyard.

The ceremony comes over a year after the Indian Ministry of Defense finalized contracts for 11 NGOPVs under the Buy India program for indigenously designed and manufactured defense platforms. Of the 11 vessels, seven will be built by GSL and the other four by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata. The total cost of this indigenous shipbuilding program is $1.2 billion, with delivery scheduled to begin in September 2026.

“The NGOPVs will further augment the Indian Navy’s combat capability to protect the economic and geopolitical interests of the nation,” said an Indian Navy spokesperson. In addition, the vessels will be used for antipiracy, coastal defense, surveillance, SAR and offshore asset protection.    

The NGOPVs are about 115 meters long and have a displacement of 2,500 tons, making this class of vessels significantly larger than the current patrol vessel class in service.

The navy believes the NGOPVs are a significant milestone in India’s ambition to support indigenous shipbuilding. Domestic shipbuilding of defense platforms in India has faced inordinate delays for decades.

However, this is changing with government emphasis on ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ (Self-reliant India) initiative. Currently, the navy has an orderbook of 67 ships, of which 65 of them are being built in Indian shipyards, according to statistics released last year.

To counter rising security threats in the Indian Ocean - and rising pressure from China - the Indian Navy has proposed to bolster its force capability level to around 200 warships by 2035.