Aerospace Daily & Defense Report
NEW DELHI — Indian engineering and construction firm Larsen & Toubro has won an order worth $215 million for the design and construction of 36 high-speed interceptor boats for the Indian coast guard, and is in the running for more orders, including the Indian navy’s second line of conventional submarines.
Indigenously designed at L&T Marine & Ship Design Division, a part of the $8-billion company’s Heavy Engineering Division, the interceptor boats will have an aluminum-alloy hull construction with water jet propulsion for quick response. The interceptors also can operate effectively in shallow water, which is critical for near-shore action.
The Indian navy and coast guard have large requirements for defense vessels and submarines to enhance and replace their aging fleets. L&T has identified shipbuilding as a major thrust area. While the interceptor boats will be constructed at L&T’s existing shipyard at Hazira in the western state of Gujarat, a new shipyard being constructed at Katupalli near Ennore, Chennai, is expected to be ready by mid 2011 for larger vessels and ship repairs. The new greenfield shipyard will make vessels including compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas carriers and containers.
Focusing strongly on naval systems, L&T has been building special purpose semi-submersible roll-on/roll-off and lift on-lift off (ROo-ROo/LOo-LOo) and Heavy Lift ships for export at its Hazira Yard, which equipped to manufacture vessels up to 20,000 dead weight tons. L&T has been involved in the India-Russian project to build the supersonic cruise missile BrahMos and in India’s first nuclear-powered submarine in association with the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO).
Last year, EADS Defense & Security (D&S) and L&T Mumbai, announced a plan for a joint venture company for defense electronics in Talegaon near Pune. The new company is aimed at design, development, manufacturing and related services in the fields of electronic warfare, radar, military avionics and mobile systems (such as modular bridges) for military applications.
However, there is no news regarding the formation of the joint venture, as it was rejected because of the proposed structure, according to an EADS D&S spokesman,who adds that his company is still committed to realize the joint venture.
India permits an equity stake of 76/24 percent in favor of Indian companies for defense projects.
“Our joint venture is proof of our commitment to India. EADS would like to move beyond just providing high technology sales to India by creating an Indian industrial base. The cooperation with L&T is an important milestone to increase our industrial footprint in India,” EADS D&S CEOo Stefan Zoller said last year.
Since 2006, EADS D&S has had a partnership with the Defence Avionics Research Establishment, a DRDO laboratory based in Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore).
- Neelam Mathews