NEW DELHI — India's Goa Shipyard Ltd. (GSL) is looking for international companies with the technology the state-owned company needs to build 12 mine countermeasures vessels (MCMVs) for the Indian Navy.

NEW DELHI — India's state-owned Goa Shipyard Ltd. (GSL), which was awarded the $5 billion noncompetitive contract in 2014, on nomination basis without any competition, to build 12 mine counter-measures vessels (MCMVs), has floated a global expression of interest (EOI) to from companies that willing to transfer ofthe technology (tot) to build the vessels to the Indian shipyard.

Analysts said Such a move could push the cost of building the MCMVs ships in India could be higher compared with to those built overseas, analysts here said, but noted the there would be absorption of the technology would, in the long run, allow India to build more MCMVs.

An GSL executive of GSL said, they are hopeful of the company hopes for a good response to get the tot technology it needs from overseas. adding that The EOI has been was sent to South Korea's Kangnam, Italy's Intermarine, Spain's Navantia, US-based Lockheed Martin, Germany's Thyssenkrupp and two Russian shipyards, he said.

GSL will short-list foreign shipyards with capability for design and construction of a single-skin, non-stiffened structure for the MCMV. Thereafter A formal tender will be given to the short-listed companies will follow, the GSL executive said.

The value of the transfer of technology (tot) contract is over more than $1 billion, or about which is around 20 percent of the total value of the contract, an Indian Navy official said.

Last year, the Ministry of Defense awarded the contract to GS: after cancelling canceled a 2008 global tender in which Kangnam of South Korea had emerged as the winner because of the South Korean company's alleged use of defense agents in pursuing the deal by the South Korean, which overseas defense companies are not legally allowed to do under Indian hire by law.

Kangnam of South Korea, however, appears to be staging a re-entry for the new ToT technology transfer contract, analysts said.

"Kangnam who have already invested time and effort and would be ready with the details," said Shyam Kumar Singh, a retired Indian navy captain. "As far as Intermarine of Italy is concerned, they have to compete with Kangnam, which is already ahead." says Shyam Kumar Singh, retired Indian navy captain.

Even in the 2008 global tender Kangnam had bettered Italy's Intermarine shipyard to emerge as the front runner. However, Italy's Intermarine approached India's anti-fraud agency central vigilance commission with allegations of lack of transparency in procurement, leading to the cancellation of the tender, said a MoD source.

While the MCMV acquisition of MCMV has been is delayed due to cancellation of the original global tender and the GSL contract awarding the contract to GSL, analysts say the absorption of technology would help in building more vessels in the future.

"Minesweepers or mine countermeasure vessels are very sophisticated technology products," said Sujeet Samaddar, a retired Indian Navy commodore. "Including hull material, acoustic and magnetic reduced signatures, mine-hunting sonars and remotely piloted vehicles, and also the design methodology are not easy. That said, it is not undoable in India, but that is like reinventing the wheel." says Sujeet Samaddar, retired Indian Navy commodore.

Anil Jai Singh, a retired Indian Navy commodore, said building the MCMV may not be exceedingly expensive. "More important will be the development of an indigenous capability to build a specialized vessel," he said. "On the choice of hull, the Navy must have taken an informed decision." says Singh.

The Navy wants 800- to 1,000-tonne vessels with composite anti-magnetic hulls that can clear sea mines laid by enemy warships, submarines and aircraft to blockade harbors during war, the Navy official said, and will aquire eventually get 24 such vessels over the next decade the official said. The construction of the first vessel is expected to kick off begin in April 2018, with deliveries to being completed between April 2021 and April 2026.

Currently the Indian Navy operates only six to seven Soviet-built minesweepers bought from the erstwhile Soviet Union in the late 1970s

India would be building an MCMV for the first time in a state-owned shipyard that was awarded the contract without competition, or through nomination, but Samaddar said, noting that "nomination is always a bad idea, and the MoD has repeatedly said it will not nominate but continues to do so."


Vivek Raghuvanshi is the India correspondent for Defense News.

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