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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Who Will Supply 4 LPHs And Other Related Hardware For The Indian Navy?

Since the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 26, 2004, the landing platform dock (LPD) and the amphibious assault ship (LPH) have emerged as an instrument of soft power, with their on-board fleets of multi-purpose utility helicopters, landing craft (LCM), and air-cushion vehicles; plus their command-and-control capabilities and cavernous holds proving to be invaluable for disaster relief, small-scale policing or mass civilian evacuation operations. At the same time, the LPDs and LPHs have proven to be invaluable tools for undertaking asymmetric warfare (against pirates in the high seas), expeditionary amphibious campaigns (such as those undertaken by the Royal Navy in 1982 to retake the Falklands Islands), and low-intensity maritime operations involving vertical envelopment tactics, which the Indian Navy calls “effecting maritime manoeuvres from the sea”.

It was in the September 2004 issue of FORCE magazine that I had penned an analysis on the need for the Indian Navy to urgently begin planning for acquiring a modest fleet of no less than three LPHs for it to undertake both humanitarian relief operations within the Indian Ocean Region whenever required, as well as prepare for the prospects of undertaking power projection-based expeditionary amphibious campaigns with its own integral naval infantry assets (as opposed to the still existing flawed practice of transporting a mere mechanised battalion of the Indian Army on board large landing ship tanks (LST-L). It came as no surprise to me when my analysis was laughed upon and ridiculed in circles within Navy HQ, but suffice to say that this state of affairs lasted only for the following three months, following which Navy HQ, headed at that time by Admiral Arun Prakash, the Chief of the Naval Staff, directed the Directorate of Plans & Operations to begin preparing the NSQRs for procuring a fleet of LPHs with a great sense of urgency. However, matters did not move swiftly enough on the procurement front, despite the articulation and unveiling by Navy HQ of its doctrines for effecting maritime manoeuvres from the sea though joint amphibious warfare operations. This, however, did not deter the Navy from setting up—on June 24, 2008—its Advanced Amphibious Warfare School and Fleet Support Complex--in the enclave that will come up along the beach road on the outskirts of Kakinada, about 500km from Hyderabad, in the state of Andhra Pradesh. It is here that the Navy is quietly but progressively raising its first of three naval infantry battalions (to eventually become a Brigade-strength formation), which will be trained and equipped to undertake both amphibious and vertical envelopment air-assault operations by 2018.

On the procurement front, matters began to move only last October when the Cabinet Committee on National Security accorded approval to Navy HQ to begin drafting the request for Information (RFI) regarding the acquisition of four LPHs and related hardware under the ‘Buy and Make Indian’ clause of the Defence Procurement Policy (DPP-9). Under this clause, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) can invite proposals (based on a capability definition document) from those Indian shipbuilders from both the public sector and private sector that have the requisite financial and technical capabilities to enter into joint ventures with foreign shipbuilders and together undertake indigenous construction of the warships. In early December 2010, the Navy HQ issued its RFIs to Pipavav Defence & Offshore Engineering Company Ltd, Cochin Shipyard Ltd, Mazagon Docks Ltd, Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd, Larsen & Toubro Ltd. These shipyards were required to forward a Detailed Project Proposal outlining the roadmap for the development of design and construction of the LPHs. After the RFI responses were submitted by March 7 this year, the Detailed Project Proposal, thereafter, was examined by a Project Appraisal Committee (PAC) constituted by the MoD’s Acquisition Wing to verify the credentials of the foreign partners, together with confirming the acceptability of the respective joint ventures between the Indian shipyard and its foreign collaborator. By the end of next week the Indian shipyards shortlisted for issue of the request for Proposals (RFP) would be intimated. Thereafter, the MoD will invite responses to the RFP only from Indian Shipyards.

