The Defence Ministry on Friday signed a contract with Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL), Visakhapatnam, to acquire five Fleet Support Ships (FSS) at an overall cost of Rs 19,000 crore.
The move will be a major boost to the goal of achieving self-reliance in defence manufacturing as these ships will be indigenously designed and constructed by HSL, Visakhapatnam, the Defence Ministry said in a statement. The Cabinet Committee on Security had approved the acquisition of these ships during its meeting on August 16, the ministry said.
“The FSS will be employed for replenishing ships at sea with fuel, water, ammunition and stores, enabling the Indian Naval Fleet to operate for prolonged periods without returning to harbour,” it said.
It added that these ships would enhance the strategic reach and mobility of the fleet and their induction will significantly enhance the blue water capability of the Indian Navy.
The ships can also be deployed for evacuation of people and human assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations.
The FSS of 44,000 tonnes will be the first-of-its kind to be built in India by an Indian shipyard.
The ministry said the project will generate employment of nearly 168.8 lakh mandays over a period of eight years.
“The construction of these ships will provide a new dimension to the Indian shipbuilding industry and encourage active participation of associated industries, including MSMEs,” the ministry said.