Poised to Mark Global Footprints

By Editor 14-Jun-2018

Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Limited (GRSE) is playing a key role in defence preparedness to produce the most modern warships through indigenization for the country aimed at self-reliance. GRSE has achieved more than 90% indigenous content on four Landing Craft Utility (LCU) Vessels for the Indian Navy with achievement of delivering them with Zero Shipbuilder’s Liability and Weapon & Sensors Trial completed thus setting a new benchmark in the Indian Warship Building. GRSE actively promotes participation of SMEs in outsourcing programs as a part of outsourcing policy. The contribution by SME vendors is measured in terms of financial values and it is approximately 36% of total value of non-core products procured by the yard annually, says Rear Admiral V K Saxena, IN (Retd.), CMD, Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited (GRSE). He speaks with Aeromag about the efforts by GRSE to promote defence indigenization and to become a global player in shipbuilding.

1. Recently GRSE has launched the Second Water Jet Propelled Fast Patrol Boat for Indian Coast Guard. Could you shed more light onto the FPV project?

GRSE is building five Fast Patrol Vessels (FPV) Class Ships for Indian Coast Guard. The entire design of these ships has been developed in-house by GRSE as per requirements specified by Indian Coast Guard. The vessels are indigenously designed having a tonnage of about 300 Tons.

These FPV are cost effective platforms suited for marine surveillance and rescue operation. These vessels allow its user to equip the vessels with armaments for use in combat, and this is suited for interception of fast moving surface craft and performs anti-smuggling, fishery protection and search and rescue operations.

2.    The construction of eight Landing Craft Utility Vehicles (LCUs) for the Indian Navy is one of the major projects of GRSE. What are the latest updates?

We have an order of eight landing craft utility vessels from the Indian Navy, out of which we have delivered four and the remaining are under different stages of construction.  These LCUs being built by GRSE are fully designed in house as per the requirements specified by Indian Navy. The balance four are under construction. GRSE has once again achieved the distinction of achieving more than 90% indigenous content on these ships with achievement of delivering them with Zero Shipbuilder’s Liability and Weapon & Sensors Trial completed thus setting a new benchmark in the Indian Warship Building.

3.    How does GRSE contribute to the maritime security of India? What are the major ongoing projects for Indian Navy and Coast Guard?

GRSE since 1960, has built and delivered 97 warships of various size & capabilities, starting from state of the art Corvettes, Multipurpose Frigates to Fast Patrol Vessels. GRSE has thus played a very important role in the of the country and always rose to the occasion. In addition to warships, GRSE has also built & supplied 770 various types of vessels, to carry men and materials, as well as for surveillance purpose at the Coast Line by the police forces of different states and union territories.

A few mentions, include the following: -

  • “INS AJAY”, the first warship made in the country after independence was built and delivered by GRSE in 1961.
  • GRSE is building the first four Anti-Submarine Warfare Corvettes (ASWCs) for the country as designed by the Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design. Three ships of the Kamorta Class ASWCs namely INS Kamorta, INS Kadmatt and INS Kiltan had already been delivered to the Indian Navy and commissioned. The fourth ship of the Kamorta class, INS Kavaratti is yet to be commissioned.
  • The First Fleet Replenishment Tanker, “INS ADITYA” for Indian Navy was built by GRSE.
  • Landing Ship Tanks INS Magar, INS Gharial, INS Shardul, INS Kesari and Airavat are indigenously designed amphibious ships having a tonnage of 5,650 tonnes, were supplied by GRSE.
  • GRSE has delivered the first ever warship built in India for Export, Offshore Patrol Vessel CGS Barracuda to the Republic of Government of Mauritius. CGS Barracuda was commissioned on 12 Mar 15 at Port Louis, Mauritius in the august presence of Prime Ministers of both the countries.
  • GRSE has supplied six (6) survey vessels capable of all types of Oceanographic Research and Hydrographic Survey to the Indian Navy named as INS Sandhyak, INS Nirdeshak, INS Nirupak, INS Investigator, INS Jamuna and INS Sutlej.
  • First Indian Shipyard to have built Hovercrafts for Indian Coast Guard.
  • The 08 Landing Craft Utilities being built by GRSE are fully designed in-house as per requirements specified by Indian Navy. These are biggest & fastest Landing Craft Utility Vessels worldwide in its category. Three ships have been delivered so far and balance five are under construction. GRSE has achieved the distinction of achieving more than 90% indigenous content on these ships with achievement of Zero Shipbuilder’s Liability and Weapons & Sensors Trial completed prior their delivery.

With reference to ongoing projects, GRSE is constructing ships which are under various stages of construction under 4 Projects for Indian Navy & Indian Coast Guard: -

ASW Corvette Project (P-28) (04 Ships)- The first three of the series of four ships – INS Kamorta, INS Kadmatt & INS Kiltan have already been delivered to Indian Navy. The fourth and last ship of the series, INS Kavaratti is in advanced stage of construction.