A detailed analysis of the already-issued RFI brings out several interesting indicators about both the overall configuration of the desired vessel and its performance/operational capabilities. For instance, the RFI has specified that the length of the vessel should be approximately 200 metres; the draught should not exceed 8 metres; the endurance at sea must be for 45 days; the diesel-electric propulsion system of should of either twin-shaft configuration (with twin rudders and fixed-pitch propellers) or shock-graded podded propulsion; the vessel must have a suitable well-deck for carrying amphibious craft like LCMs or LCACs and LCVPs on davits and should have the capability to launch these craft when underway; the vessel must be able to house combat vehicles (including main battle tanks, infantry combat vehicles and heavy trucks on one or more vehicle deck; and the vessel should be able to undertake all-weather operations involving heavylift helicopters of up to 35 tonnes MTOW. Weapon systems and mission sensors to go on board the projected four vessels will all be pre-selected (known also as customer-furnished or buyer-nominated equipment) and mentioned in the RFI. Such hardware will include the point-defence missile system (PDMS), close-in weapon system (CIWS), anti-torpedo decoy system, countermeasures dispensing system, 12.7mm heavy machine guns, and 7.62mm light machine guns. In addition, each of the four vessels will be required to have one E/F-band combined air-surface surveillance radar, one C/D band air surveillance radar, and an integrated marine navigation system employing X- and S-band navigation radars. But the RFI, in what can only be described as an act of omission, does not specify the kinds of active/passive hull-mounted panoramic sonar (low-frequency or ultra low-frequency) and minehunting sonar suites that is desired.
From the above-mentioned specifications outlined in the RFI, we can come to some probable conclusions. Firstly, the desired vessel’s dimensions clearly call for a LPH solution (with a maximum displacement of up to 21,000 tonnes), as opposed to the conventional smaller LPD or larger LHD. Secondly, the type of heavylift helicopters desired clearly limit the options (to be exercised under a separate contract involving competitive bidding) to the AgustaWestland AW-101, and Sikorsky’s S-92 Super Hawk and CH-53K Super Stallion. Thirdly, even though C/D band (old L-band) airspace surveillance radars THALES-built Smart-L (its S-1850M variant equipping South Korea’s Dokdo-class LHDs) and Selex Sistem Integrati’s Kronos-3D NV are available, the Indian Navy, by choosing to pre-select this piece of hardware, has already decided in favour of the naval variant of the EL/M-2282 AD-STAR active phased-array radar from the ELTA Systems subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries, which has been selected for the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (INS Vikrant) now being fabricated by Cochin Shipyard Ltd. The same goes for the desired E/F band (old S-band) air/surface volume search radar, for which the BAE Systems-built Sampson, Lockheed Martin/Raytheon SPY-4, and THALES’ Herakles MFR-30 could have been offered. Instead, the Israel Aerospace Industries/ELTA Systems-built EL/M-2248 MF-STAR liquid-cooled active phased-array radar (which has also been selected in a four-array configuration for INS Vikrant as well as for the three Project 15A Kolkata-class guided-missile destroyers, the four projected Project 15B DDGs and seven projected Project 17A guided-missile frigates, and may well be retrofitted on to the three existing Project 15 Delhi-class DDGs in the near future) has been pre-selected. The MF-STAR, which offers superior performance in high-moisture clutter conditions like rain or fog, and is excellent for scanning and tracking within a very large volume, employs multiple beam-forming and advanced high-PRF waveforms to extract stressing, low RCS threats even in conditions of heavy jamming and dense clutter. Key performance characteristics include three-dimensional volume search, anti-ship cruise missile missile horizon search, multi-airborne target tracking, surface surveillance, helicopter detection, gunnery control and splash spotting. The MF-STAR can initiate tracks against sea-skimming anti-ship cruise missiles at ranges in excess of 25km, and out to more than 250km for a high-flying combat aircraft. It can also provide mid-course guidance for the Baral-2/8 MR-SAM/LR-SAM.

It thus seems that the Indian Navy is terribly conservative by not embracing the concept of an integrated mast housing dual-band active phased-array radars (DBR) employing distributed S-band and X-band arrays, but using an unified back-end radar electronics and operating software. When using DBRs, a warship’s combat management system receives a single stream of data, and the radar itself is able to mix and match its antennae as the situation requires. At the design tier, this approach allows fewer radar antennae, all flush-mounted with the superstructure for maximum stealth. At the tactical tier, integration at the radar-level offers faster response time, faster adaptation to new situations, and better utilisation of the warship’s power, electronics, and bandwidth. At the life-cycle maintenance tier, it allows one-step upgrades to the radar suite as a whole. The use of active phased-array, digital beam-forming radar technologies will thus help DBR-equipped warships to survive saturation attacks. The DBR’s most salient feature is the ability to allocate groups of emitters within their thousands of individual modules to perform specific tasks, in order to track and guide MR-SAMs against tens of incoming sea-skimming anti-ship cruise missiles simultaneously. In addition, DBRs have uses such as very high-power electronic jammers, and/or high-bandwidth secure communications relays. As far as integrated S-/X-band marine navigation radars go, the competition is between UK-based Kelvin Hughes and Terma of Denmark.

