Navy fast tracks Fleet Support Ship Procurement
The Indian Navy plans to induct five brand new fleet support ship, Navy issues the Fleet Support Ship tender by early 2011, so far there is no real progress made in the procurement plan, and now only they speeding up the process, under this program Indian Navy set to receive five 40,000 tons of Large Fleet support ships which all to be built in India with private partners, with delivery period of First ship within 36 months and next ships in every six months, once the contract has been signed, those ships are mainly used to refuel and rearm Navy ships in the middle of the sea, to perform maritime missions much longer days.
As of now Indian navy operates two fleet support ships, one 35,000 ton Ship bought from Russia, and another 24,000 ton ship made by Indian GRSE, with the help from Italian Ship builder, the Navy need more such Replenishment support ships to power the Front line warships to perform mission long time and longer range, usually those fleet support ships can provide, fresh water, fuel and food items to overseas deployed Naval ships, which helps them to operate far more ranges, not only this, the Support ships can also brings needed Missiles and Spare parts, and provide mechanical supports, they are designed to tow any large sized ships, if any of their engines are dead.
The Total project value estimated some $1.3 billions for five ships, the ships barely carries costly missiles, Radars and another sub systems, that's why each ship valued less than some $250 millions, the cost looks low when the size is some 40,000 tons and 200 meters length. It's earlier reported that Spanish Ship Builder Navantia teamed with Indian L&T to construct those ships in India, and South Korean Hyundai teamed with Indian state owned Hindustan Shipyard to build Navy's FSS, however the Process yet to complete, and ministry yet to choose the winner, last year the DAC cleared the $1.3 billion FSS project, however it's still not get authorization from Cabinet committee and Finance ministry, and It's expected that they will clear the Program coming weeks.
As per the Initial requirements the FSS should capable to transfer oil and foods to all Indian Surface ships, by using abeam or stern transferring methods, which allows faster refueling in parallel ways, allows quick resupply to Naval ships side by side, the Ships size as already mentioned like full load of some 40,000 tons and 200 meter length, means the empty weight of the ship comes down by some 20,000 tons, and Navy insists the ship could be constructed with dual hull for better survivability and hardened structure, even with the full weight the Ship could travel more than 20 knots at maximum speed, and normal speed of some 15 knots, in Normal speeds the ship should capable to go some 12,000 nautical miles without any stopping, and in maximum speed it can travel some 9000 nautical miles, with the endurance one can round the globe without going to any port for refuel or resupply, the ship designed to stay in the sea for more than sixty days.
Most of the Fleet support ships are withdrawn from service once it served some 30 years, the upcoming FSS ships too fall in the same category, the ship needs to be designed to survive any rough sea seasons, the nominal requirement is sea state 8, and perform replenishing missions in Sea state 5, the Ship comes with a Helicopter landing facility and supports a helicopter inside it's hanger, medium Helicopters weights up to some 17 tons can be operated from the Ship, which can perform multi purpose naval missions,
The FSS can pump the ship's primary fuel of High sulphur diesel at the rate of 2400 tons per hour, and Aviation fuel at 1200 tons per hour, Fresh water at 750 tons per hour, while the ship always carry some 20,000 tons of Ship's fuel, and 2500 tons of aviation fuel, the exact carrying value will not be available for public's. the FSS can perform simultaneous transfer of fuels and others to the receiver ship. the ship can also transport heavy weight torpedo's, missiles and ammunition, and transfer it to other Ships.
The Ship has no fire power capability, it comes with two stand alone AK 630 CIWS for primary air defense, and some 12.7 mm machine guns for fire support, the ship can be manned by some 200+ crews and Officers, the ships defensive systems comprised with chaff and smoke counter measure systems, and equipped with home made Advanced Torpedo Defense System, along with electronic counter measure suites and communication intelligence systems. the ship primary navigation and surface search radar comprised by two L band Radar and single E/F band radar.
Once the contract has been signed before the end of this year, Navy will taken deliver of first ship by 2018 by completing all sea, harbor and mission trails, and receives one ships every next six months.