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17 Nov, 2023 16:07

India launches Amini, a reincarnation of Soviet-era warship

State-owned shipbuilder has delivered fourth of 16 anti-submarine vessels for the country’s navy
India launches Amini, a reincarnation of Soviet-era warship

India’s state-owned defense shipbuilder has launched INS Amini, an Anti-Submarine Warfare Shallow Water Craft (ASW-SWC) built for the country’s navy.

The vessel, named after a Lakshadweep archipelago island of “strategic maritime importance,” is the fourth in a series of eight anti-submarine watercraft it is building for the Indian Navy, which plans to acquire 16 of the vessels.

Kolkata-based Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) won the contract in 2019 for the construction of eight vessels. It then outsourced part of the order to its private-sector competitor L&T Shipbuilding, part of India’s largest infrastructure conglomerate Larsen & Toubro.

GRSE was under pressure to deliver these and other vessels for the Indian Navy on time. The remaining eight ships of the same class ordered by the Navy are being built by another state-run shipbuilder, Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL).

The L&T-built INS Amini was launched on Thursday at Kattupalli port in southern India, near Chennai. 

Economic Times reported last year that collaboration between state-owned and private shipbuilders represents a strategy “to marry” the technical competence of the former and the years of experience and operational flexibility of the latter. It added that, while GRSE is responsible for the design, procurement, production planning and coordination, quality management and related activities, L&T has been undertaking the construction-related jobs.

According to India’s Ministry of Defence, the 77-meter-long ship has a displacement of 900 tonnes, a maximum speed of 25 knots (46.3 kmph) and an endurance of approximately 1,800 nautical miles. INS Amini is designed to undertake anti-submarine operations in coastal waters as well as low-intensity maritime operations and mine-laying operations. The ASW SWC ships will have over 80% indigenous content.

The newly launched ASW ships belong to the Arnala class of vessels and will replace the currently in-service Abhay class of anti-submarine warfare corvettes, the last of which are expected to be decommissioned in 2025. Both types of ships are customized variants of the Soviet era Petya III-class frigate (Project 159M) and Pauk-class corvette (P33), respectively. 

According to Indian Defense News, INS Amini is the “reincarnation” of the INS Ajay, a warship built at a shipyard in the erstwhile Soviet Union that had joined the Navy in December 1974 and participated in several operations until it was decommissioned in 2002.

The Indian Navy is largely relying on Soviet-built vessels as well as modern ones built by Russia. This includes, apart from dozens of corvettes, seven Russian Kilo class diesel-electric attack submarines. India has also leased a nuclear-powered attack submarine for a decade. In 2019, the two countries signed a $3 billion deal for the lease to India of another Akula-class nuclear submarine for ten years. The new vessel will be delivered to the Indian Navy by 2025.

Russia is currently building two modified Admiral Grigorovich-class (Project 1135.6P/M) guided-missile frigates for the Indian Navy, while two more such frigates are being built in India at the state-run Goa Shipyard, with technical support from Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation. These vessels are expected to be delivered in 2024.

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