Another area where the Navy seems to have favoured conservatism instead of playing technological leapfrog is in the area of propulsion system. While on one hand the Navy has been extremely eager to embrace the on-board electric ‘chappati’ (Indian bread) maker, it has, for unknown reasons, decided against an all-electric propulsion system in which, instead of a propulsion shaft connecting the two, the all-electric drive will use the warship’s engines (gas turbine or diesel) to burn fossil fuels to generate electricity, which will be routed down thick cables to an-electric motor that will drive its propellers. The advantages of such propulsion systems are many, including an appreciable enlargement of the well-deck, making the vessel’s superstructure more resistant ro damage by distributing engines and generators around the vessel, and easier on-board maintenance procedures, as some of the engines can be stopped without halting the warship.

Coming now to the weapons suite, the Navy has a choice of combinations to choose from, including the SeaRAM and Phalanx Block 1B from Raytheon, Sadral from MBDA integrated with OTOBreda of Italy’s twin-barrel 30mm/82 Compact or the Goalkeeper from THALES Nederland, the combination of Phalanx Block 1B/Barak-1 from Israel Aerospace Industries, and the combined Palma PDMS/CIWS from Russia’s Tulamashzavod JSC. It is believed that the Phalanx Block 1B/Barak-1 combination is the Navy’s preferred choice. The Navy’s shipboard decoy control and launching system of choice is ELBIT Systems’ DESEAVER-MK, which is already on board the three Project 16A Brahmaputra-class and three Project 17 Shivalik-class FFGs. The combat management system and ESM/ELINT/EW suites will be procured off-the-shelf as standard fitment along with the LPHs. Although not yet specified, but depending on space availability, the selected LPH model could also house a module containing up to 12 tactical NLOS-PGMs like the ‘Prahaar’, to be employed for providing lethal and long-range indirect fire-assaults in support of friendly naval infantry forces. Also not yet stated officially is the Navy’s requirement for shipborne attack helicopters, for which the HAL-developed LCH could emerge as the logical choice.

Finally, we come to the foreign shipbuilders with their respective proposals, comprising DCNS of France with its Mistral-BPC 21,300-tonne LPH, Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems with its 20,000-tonne MHD-200 LPH (with two separate heli-decks on two levels), Fincantieri of Italy with its  20,000-tonne Mosaic LPH design, South Korea’s Hanjin Heavy Industries & Constructions Co with its 18,800-tonne Dokdo-class LPH, The Netherlands-based Schelde Shipbuilding of the Royal Schelde Company with its 16,800-tonne Rotterdam-class LPD, Navantia of Spain with its Athlas 21,560-tonne LHD and 13,900-tonne Galicia-class LPD, and Northrop Grumman Ship Systems with its 25,000-tonne San Antonio LPD-17 design. From this list, the frontrunners are expected to be Mistral-BPC, MHD-200, Mosaic LPH, and the Dokdo-class LPH. While DCNs is believed to have joined forces with Pipavav Defence & Offshore Engineering Company Ltd, Mazagon Docks Ltd has aligned itself with Fincantieri, while Larsen & Toubro has linked up with ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems. It remains unclear whether or not GRSE and Cochin Shipyard Ltd will be invited to respond to the RFP. However, these two companies are unlikely to be left empty-handed, and are instead likely to get contracts for licence-building high-speed air-cushioned vehicles from either US-based Textron Marine and Land Systems (LCAC) or Hanjin Heavy Industries & Constructions Co (LSF-2), LCMs (with designs being offered by Navantia and Hanjin Heavy Industries & Constructions Co), or high-speed catamarans, for which France’s CNIM is likely to offer its L-CAT catamaran.

