Indian Navy: Top MoD official attends steel cutting ceremony of fleet support ships


Indian Navy Fleet Support Ships: The Indian Navy is poised for a significant boost in its operational capabilities with the commencement of construction on a new fleet of Fleet Support Ships (FSS).  A ceremony held on April 10, 2024, at Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) in Visakhapatnam marked the official steel cutting of the first vessel, signifying the beginning of this crucial project.

A Game Changer for Long-Range Operations

The FSS program represents a major leap forward for the Indian Navy‘s self-reliance efforts. These first-of-their-kind vessels, each displacing a staggering 44,000 tons, will be instrumental in ensuring the Navy’s dominance at sea. Their primary function lies in replenishing other warships while on deployment, extending their operational range and endurance. This translates to the ability to maintain a strong naval presence in critical areas for longer durations, bolstering India‘s maritime security posture.

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Replenishing the Fleet, Strengthening the Nation

The FSS will act as a mobile lifeline for the Indian Navy’s fleet.  They will carry and distribute essential supplies like fuel, water, ammunition, and stores directly to warships at sea, eliminating the need for frequent returns to port. This not only enhances operational efficiency but also allows for a more agile and responsive naval force.

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Steel cutting for IN's FSS.

Steel cutting for Indian Navy’s Fleet Support Ships.

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Boosting Domestic Industry and Infrastructure

The construction of the FSS is not just about bolstering naval strength; it’s a significant driver for domestic industry and infrastructure development.  The project is expected to generate business for nearly 550 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the Visakhapatnam region, creating employment opportunities for over 3,000 personnel.

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Aatmanirbhar Bharat in Action

The FSS project aligns perfectly with the Indian government’s “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” (Self-reliant India) initiative.  By constructing these vital vessels indigenously at HSL, India reduces its dependence on foreign suppliers and strengthens its domestic shipbuilding capabilities.  This not only promotes self-sufficiency but also positions India as a potential exporter of advanced naval vessels in the future.

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Modernization and Expansion: Gearing Up for the Future

The ceremony at HSL also marked the laying of the foundation stone for the augmentation of slipways and major infrastructure upgrades. This includes the installation of a state-of-the-art 300-ton Goliath crane. These upgrades will significantly enhance HSL’s capacity to handle future projects, including the construction of Landing Platform Docks (LPDs). This modernization effort ensures that HSL remains at the forefront of Indian shipbuilding, catering to the growing needs of both the defense and commercial sectors.

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A Collaborative Effort for National Security

The steel cutting ceremony was attended by Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane and Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command Vice Admiral Rajesh Pendharkar.

The commencement of the FSS program marks a significant milestone for the Indian Navy.  With these homegrown vessels, the Navy is poised to extend its reach, strengthen its operational capabilities, and further safeguard India’s maritime interests.  This project not only bolsters national security but also serves as a testament to India’s growing self-reliance in the critical domain of shipbuilding.

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