Landing Craft Utility (LCUs) Project (08 Ships) – The first four of the series of eight ships viz. L-51, L-52, L-53, L-54 have already been delivered to Indian Navy and serving the fleet in Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The remaining 04 ships are in advanced stages of construction.

Stealth Frigate Project: P-17A (03 Ships) - The ships are at pre-production stage. Orders have been placed for all pre-launch equipment/ items. The Ordering of post-launch items is in progress. The Hull fabrication of the first ship is in progress.

Recently, GRSE has been declared successful bidder for Indian Navy’s eight Anti-Submarine Warfare Shallow Water Crafts & four Survey Vessels for Hydrographic branch of the Indian Navy in competitive bidding process. In the emerging competitive scenario wherein orders on nomination have almost come to a close, with private players now in the fray for warships construction, it was a huge morale boost for team GRSE, a Defence Public Sector Undertaking to win these competitive price bids. 

4.    Could you talk about GRSE’s production capabilities and infrastructure? What are the expansion plans?

GRSE has been taking steps to ensure streamline & improve upon the processes and procedures, adopt modern practice and technology, enhance capacity and modernize infrastructure and improve on governance, in line with Government’s commitment for strong and effective Public Sector whose social objectives are met by its commercial functions.

GRSE had completed huge modernization programme in its main works that allows us to use modular construction for building warships, which enable us to reduce the shipbuilding period, improve quality through the implementation of integrated construction technology, and to construct ships in line with the global practices in the shipbuilding industry.

GRSE has enhanced its shipbuilding capacity by modernizing the infrastructure facilities. The new facility provides Modular and Integrated Construction of warships. In addition, revitalization of facilities at Raja Bagan Dockyard (i.e. refurbishment of Dry Dock No. 1 for pre-launch work of ships) is underway. With the above modernization and revitalization, our facilities will have capacity to build 18 ships (06 large & 12 small) simultaneously. The company is a pioneer in manufacturing Portable /Prefab/ Suspension Steel Bridges in India. The company has manufactured & supplied approx. 5100 bridges to the Indian Army, BRO and various State Governments.

5.    What are the various activities of GRSE’s ‘Make in India Cell’ to support the government programme?

GRSE has analysed complete production activity and identified core and strategic operations. Accordingly, comprehensive mapping of non-core activities has been carried out and a long-term outsourcing and vendor development strategy has been framed in line with the outsourcing and vendor development guidelines forwarded by Ministry of Defence. The yard has also identified outsourcing avenues/ products/ processes and a major part of the non-core activities are undertaken through outsourcing to domestic vendors.

Further, most of the Equipment/ Fittings/ Systems/ Yard Materials that are used on board warships built by GRSE are outsourced through indigenous sources. Only those Equipment/ Systems are procured from abroad, wherein the specifications provided by the customer (Indian Navy/ Indian Coast Guard) specify foreign suppliers. GRSE has no control over such imported equipment specified by the customer in Build Specification that are part of the contract.

The items which are low in cost, generic in nature, and less technology intensive are outsourced by the shipyard to Private Vendors/ SMEs. GRSE actively promotes participation of SMEs in outsourcing programs as a part of outsourcing policy. The contribution by SME vendors is measured in terms of financial values and it is approximately 36% of total value of non-core products procured by the yard annually.

Presently the production activities are being carried out through capable outsourced vendors developed for this purpose as long-term measure and the yard has planned to increase the same every year.

6.    Please elaborate on the activities of GRSE’s Engine Division at Ranchi? Any updates on the indigenisation of engines?

GRSE’s Engine Division develops cost effective, fuel efficient engines for the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard collaborating with an international entity i.e. M/s MTU Friedrichshafen GmbH, Germany and is equipped with world class modern infrastructure. The production division at DEP produces the advanced MTU 396-04, MTU 4000, MTU 1163, MTU 538 and MTU 183 class Diesel Engines.

A service partner agreement was signed with MTU India Private Limited for undertaking W6 routines of MTU 4,000, MTU 538 and MTU 396 series engines. Special efforts have resulted in high degree of indigenization of both engine components and accessories ensuring ready availability of Spares.

Our company has supplied over one hundred fifty-five (155) engines of various configurations for marine applications and has also carried out overhaul and repair of over eighty-one (81) engines of various series.

GRSE has signed license agreement with M/s MTU Germany on 04 Mar 2017 to facilitate assembly of 4000 Series engines from Semi-Knocked Down condition to Completely Built-up Unit, which are among the best engines in the category and additionally undertake manufacturing of parts in India.

GRSE has also signed a strategic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with an engine manufacturer for development and manufacturing of small size (50 – 500 KW) engines for marine application such as Diesel Alternators Onboard Naval/ Coast Guard Platforms.