Between the expected frontrunners, the competition is expected to be fierce between the Dokdo-class LPH, Mistral-BPC and MHD-200. The Mistral-BPC has already been ordered by France (three units for €990 million) and Russia (four units for €1.12 billion). The MHD-200 is thought to cost no more than €150 million. The Mistral-BPC can carry up to 16 helicopters, four L-CAT catamarans or two air-cushion vehicles, 13 main battle tanks, around 100 other vehicles and a 450-strong infantry force. It has also facilities for the command staff required for waging a Brigade-sized expeditionary campaign, and is equipped with a 69-bed hospital. The MHD-200’s design concept is altogether different because, according to Thyssenkrupp, “the LPH needs to match container-ship technology to gray-ship thinking. For disaster relief, you need space for a big hospital--120 beds and a full trauma unit, or you need to be able to pull 2,000 people off the beach”. Another unusual feature of the MHD-200 is its stepped rear deck, which can be loaded with containerised supplies or used as an extra landing pad, with direct hangar access.

To conclude, it has indeed been an arduous process for the LPH procurement project, considering that the time elapsed between project conceptualsiation and issuance of RFPs has been five years--a task that could well have been fulfilled in less than two years had the Defence Acquisition Council been more efficient in its functioning. Add to that another four years to be taken for the contract award stage to be reached, plus another three years for launching of the first LPH, and we are then likely to see it entering service only around 2020—Prasun K. Sengupta


sachin_sathe said...


the san antonio class does not seem to possess the same helo-support facilities as the other projects.So wont it affect its chances as the verticle-deployment will suffer? also what is the true req of the IN regarding this project? do they want a large scale capability ala USN or are they focused on division level deployment at best?

also do post a writup on each contender.

do u have any info on the S-1000 ssk proposal as we have only heard the name. If so do post it.

Anonymous said...

I think last photo said it all (ship with US flag)

Think Tank said...

Dear Prasun...
Do Indian Defence Force is goin Global or wanna have total control on Indian Ocean...?LPD is needed to moveArmy with all itz Load in Battle Feild by Marine route...does Indian Army is creating ARMY MARINE CORPS...? B'case MARCOS don't need LPD's(though they need AW101 type Helos). FRENCH may be front runner...with German-Spanish & American. Doughtful that american will give san-antinio DCNS and German-Spanish are gon to play a role....Better make them in Russian stuck deal with FRENCH.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Sachin Sathe: Will post the narrative on the LPD competition later today. S-1000's description mis available at Fincantieri's website, but there's no word on the S-800 (a stretched version of the Amur 1650 SSK).

To Think Tank: Both the MoD and the Navy are (rightly so) of the view that it should be the Navy that should have its own integral naval infantry forces (up to Brigade-size formation) and should not employ an Army battalion (as these are rotated every three years and when they go they take all that they've learnt with them forever, and the replacement battalion has to re-learn everything from scratch all over again. Believe it or not, this type of wasted effort has been going on all this while! Now, the MoD and Navy have said enough is enough and it is time to get serious as far as capability and capacity build-ups go. That's why it is the Navy (not the Army) that is now building a joint amphibious warfare training establishment at Kakinada.

Anonymous said...

According to your knowledge which type has possible, and any idea about vendors taking part in it .
as RFP/RFI has been issued ,

Regarding project 17A - any current position/updates /including Aegis system offered for it

commonsense said...

Mr Sengupta,

any update on how the MMRCA competition is heading-it seems the Eurofighter group is planning to integrate the HARM anti-radar missile for the Indian requirement. Can't think of any European equivalent. And the Rafale may have lost out again in the UAE-will it affect its chances in India?

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@7:40PM: The offers from DCNS, Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems and South Korea's Hanjin Heavy Industries & Constructions Co are the most serious to be looked into. Regarding Project 17A, irregardless of which design is selected, the multi-function radar to be selected will be the EL/M-2248 MF-STAR S-band system from ELTA Systems. That was decided three years ago.

