navy: Navy goes full steam ahead for indigenization amidst cut down in foreign arms procurements | India News

NEW DELHI: With the government cutting down on foreign arms procurements, the Navy has further stepped on the gas for indigenization, with 39 of its 41 warships on order being built in India and around 3,400 `items’ being indigenized till now.
The Navy also has the initial approval or `acceptance of necessity (AoN) for another 47 warships and submarines to be built in India at a cost of over Rs 1.5 lakh crore in the future. “Warship-building in the country has a multiplier effect, with one shipyard job leading to the creation of around six jobs in the ancillary industries,” a defense official said.
But while India has achieved 90% indigenization in the `float ‘(hull, superstructure) component of a warship, the` move’ (propulsion) and `fight ‘(weapons and sensors) parts lag at 60% and 50%, respectively.
With the force transforming from a `Buyer’s Navy ‘to a` Builder’s Navy’ over the years, the endeavor now is to move towards achieving “almost full indigenization in the coming years”, the official said.
“Of the 3,400 items indigenized, almost 2,000 are machinery and electrical spares, 1,000 aviation and 250 weapon spares. The Navy has also majorly stepped-up its engagements with DRDO, domestic public and private industry, which includes MSMEs and niche start-ups, ”he added.
The force, for instance, is now working with defense PSU Hindustan Aeronautics for a `modified ‘version of the indigenous advanced light helicopter (ALH), which will be followed by a new` Utility Helicopter (Marine)’ for its warships.
These will add to the 24 submarine-hunting MH-60`Romeo ‘multi-mission helicopters, equipped with multi-mode radars and night-vision devices as well as armed with Hellfire missiles, MK-54 torpedoes and precision-kill rockets, to be inducted from July onwards under the Rs 15,157 crore ($ 2.13 billion) contract inked with the US in February 2020.
The 130-warship Navy, with around 230 aircraft, helicopters and drones, however, still has a long way to go. The original plan to reach 170 warships and 320 aircraft by 2027 has been deferred, with a new force structure being worked out in the new tri-service integrated capability development plan formulated for the 2022-2032 timeframe, as was reported by TOI earlier.
China, of course, is building vessels at an astonishing rate to further add to what is already the largest navy in the world with 355 warships and submarines. While India still enjoys a logistical advantage in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), China is hunting for more overseas bases and turnaround facilities in the region after Djibouti on the Horn of Africa and Pakistan’s ports.

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