|Indian Navy corvette INS Kulish passes US Navy destroyer USS Hasley during Malabar 2012. (PHOTO / US NAVY)|
Designated the Next Generation Missile Vessel (NGMV) programme, the Indian Navy has officially announced interest in procuring six new Indian-built missile corvettes primarily as surface warfare vessels.
The navy puts down the capabilities it is looking for from the NDMVs as "Surface warfare capabilities, low RADAR, acoustic, magnetic and IR signature, high endurance and credible AMD/AA capability." The navy's RFI, leaves out specifics of displacement, though it appears that it could be looking for 2,000-2,500 ton vessel class -- smaller than the brand new Kamorta-class ASW corvettes that began inductions last year, but significantly larger than the Indian-built Kora and Khukri class of surface warfare corvettes.
The requirement comes with an ambitious weapons complement requirement: eight SSMs, a point defence missile system (the Barak is currently the only PDMS in Indian Navy service), an MR Gun system ("with stealth features having range not less than 15 km and capability to carry out Surface to surface, surface to air and Anti Missile Defence (AMD) engagements should be fitted. It should have the facility to be remoted using Fire Control Radars (FCR) as well as EO (Electro-Optical) sight."), and a CIWS.
The NGMV competition has exciting implications, drawing out a possible bid that takes private sector builders beyond the patrol vessel capabilities that many have been competing to provide so far and move into the realm of frontline warshipping.