Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More Junk For The Indian Navy, To Get 2 Used American Minehunters [UPDATED]

Looks like the Indian government can't get enough of treating its Navy like a junkyard for defunct American vessels. Wire reports say the the US Senate has cleared the transfer of two decommissioned Osprey-class minehunters to the Indian Navy, both decommissioned from service in the US Navy in 2007. Oh well, so we'll see another audit report a couple of years from now about how we paid too much for scrap.

[CORRECTION/UPDATE]: The Indian Navy just got in touch to say that the wire reports yesterday were not fully accurate. The US Senate has cleared the sale of the two minehunters to a list of countries that include India. What follows will be a bidding process, and the Indian Navy may or may not bid -- it is still to make an assessment.

Photo of the Osprey-class Minehunter Pelican


Anup said...

Not only Junk
Uncle SAM also said
"Do not use Our Boats in WAR"

Wake up.....MD,GRSE

Amitabha Ghosh said...

What happened to all the minesweepers that we had in East and West?? Too much of canoodling with the Americans!

ABHISHEK said...


Anant said...

Hi Shiv,

You are aware of the fact that these ships were commisioned in 1996 and 1997 respectively and then decomisioned in 2007 right? If you consider their age in active service, they are relatively newer than most ships in the Indian Navy! They can in no way be termed as old junk!

Infact this is one of the best solutions to augment our strength considering the decade long circus the MOD holds everytime the services request for any equipment from abroad!


Anonymous said...

its can it be junk??

Anonymous said...

For once, i think we may have scored a hit. This is NOT junk. These ships are around 8 years old and have technology that was state-of-the-art in 1997-2000. To put this in perspective, the Project 15 A which is being commissioned now, were designed in 2000 and being constructed over the last decade.

If we have bought the ships which were the later ones in the series, we might get ships built in 2003 onwards. However, the price paid for these are not mentioned. These should be disclosed to come to an assessment value.

This is not 1950's or 1960's vintage stuff.

Kunal said...

To Anant @ 5:30pm::

If the date of commissioning stated by you is correct, then you are absolutely right and I fully support your statement. But what I cannot help asking is why then were these 2 vessels decommissioned within 10 yrs.? It is pertinent to know those facts. Also, it is incomplete and hence insinuated reporting by Shiv, which is bad.

Anonymous said...

"Junk", huh?

The two boats to be transferred are MHC-56 (ex-USS Kingfisher) and MHC-57 (ex-USS Cormorant) commissioned in 1996 and 1997 respectively, then retired in 2007 with barely a decade of use.

Bearing in mind they are headed to the same navy that insists on keeping in use (and modernizing) a '50s vintage carrier the Royal Navy had deemed surplus almost 25 years ago, or sinking billions into a lost cause of a Cold War carrier, it appears these two are about the most cogent and well-thought purchases in... oh, ages.

Anonymous said...

According to good old wikipedia, these two (Kingfisher and Comorant) were sold to the Lithuanians so how are they ending ups with us?

Anonymous said...

These are the largest FRP hulled minesweepers but for the RN's 60 metre MCMVs. It's got a lot of equipment and pretty good for coastal waterways. Hasty reporting Shiv

Anonymous said...

@ Kunal

Good question. The answer to why they the entire Osprey class was de-commissioned is "change of perceived value". US Policy changes often and so do "threat perceptions". Based on the "threat perceptions", weapons platforms are commissioned or de-commissioned. Case in point: During the Vietnam war, the US Navy had one of the largest patrol boat fleet (patrol boats are less than 500 tons displacement and have light armor with 20 mm-40 mm guns). After the Vietnam War, these ships were sold at a pittance and most were converted to fishing trawlers (which are still in service today).

@ Anon 6.29

Thanks for the exact pennant numbers of the boats being transferred. AS is said before (Anon @6.09), these are NOT Junk. I would have hoped that these were from the later series and not the first Osprey class boats. But even if they are 1997-98 vintage, they are NOT JUNK.

Anonymous said...

comparing a Aircraft carrier with a mine hunters is like comparing a tank with a strategic space platform. either the authors are idiots are they are trying to hide the real intentions of why they are comparing these two.

Mr. Ra said...

I guess they may be free of cost in lieu of India eliminating taliban on AfPaki front.

Vivek said...

How come you've termed this an Indian government purchase? When the ship is a shiny new Kolkata class, the Indian Navy has ordered it, but if its a second hand minesweeper, the MoD is forcing it on the Indian Navy?

This order was probably identified not to mention sanctioned by the Navy brass. The MoD cannot force the service to buy junk.

With regard to the ships themselves, posters above have cleared up that matter. 10 year old ships are far from ancient.

All in all, not your best piece Shiv.

Kunal said...

To Anon @ 7:17pm

Thanks for the clarification.

Anonymous said...

Look in this way, "Now it won't be available for Pakistan"

Anonymous said...

Not junk, Shiv. I believe the Indian Navy will get it refurbished for less. Don't we use refurbished naval carriers and fighter planes until the news ones arrive? The US, perhaps, will let the Indian Navy use these before the Navy plans to buy new ones in the future (from the US, ofcourse).

Anonymous said...


I think you judge to harsh.

If the price was fair this is an effective purchase, these craft can also be converted at latter stage. And further at least the navy gets them quick and start training rather then wait decades for equipment.

Once we finish with them we could donate them to Sri Lanka as a good will gesture.

10/4 out

Anonymous said...

Its absolutely not junk ..... USS Kingfisher (MHC-56) as it is known was the last coastal Mine Sweeper in operation with US Navy and from now on probably they will go with the new Littoral Combat Ships to take care of Mines issue. Commissioned in 1996 and de-commissioned in 2007, only 10 years in service. This is definitely not a junk and a good purchase.

Anonymous said...


Ospreys' are no junk. They were taken out because of US Navy's changing mine warfare strategy (technology?).

US Navy replaced them (all 12 Ospreys) with 14 Avenger class mine countermeasures ships. Avengers were designed for deep-water mine-sweeping, hunting and neutralization (as opposed to coastal mine hunting), and have a longer range than the Osprey's. The first of these Avengers is slated to decommission starting 2016.

US Navy's future anti-mine operation relies on Littoral Combat Ship program (LCS). LCS, is a multimission vessel that will serve as primary mine warfare ship. The mine warfare mission module under development for LCS features newer, more portable anti-mine technologies. The module includes underwater autonomous mine-hunting vehicles, along with radars on LCS-launched MH-60S Seahawk helicopters.

Dedicated mine warfare assets such as minesweepers are often too slow. The ability to put the mine warfare module on an LCS allows for “greater speed and endurance” in anti-mine missions. The module uses autonomous systems keeping the sailors out of dangerous waters. Instead, they monitor the situation from the LCS (think "predator").

No, these LCS systems are not fully developed yet. And, no, once developed, it's unlikely that these systems would be available to any willing purchasers anytime soon.

I think, in India's position, Ospreys are prudent acquisition.

- nanovacuum (US)

Anonymous said...

In Mine warfare, its the systems that count more than the age of ships. But yes, this ship is an old compared to the new ships that's used in mine warfare. But if the ships comes with new systems onboard to detect and to destroy those mines, then it can be considered average. Also the Ships magnetic signature compared to modern MCMV's will surely be higher. So this is a stop gap measure before the MCMV's join the force. Also good for training before induction of MCMV.

Anonymous said...

So this is what the navy wanted....

it good that MoD is not forcing Indian junk down Navy's throat like those Kolkata class & shivalik class vessels..