To Anon@9.21PM: I don't think its the end of days for the Rafale in the UAE. And like the EF-2000, the Rafale too has an open architecture avionics suite and therefore weapons integration/qualification of non-French PGMs like AGM-88 HARM or even the Zvesda-Strella Kh-31P Krypton is a non-issue.

buddha said...

with the aim to be blue water navy

india navy personel could exceed 1 lak in the next decade

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun,
Thanx for this informative article. I have some questions :

1) In one of your previous article you wrote that GRSE is offering Mistral and they collaboration with DCNS but here in this article you said Pipavav is offering Mistral. Which shipyard is offering Mistral Pipavav or GRSE ? Also there was no report of Pipavav tie-up with DCNS anywhere in the news.

2) How much each LPD is suppose to costs us, considering we want everything in that LPD according to our need ?

3) You said that Russia is purchasing 4 Mistral for €1.12 billion(around 400 million $ per ship) but according to reports the cost is actually just the double of what you said. So what is the actual cost of Mistral ?

4) CSS sanctioned 4 billion $ for 4 P8i and 4 LPDs, how much is allocated for LPDs?

5) Is EL/M-2248 MF-STAR S-band system from ELTA Systems is the best multi-function radar ?

6) Has Navantia also offered us Canberra class LHD and is noone offering us Juan Carlo ?

7) Is anyone offering us some new design specifically built for IN ?

8) Who is offering San Antonio ?

9) CAn you please clear the cost of MHD-200 ? Also can you tell me specs of MHD-200 (No.of helicopters, troops, weight etc.)?

10) Is navy looking for heaby lift chopper like V22, Ch53 etc. and attack choppers other than LCH ?

11) You talked about 3 battalions to be raised by IN, Is it the same marine corps that is planned by all 3 services ? If no, are other forces also raising such battalions ? Also how many soldiers will be their and will they be getting separate resources like US marine corps ?

12) How much a single Amur 1650 costs ?

Anonymous said...

Hi Prasun,
1) GRSE is offering Mistral or Pipavav ? In one of your previous article you said GRSE is offering Mistral.

2) Can MDL build these 4 amphibious considering they are part of almost every project of IN ? If not then why MOD wants one more project to get delayed by MDL ?

3) I also wanna make a correction that Russia is paying 1.12 billion euro for 2 Mistral not 4.

4) Is the cost of MHD-200 correct and latest and how much Amur 1650 SSK cost ?

5) Is EL/M-2248 MF-STAR S-band system from ELTA the best multi-function radar ?

6) When are expecting all 4 to be launched ? I mean has government or IN set up some time-frame like by 2020 ?

7) How many soldiers will be there in IN's marine corps ? Will they be given all the resources equivalent to US marine corps ?

Technology, Photograpy and Travel said...

Hi Prasun

I had been going thru multiple defence blogs for a long time right from ur inital blogs also

but what is fight between u and guys from BRakshak guys ?

Sorry to be offline

CITIZEN said...

can you explain the difference between LPD, LHD and LPH .these terms are really confusing me.

Anonymous said...

Nice & deepth article ,

Any particular reason why DCNS, and South Korea is most favour

DCNS Mistral may be costly, does its possible

''combination of Phalanx Block 1B/Barak-1'' - for closee range defense russia already providing us AK-630 its latestversion is far better and has double the range of Phalanx, why navy is favour of lesser capable Phalanx .

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To buddha: And about time too. This should have happened right after 1971.

To Anon@1.13PM:
1) Pipavav is offering the Mistral-BPC.
2) This time MDL may lose out.
3) The Russian order with DCNS is for 4 Mistrals.
4) That's TKMS told me earlier this week. Have no idea how much an Amur 1650 SSK costs.
5) That depends on the end-user's perception.
6) Between 2018 and 2020. Still very late as in India what can be done in eight months instead takes six years!
7) It is not a Corps, but a naval infantry brigade numbering about 3,500 personnel.

To Technology, Photography & Travel: Dunno. But I strongly suspect they're pathologically hostile to me and jealous of me and engage in abusive name-calling because, according to them, only they're endowed with all-knowing wisdom and folks like me--in their eyes--ought not to patiently reply to any type of queries or engage in any form of debate or share my thoughts or views with others, especially when such thoughts or views are seen to be contradicting their perceptions of reality. It's not my fight, I never started it but I'll surely not give in to their psychotic idiocracies.

