Indian firm bids for building frigate in Philippines

Kolkata-based company competes with 5 others for Rs 2,000-cr deal

Indian firm bids for building frigate in Philippines

An Indian military shipyard is competing with five foreign firms to bag a Rs 2,000-crore contract in the Philippines, marking the coming of age for the Indian defence manufacturing sector.

Kolkata-based Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers joined the bidding process to make two frigates for the navy along with shipyards from Spain and France and three Korean yards. The bid is currently going through the technical evaluation and the final round for the clarification is scheduled in January 2015.

Moreover, GRSE will make 10-12 fast patrol boats for Vietnam for which India has extended a $100 million line of credit to the friendly neighbour nation when President Pranab Mukherjee visited Vietnam in September 2014.

“GRSE offers cost advantages because of cheap labour and sourcing of materials from within India,” said A K Verma, chairman and managing director of GRSE, which manufactured an offshore patrol vessel named Barracuda that will be handed over to Mauritius on Saturday.

The Rs 350 crore ($ 58 million) Barracuda is the first Indian warship to be exported to a country. Another defence public sector undertaking, Goa Shipyard, is building two off- shore patrol vessels for Sri Lanka. India’s military export has not taken off well so far though New Delhi remains one of the world’s largest arms importers.

In the last three fiscal, India’s export was Rs 512.48 crore in 2011-12; Rs 446.75 crore in 2012-13 and Rs 686.27 crore in 2013-14. Till September, 2014, India’s total defence equipment export was pegged at a low price of Rs 166.67 crore.

The Kolkata-based shipyard that made 92 warships for the Navy and Coast guard is now gearing up to make three stealth frigates. The project (P-17A), which involves construction of three ships at GRSE and four at Mazgaon Dock in Mumbai, awaits the approval Cabinet Committee of Security.

In addition, eight landing craft utility to carry tanks, armoured vehicle and troops and three anti-submarine warfare corvettes are under construction at GRSE. “The first LCU will be delivered by the middle of 2015 and all eight would be handed to the Navy by 2016 end,” Verma said.

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