Garden Reach Shipyard wins Rs 6,311 crore contract - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Monday 29 April 2019

Garden Reach Shipyard wins Rs 6,311 crore contract

These anti-sub vessels will detect enemy submarines in the unusually shallow Arabian Sea

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 30th April 19

Kolkata-based defence shipyard, Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) signed a Rs 6,311 crore contract with the defence ministry on Monday to build eight anti-submarine warfare shallow water craft” (ASWCs) for the Indian Navy.

In parallel, Kerala state shipyard, Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL) will build another eight ASWCs for the same price. These 16 vessels are being built in two shipyard simultaneously to shorten the delivery period.

The ASWCs will fill a worrying capability gap in the navy: the ability to detect enemy submarines in the Arabian Sea, where the unusually shallow sea bed reflects sonar signals emitted by submarine hunting vessels, masking the signals reflected off the enemy submarine, and making it difficult to detect.

The ASWCs are equipped with sophisticated sonar, with an algorithm that differentiates the signals reflected off the enemy submarine from those bouncing off the sea bed.

These vessels will also have the ability to sprint fast for short bursts in order to maintain contact with a submarine it detects; as well as sophisticated data link networks for sharing information about the enemy submarine with friendly anti-submarine warships and aircraft.

GRSE says these vessels can also be used for search and rescue operations and, in their secondary role, for laying and detecting underwater mines.

With the Pakistani navy already possessing three sophisticated French submarines and in the process of procuring four Chinese submarines, the navy has been pushing for ASWCs. Of even greater concern is Pakistan’s fleet of an estimated six miniature Italian submarines – called the Chariot – which can operate very effectively in shallow waters.

“It was a huge boost for team GRSE when the shipyard was declared successful in the competitive bid for design, construction and supply of eight ASWSWCs,” stated the shipyard on Monday, noting that this was a competitive procurement in which all public and private shipyards were permitted to complete. 

After the ASWC tender was issued in April 2014, it has taken five years to sign a contract. The first vessel is to be delivered within 42 months from the contract, that is by October 2022. After that, GRSE must deliver two more ASWCs annually, completing delivery by April 2026. 

GRSE is simultaneously building three stealth frigates for the navy under Project 17A, completing an order for four ASW corvettes under Project 28, while also building a range of other vessels – landing craft, fast patrol vessels and survey vessels for the navy and coast guard.

The ASWCs displace 750 tons, can sprint at 25 knots and are crewed by a complement of 57 sailors.


  1. Seriously! It took 5 years after tender to sign the contract. What if the enemy attacks tomorrow, are we telling them "Please wait, we are still signing the papers and expect to have weapons and equipment in a few years. Please come back when we are ready..".

  2. Finally!! The navy really needed this. Now all they need to induct is the NMRH and they will be all set with a full spectrum of ASW capabilities. The navy really needs those helicopters to protect the big expensive capital warships they keep inducting and to allow them to operate independently.

  3. It is a real apathy that this IAS lobby is out on destroying the very fabric which is the last bastion of defence. The time line for conclusion of a contract and tender start needs to be predefined to keep Indian edge maintained.


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