To CITIZEN: LPD is what you see above to the LPD-17 San Antonio or the INS Jalashva, with a capacity for only four shipborne medium-lift helicopters, plus LCMs and air-cushion vehicles. LHD is a dedicated helicopter carrier carrying a up to 16-20 medium-/heavy-lift helicopters helicopters, while the LPH is a through-deck version of the LPD carrying six medium-lift or heavylift helicopters, plus LCMs and air-cushion vehicles.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@5.22PM: Of all the LPH contenders, only the Mistral-BPC and Dokdo-class are of contemporary design and promise to be the cheapest and quickest in terms of delivery schedule. The German, Spanish and Italian designs exist only on paper.
The Phalanx-1B's target acquisition/target tracking sensors are far better than those associated with the AK-630M. A better comparion would be the Palma versus the Phalanx-1B.

sachin_sathe said...


MDL may not get this project or shoulld not get tihs project because
1)MDL hasn't delivered any recent project on time & on budget.
2) MDL currently has a lot of diff. projects & not enough man-power to pull this one off.
3)Lack of adequate infrastructure.
wht r ur thoughts?

also wo't it be better to have a couple built at the OEM's shipyard rather than to sign the contract & find out we have no basic capability to build such a ship at all like it happned in the scorpene project?

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir

Any news on Mirage 2000 upgrade .Will it happen or not

In another forum a French Guy was saying that If India allowed all this upgradation work in France it would be much Cheaper and Faster

Is it true

Kumar said...

To Prasun saheb, well said and keep going, we all are with you.

Thanks for your wonderfull posts and comments/replies. Which only you can provide.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To sachin sathe: I'm sure MDL's working flat out to fulfill the Project 15A and 15B DDG orders and after that will get to build the first four of seven Project 17A frigates (with GRSE building the other three). Therefore, MDL has no spare capacity till 2020. The production schedule delays at MDL are also due to several factors beyond its control, especially with regard to the Project 15A DDG and Scorpene programmes. But it looks like this time the Pipavav/DCNS combine could bag the contract, since Pupavav has built some pretty impressive modular shipbuilding infrastructure, the kind of which very hard to match, unless L & T too comes up with a similar facility in Tamil Nadu in double quick time. Regarding the LPH orders, the first unit will be built abroad.

To Anon@6.40PM: It is true that if the Mirage 2000H/Ths were sent to France for upgrading, the contract value will come down. If at all the IAF insists on the upgrade programme, then the best option is to send them to France, since both HAL and the IAF's Base Repair Depots will be preoccupied with the upcoming Jaguar IS upgrade and MiG-29UPG upgrade programmes.

To Kumar: Many thanks.

Anonymous said...


Your post talks of both a volume search and a Multi-function radar.Isn't that more or less redundant for an amphibious assault ship??

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@12.32AM: Yes, it does, strangely. But that's what the Navy has specified in the RFI. I haven't come across this configuration in any other existing LPD or LPH or LHD. To quote the RFI: "ship would have one E/ F band combined air and surface surveillance radar and one C/D band air surveillance radar. All of these would be buyer nominated equipment."

Anonymous said...

This is a very very good blog

Anonymous said...

why are we only setting up a marine brigade, and not a corps. Can we sustain an expeditionary operation with just 3500 force. I agree we dont have the capability to lift a brigade even.

The dokdos of South korea is said to have plans to operate the F35/harrier. If we select the dokdo (i beleive the koreans might come damn cheaper) will we be able to ultimately place a few STOVL fighters with the marines. I mean have we made a policy to get out of the shores and operate just like USN dumping the age old only for self defence attitude (is it changed defence of self interests?)

i think we should not forget our biggest assets in Indian ocean the Andaman Nicobar islands. we should be ready to face a hostile take over of the islands and its recapture. it is too important to lose. and a dedicated marine corps might be a good answer.also our expatriates in persian gulf, african countries on verge of collapse etc. we have a lot of policing to do if we wish to take up.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon Above: The fact that expeditionary naval formations are a necessity for India can never be denied and i9s not lost on anyone. But when something needs to be created from scratch it is better to adopt the crawl, walk, run approach. Presently, the threat perceptions necessitate the creation of only a naval infantry brigade capable of being transported to the shores by air-cushion vehicles/catamarans and heavylift helicopters, and backed up by new-generation amphibious light tanks, amphibious armoured infantry fighting vehicles, attack helicopters, VTOL-UAVs, ultralightweight howitzers and 120mm mortar carriers firing guided-munitions, and carrier-based MRCAs, all of which is exactly what the Chinese PLA Marines are feverishly acquiring.

