Saturday, May 22, 2010

Indian Navy Looks At Increasing Capabilities

Funding and Policy

Aerospace Daily & Defense Report May 19 , 2010 , p. 09
Neelam Mathews

NEW DELHI — The Indian navy is changing its planning strategy to an emphasis on capabilities rather than focusing on the number of platforms, according to naval chief Adm. Nirmal Verma, and will be a lean, fully networked force by 2022.

“There is a change from the old ‘bean-counting’ philosophy to one that concentrates upon ‘capabilities’,” Verma says.

Keeping pace with the navy’s current Maritime Capability Perspective Plan (MCPP), there are currently 34 ships and submarines on order from Indian shipyards. It has been said the Indian navy lacks a power projection capability. However, the Indian navy of 2022, Verma says, would be appropriately balanced between “blue-water” forces, “brown-water” offensive and defensive forces, and “auxiliary” forces that would enhance sustainability and reach, apart from providing hydrographic, training and rescue capability.

Coastal security measures are also being augmented in conjunction with the coast guard. The blue-water forces would be centered upon two carrier strike groups with a suitable mix of multimission-capable destroyers, frigates and corvettes. “We are looking at a submarine force not much larger than our present one in terms of numbers, but certainly one that is adequately equipped to meet the operational requirements of the future,” Verma says. “Our primary area of maritime interest is the Indian Ocean, which is an area of roughly 74 million square kilometers, and to maintain even minimal surveillance over this area requires significant capabilities.

“We are also seeking to modernize our mine countermeasures and mine-hunting capabilities. Similarly, shallow-water anti-submarine warfare capability, which is predominantly defensive in nature, will be given a thrust and we expect to induct specialized ASW [anti-submarine warfare] corvettes and ASW shallow water craft to enhance this capability,” Verma says.

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