T he Indian Navy has decided on its choice for a Mine Counter Measures Vessel [MCMV]. The navy and the defense ministry have identified South Korea’s Kangnam Corporation as the L1 vendor [lowest bidding and technically qualified] for the procurement of eight such vessels. Italy’s Intermarine, which was also part of the technically qualified shortlist, was beaten by Kangnam on price when the commercial bids were opened.
While the Contract Negotiation Committee [CNC] still has to conclude a final agreement on the price with the vendor, it is expected to be in the region of USD 670 million [INR 3000 Crore].
Two MCMVs will be built in South Korea, while the remaining six will be built by Goa Shipyard Limited [GSL] under Licensed Production by Transfer of Technology.
MCMVs are warships that combine the roles of mine sweepers and mine hunters and in terms of capability, lie somewhere in between these two types of vessels.
The US had offered India two of its decommissioned Osprey-class mine hunters last year, after India expressed interest in April, 2005. But there has not yet been any movement on this and it is open to question whether India retains any interest in the Ospreys, especially after the Korean order.
Kangnam Corporation will have to deliver the first two MCMVs by 2016, after which, user trials and acceptance will take place. GSL is to complete delivery of the license-produced six by 2018.