French warship builder DCNS and Indian private shipyard Pipavav announced a ‘strategic partnership’, today, ‘for bringing DCNS technologies, methods and skills into Pipavav’, according to a statement issued today.
The statement said, “The focus of the teaming is to build the highest state of the art strategic assets including modern warships for the Indian Navy and Coast Guard.”
The statement quoted Patrick Boissier, DCNS Chairman and CEO, as saying, “Through the P75 Scorpene submarines, the on-going indigenization program and DCNS India, we are working to enlarge our footprint in India. This strategic partnership with Pipavav again demonstrates DCNS’ confidence in the growing capabilities and long term development of the Indian defense industries.”
Pipavav Chairman, Nikhil Gandhi, was quoted as saying, “DCNS is well known for its high tech and very efficient platforms such as Scorpene submarines, Mistral-Class LPDs, FREMM frigates and innovative Gowind vessels (Corvettes and Offshore Patrol Vessels) among others. DCNS and Pipavav are to provide India with advanced expertise on naval ships. The synergies between India’s largest integrated shipyard and the proficiency of the largest European naval defense company will allow cost effective and timely manufacturing of high class vessels for the benefit of all Customers”.
Pierre Legros, DCNS Head of the Surface Ships division concluded “DCNS’s pledge is to become a key technology and Know-How Provider (KHP) to Pipavav. Our objective is to propose modern manufacturing processes together with state of the art platforms. DCNS is committed to transfer the technologies needed to support India’s national security needs”.
This strategic partnership is likely in furtherance of the DCNS-Pipavav joint bid to supply the Indian Navy with Landing Platform Dock (LPD) vessels. DCNS has already partnered with Pipavav to respond to the Indian Navy Request for Information (RFI) for the acquisition of four LPDs, with its Mistral design, already in service in the French Navy. Four such Mistral-class LPDs are also being acquired by Russia.
While Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) at Visakhapatnam has been nominated to build two of the LPDs, the Indian private shipyard, as well as the vessel-type, is to be decided by competitive tender.
In an earlier interview with StratPost, Managing Director of DCNS India, Bernard Buisson, said, “We are offering the Mistral and we have teamed up with Pipavav because you know – Pipavav has a large shipyard – they have the facilities already existing to manufacture this type of ship. Because it’s a 200-meter ship – 21,000 tons, so its a big ship and they have the capabilities, so we’ve teamed up with them.”
He said that since the LPD project is ‘Buy and Make Indian’, a private shipyard will be the prime contractor and DCNS is partnering with Pipavav on this to be the ‘know-how provider’. DCNS has also be in touch with HSL in this regard, ‘Because HSL will do, for example, two LPDs’, besides, with respect to the HSL nomination for building some of the P 75I submarines.
P 75I or Project 75 I is the competition to build the next line of six submarines for the Indian Navy, for which DCNS is also competing.
Buisson said DCNS proposes using the integrated construction method, after transfer of technology, which he called ‘build by blocks’, explaining, “All the blocks are prepared separately, outfitted, put all the equipment and then after that you put all the blocks and make the ship. It’s like Lego.”
Buisson said DCNS has employed this method to build frigates as well as the Mistral. He expected the Request for Proposal (RFP) to be issued sometime in the middle of this year.
Six of the DCNS-designed Scorpene submarines are being built at Mazagon Dock Limited in Mumbai, while Pipavav has a joint venture with Mazagon Dock Limited to participate in warship construction for the Indian Navy.