Friday, December 2, 2011

Chief of Navy Staff, Admiral Nirmal Verma - Address to media on Navy Day (Watch this space for more…….)

Posted by- Neelam Mathews
Dec 2, 2011


There is a growing acceptance of the fact that the maritime domain is the prime facilitator of our economic growth. More than 90% of our trade by volume and 77% by value is transported over the seas. Over 97% of our energy needs of oil are either imported or produced from offshore fields. Consequently, our economic growth is inextricably linked to the seas.

We have commenced induction of assets and manpower and setting up of infrastructure to consolidate our coastal security organisation. Further, indigenous development of naval armament and equipment has been a focus area of the Navy and I am happy to state that there has been significant progress in this field.

Perspective planning is the key to building and maintaining a force structure….. I am glad to note that earlier this year, we have formulated the Maritime Capabilities Perspective Plan and formalized the XII plan for 2012-17.  

As I reiterate our firm commitment to the continued development of our indigenous warship building capability I must also add that we are keen that the capability of both public and private sector shipyards be scaled up to deliver state-of-the-art warships that meet our future needs in time frames that match global standards.

…With the aim to enhance synergy between the Navy and the industry, we have compiled a Naval Technology Perspective and Capability Roadmap, to keep the industry informed about the future requirements of the Navy in terms of technology and desired capability……

The induction program is continuing apace and over the next five years we expect to induct ships/submarines at an average rate of 5 ships per year provided the yards deliver as per contracted timelines. This year we have concluded eight important contracts which include contracts for four destroyers, five Offshore Patrol Vessels, two Cadet Training Ships, eight Landing Craft Utility and Fast Interceptor Craft for coastal security duties. We are also looking forward to soon concluding contracts for Mine Counter Measure vessels and P 17A frigates.

Amongst the major projects, under construction in Indian shipyards, are the three ships of Kolkata Class (P-15A), four P- 15B ships which are an advanced version of the Kolkata Class and the six P 75 submarines, all at Mazagaon Dock Limited, Mumbai. Four Anti Surface Warfare Corvettes are being built at Garden Reach Ship-builders, Kolkata. In addition, nine Naval Offshore Patrol Vessels are under construction at Goa Shipyard Limited and a private Shipyard…..

We expect to induct one Shivalik class frigate – Sahyadri, one Offshore Patrol Vessel, one Kolkata class destroyer, one P-28 ASW Corvette, three Catamaran Hull Survey Vessels and twenty five Fast Interceptor Craft over the next one year.

Amongst the overseas projects, the refurbishment of Vikramaditya is progressing on track and the ship is expected to be delivered in December 2012. The three Follow-on ships of Talwar class, under construction at Russia are likely to be delivered in the time frame 2012-13.

The delivery of 16 carrier borne MiG 29K aircraft, as per the initial contract will be completed by the end of the year. We have also signed a contract for 29 more aircraft, the delivery of which is likely to commence from April next year. The Naval version of the LCA is under development and two main engine runs of the first prototype have been carried out. The prototype is expected to do the much delayed first flight by the first quarter of 2012. Once successful flight trials are completed, we intend to go ahead with a Limited Series Production (LSP) of the aircraft, in preparation for future inductions.

Further, the induction of Hawk AJT commencing 2013 would facilitate advanced training of our young pilots in developing requisite flying skills over sea prior to graduating to deck based fighter aircraft.

The Mid Life Upgrade of existing Seaking and Kamov helicopters, aimed at upgrading their weapon and sensor package would be undertaken in the XII Plan period. Further, efforts are in hand for acquiring Multirole helicopters, additional Air Early Warning helicopters and utility helicopters. The field evaluation for procurement of 16 Multirole helicopters was concluded recently and the contract negotiations should commence by early 2012.
The Indian Navy recognizes the superior persistence and surveillance capabilities of unmanned assets and has factored their induction. The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle squadrons on the West Coast are fully operational and a new squadron on the East Coast is planned to be commissioned early next year.

In addition, we are in the process of procuring a number of weapons such as Heavy Machine Guns, assault and sniper rifles, Close Quarter Battle Carbines and Infantry Weapons Training Simulators, to bolster our personnel protection capabilities.

We have ….accorded high priority for creating supporting infrastructure for our new inductions.

Phase I of the Naval Base at Karwar, under Project Seabird, has been completed this year. …. We are now progressing the case for Phase II A of the project, which over the next eight to ten years ….. In addition, the Navy is also in the process of setting up Operational Turn Around (OTR) bases, Forward Operating Bases and Naval Air Enclaves along the coast which would enhance the reach and sustainability of our surveillance effort.

This year the Navy has provided a renewed impetus and focus towards creation of operational and administrative infrastructure in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Lakshadweep and Minicoy Islands. These islands are the country’s strategic outposts and augmentation of the facilities would enhance our reach and enable extended presence in the area.

We have undertaken extensive overseas deployments in consonance with our foreign policy and operated extensively in the Indian Ocean as also in the Western Pacific. ….This year, bilateral exercises were held with the navies of France, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, UK, USA, following exercises with Brazil and South Africa, last year. We have reinitiated a biennial series of Naval exercises with Sri Lanka titled SLINEX, the most recent one having been undertaken in September this year.
Piracy off the coast of Somalia has grown steadily over the years. While 217 attacks were reported off Somalia and in the Indian Ocean in 2009, they increased to 219 in 2010. The number of incidents have already reached 228 for the current year till Nov11. However, due to sustained efforts of navies and the shipping community, the success rate of piracy has dropped from 38% in 2008 to 11% this year.

Coastal security, as you may be aware, is a complex issue which requires not only seamless coordination across numerous organisations but also the setting up of significant technological infrastructure.  Towards this end, our objective has been to increase the synergy between various agencies by ensuring better sharing of information, and coordination of actions. While there has been the odd aberration, in other instances swift coordinated action brought success. 

In this context it is pertinent to highlight that, there has been an increase of about 70% in naval ship deployments and a 100% increase in aircraft deployments towards coastal security tasking.

Considerable progress has also been made in augmenting coastal security infrastructure. …. a contract for another 80 additional Fast Interceptor Craft has been signed in Aug 11. Static radars will be installed all along the coast by next year. A chain of Automatic Identification Systems will also come up along the coast by mid 2012. The pilot project for fitment of transponders on fishing vessels less than 20 meter of length, is planned for implementation in Gujarat and Maharashtra. After the initial trials this will be implemented in other coastal states.

The Navy is setting up the National Command Control Communication Intelligence or (NC3I) Network envisaged for coastal security which would be an independent network and interlink all the Coastal Stations with the Joint Maritime Operations Centres and the Headquarters of Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard.

Let me conclude by stating that we are committed to create and sustain a combat ready, technology enabled and networked force, capable of safeguarding our maritime interests and projecting combat power across littorals. We seek to evolve relevant conceptual frameworks and acquire the war fighting capabilities to operate across the full spectrum of conflict on sustained basis.

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