Anonymous said...

so , you say much possible for Mistral of DCNS , as per technical its better than Korean LPH , but Korean ship is comparable very lesser $$ than french .

Does US has accepted for tech transfer for Javelin , if yes what volume india will go for it.

Anonymous said...

INS Satpura - it has to be commissioned in jun/july 2011 , what is the current update

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@1:26PM: The South Korean LPH proposal promises to be not only cheaper, but also offers quicker delivery schedules.
No tech transfer are reqd for the Javelin ATGM as they will be procured off-the-shelf in only limited quantities for the special operations forces.

To Anon@3.06PM: No idea.

Anonymous said...

Dear SIR

Two Questions

1. On the Internet BOTH NEWS are Present


So Please Clarify Are we buying One or Both these Anti Tank Missiles

2. You have written about Special forces being armed with Javelin

SO will the spike be man portable or mounted on Indian Army Vehicles

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Anon@7.49PM: The Javelin ATGM in shoulder-launched configuration is measnt for the Indian special operations forces. The Spike-ER, on the other hand, has been shortlisted along with the PARS-3LR to go on board the IAF's Dhruv Mk4 helicopter gunships, since the HELINA from DRDO/Bharat Dynamics Ltd is nowhere in sight and is unlikely to be available before 2014.

Anonymous said...


Prasun K. Sengupta said...

Been there, and saw my stories uploaded there as well. Well done! Keep it up! The more the merrier.

joydeep ghosh said...

@ Prasun

With regard to your assumption on the propulsion system, I think can well be taken care-off at the building stage.

Also in case of favoritism, it all depends on who can provide all those systems at the lowest cost and within a specified time. If DCNS or any other builder can provide the favored systems at lowest cost and within time, it better to go with them.


Joydeep Ghosh

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To Joydeep Ghosh: For speedy contract implementation it is better to freeze the design when the contract is signed. If things get resolved during the building stage then it will only cause problems like that concerning the first two Project 28 ASW corvettes, whose construction began in 2006 and we have yet to see the first one being launched!
Project costing too is a labourious process primarily due to the Indian side's uncommercial decision-making process. For instance, DCNS has proposed that it build the first two Mistral LPHs in France and the other two in India. Fine uptil now. Then the MoD steps in and mandates that one LPH each be built at GRSE and Hindustan Shipyards Ltd. What kind of decision is this? How many years will it take Hindustan Shipyards to learn how to make naval vessels? Does it have any prior experience in fabricating warships of such size? At least GRSE has built all the LST-Ls.

Anonymous said...


Then the MoD steps in and mandates that one LPH each be built at GRSE and Hindustan Shipyards Ltd.
So in case DCNS wins the contract, who's going to build those LPH? Pipavav or GRSE and HSL? I too had read your earlier post that DCNS has tied up with GRSE. So all of a sudden how is it tying up with Pipavav for these LPH? Does Pipavav has any prior exp in building naval vessels of such size and complexity? Being so close to Pakistan is it wise to award such expensive and secretive naval projects to a shipyard which is within easy reach of enemy missiles, bombs and UAVs? If you ask me even Mumbai is no longer a safe location for building our naval vessels.

Anonymous said...


Australia has opted for Spain's LPH. So why are they not the favorites with our Navy? In terms of capability and configuration they are almost the same as Mistral.
It seems our online clamoring for LPH instead of LPDs has some effect.
I don't think these LPH will ever be used in war but they will be extremely valuable for peacekeeping, large scale evacuation (we can even help other south Asian nations to evacuate their citizens stuck in warzone) and disaster relief. Such awesome capabilities will gain India new respect in the world and probably bolster our case for permanent seat in UN security council.

Anonymous said...


Is there any plan to include V/STOL jets like F35B in these LPHs?