Nimble and Swift

Multirole coastal ships are emerging as platforms of choice

Yunus Dar

The Indian maritime perspective plan envisages a 200-ship fleet by 2027 to guard the interests and assets of the nation in waters around them. The Indian Navy has achieved significant indigenisation as far as building modern warships, patrol boats and even the submarines are concerned, however, given the challenges, it needs to build a large number of cost and role efficient ships to ensure a secure maritime environment.

Naval Group’s BELH@RRA frigate
Naval Group’s BELH@RRA frigate

With some amount of expertise in building multi-missions surface vessels, French shipbuilders, Naval Group, which is collaborating with Indian shipyards in several ship-building programmes, told FORCE that such ships are designed to be able to perform a range of tasks. For this purpose, a proper integration of systems and capabilities is paramount to enhance the performance of the vessel against simultaneous threats. Depending upon the requirements, mission modules can be arranged for specific tasks which can be managed independently.

According to them, the general trend for multi-role vessel is to be able to counter the conventional air and submarine threats, as well as perform maritime security tasks efficiently. The capabilities of such more or less compact platforms can be extended through deployable assets, like helicopters, rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIBs) and unmanned systems (air, surface and underwater vehicles), a Naval Group official added.

Smaller ships mean shorter construction timelines and lesser cost hence higher number can be added to the force, without compromising on the combat capabilities or firepower of the vessels. Consequently, the multi-role surface vessels are emerging as the first choice for several navies.

A case in point is the Lockheed Martin-built Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) which are designed to provide ‘credible capability for deterrence and sea control’. The company’s Freedom variant LCS came armed with the most advanced sensors, latest missiles and cutting-edge cyber systems.

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