Deterring India’s Maritime Threats

By Thomas Abraham 14-Jun-2018

Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) stands committed to all its customers to deliver the best quality warships within the stipulated timelines and cost-lines with the introduction of the latest modular concept of manufacturing technique. MDL has so far successfully delivered 850 plus vessels to domestic as well as international customers in the past. To further boost and strengthen the indigenisation efforts and give impetus to Make-in-India, MDL has also drawn-up a clear Road Map for Indigenisation which is a part of MDL’s Long-Term Perspective Plan that charts the course of the Shipyard over the next 15 years, and it is in sync with the Navy’s 15 Year Indigenisation Plan (2008-22), says Commodore Rakesh Anand, (IN Retd), CMD, MDL. While speaking with Aeromag, Cmde Anand sheds light onto MDL’s latest operations and indigenization efforts.


1. Could you talk briefly about how does MDL, being India's leading shipyard, contribute to strengthening the nation’s maritime capabilities?

MDL has built two SSK (Hunter Killer) Submarines & Medium Refit cum Up-gradation of four SSK Submarines for Indian Navy. MDL is the only shipyard in India which constructs conventional submarines.

MDL delivered Kalvari, the 1st Boat of Scorpene class on 21 Sep ’17 which was successfully commissioned on 14 Dec ’17. Boat 2 ‘Khanderi’ was launched on 12 Jan ’17 & currently sea trials are in progress and will be delivered to Indian Navy post completion of extensive trials. Boat 3 ‘Karanj’ was also successfully launched on 31 Jan ’18 & trials are in progress. Boat 4, 5 & 6 are at various stages of outfitting.

All these submarines will boost the maritime capability of Indian Navy & deter the threat from adversaries.

2. Recently MDL has launched the third Scorpene submarine, Karanj, built for Indian Navy. Could you talk more about the updates on Scorpene project?

Boat 3 ‘Karanj’ was successfully launched on 31 Jan ’18 & currently Harbour Acceptance Trials are in progress.

Boat 4, 5 & 6 are at advance stages of outfitting & all efforts are being made to deliver submarines with a gap of one year between boats.

Pressure hull fabrication of 06 Boats of Scorpene project has been completed & these facilities are lying idle since Dec ’12 due to lack of further submarine orders.

Further, outfitting activities of balance Boats is also nearing completion and hence associated facilities are underutilized. 

MDL has augmented infrastructure Viz. New Wet basin, Cradle Assembly Shop (CAS) and Submarine Section Assembly (SSA) workshop with an investment of approx. Rs 1000 Cr. in anticipation of future submarine orders including P 75-I project.

With rich experience of skilled & trained manpower for conventional submarine building and ready availability of infrastructure, MDL is looking forward for construction of additional submarines of Project-75 as well as P 75-I project.

3. Could you provide some details about the frigates, corvettes and destroyers now being built at the shipyard for the Indian Navy?

Present the following platforms are being built at MDL:

4 Missile Guided Stealth Destroyers (P15B)

P15B-Missile Destroyers are warships with latest weapons & sensor package. Under this project, MDL will build four Destroyers and deliveries are expected to be between 2020 to 2024. First ship of the class is launched on 20 April 2015 and the second on 17 Sep 2016. P15B ships have displacement of 7300 T and maximum speed of 31-32 knots. The vessel is equipped with Surface to Surface Missiles, Surface to Air Missiles, Anti-Submarine launchers. This vessel is also fitted with Multi-Mission Radar for surveillance along with medium range Air/surface surveillance radar and other advanced electronic warfare and decoys.

4 Sleek Stealth Frigates (P17A)

Project P17A differs in the very concept of shipbuilding by way of adoption of the modern technology of ‘Integrated Construction (IC) Concept’.  The IC concept, which is based on innovative build strategy and respective build plans for each ship, primarily focuses to reduce the overall build period. The IC concept involves construction of pre-outfitted modules/ blocks with equipment, systems, piping, vent trunking, etc installed in required place inside the well-defined fabricated hull & structural blocks, in workshops itself and thereafter integration/ buttoning up at the slipway or dry-dock, as the case may be.  The IC concept also provides flexibility in outsourcing of various modules/blocks for parallel fabrication/construction elsewhere besides being done in the single/ same shipbuilding yard.

P17A has a design deep displacement of 6400 tonnes and cruising speed of 18 knots and maximum speed of 30 knots. The new design ships are planned to be built using modern technology of ‘integrated construction’, which involves extensive pre-outfitting of about 60-70% at the block stage itself to reduce build periods and for enhancing quality of workmanship.

6 Scorpene Class Stealth Submarines-            

The Scorpene class submarines are being built in collaboration with NAVAL GROUP, NG (earlier DCNS) France. These incorporate the very latest in naval technology. At the heart of the submarine is the SUBTICS integrated combat system, a highly computerized central management system, which orchestrates the use of the submarine sensors and weapons. Submarine building facilities are augmented to meet the punishing schedules and stringent quality specifications of these boats. Construction of the first of six boats commenced on 14th December 2006, and the following boats taken up in quick succession ND are being simultaneously constructed with the guidance from NG, the French collaborator.

The first three boats ‘Kalvari’, ‘Khanderi’, and ‘Karanj’ have been launched. Kalvari is commissioned in Dec 2017.  Khanderi is undergoing rigorous trials and tests to certify each system to its fullest capacity. The same would eventually lead to commissioning of the boat into the Indian Navy by end 2018.

4. What are the indigenisation efforts taken by MDL in line with the government’s ‘Make in India’ programme?

To further boost and strengthen the indigenisation effort to provide focused impetus to the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of “Make-in-India, MDL has also drawn-up a clear Road Map for Indigenisation which is a part of MDL’s Long-Term Perspective Plan that charts the course of the Shipyard over the next 15 years. The Indigenisation Road Map which is in sync with the Navy’s 15 Year Indigenisation Plan (2008-22) spells out in detail MDL’s efforts to encourage indigenisation, provides a flow chart depicting the entire process of indigenisation and includes a list of Systems/Equipment/Items along with necessary technical details that MDL intends to indigenise in future.

MDL has set-up a dedicated Department of Indigenization in Oct 2015, with duties and responsibility as under: -

  1. Develop Indigenous Vendors for Items/Equipment that continue to be Imported
  2. Develop Additional Vendors for items/Equipment where there is only one source OR performance is not up to the mark.
  3. Explore Import Substitute for critical items.

MDL has also created a separate “Make-in-India” Webpage in MDL website that is linked to MoD’s website and has the details of various items/equipment required to be indigenized, their SOTRs, indigenization process and the contact details of nodal officer were uploaded. This resulted in several firms approaching MDL to undertake indigenous development of items listed in the Website. At present a total of 42 items have been listed for Indigenization in MDL Website under MDL Make-in-India Webpage. 


Expand MDL’s Role in Process of Indigenisation of warships.

Indigenisation Team formed to coordinate with IHQ-MoD(N).

Assist Navy in Identification of Equipment to be Indigenised for submarines.

Progressive Planned Increase of Indigenous Content of submarines.



Acquire Critical Technologies.

Entering into Joint Ventures (JVs).

Improvement InTechnology Received through ToT.


5. MDL is also involved in building rigs and other offshore platforms as well as passenger and merchant ships. Could you shed more light onto the latest developments in this regard?

MDL has built majority of the offshore oil exploration platforms such as jackets, rigs, process platforms and Multi Support vessels for ONGC. But presently, MDL’s focus is on fulfilment of Indian Navy’s requirement.

Hence, no such projects are currently taken up. However, export orders in different segments are being considered.