New Delhi: The Indian Coast Guard will receive a significant boost in its capabilities in the coming few years. On Wednesday, the defence ministry signed a ₹1,614.89 crore contract with the Mumbai-based Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL) for six next-generation offshore patrol vessels (NGOPVs).
According to the terms of the contract, MDL will deliver these six boats in 66 months (5.5 years).
Four of these high-tech ships will replace aging vessels in the current fleet, while the remaining two will add to the Coast Guard’s overall strength. This expansion will allow for wider coverage and improved response times across India’s vast coastline.
These 115-metre OPVs will be packed with advanced features to tackle diverse maritime challenges. Some of the features these boats will boast of include multipurpose drones for providing aerial surveillance and intelligence gathering, artificial intelligence (AI) for optimizing operations and decision-making, remote water rescue craft for enabling swift response to emergencies at sea, other high-tech equipment for enhancing capabilities for a range of tasks, like search and rescue, pollution control, and law enforcement.
The contract with MDL emphasizes India’s commitment to “atmanirbharta” (self-reliance) in defence technology. These vessels will be entirely designed, developed, and manufactured within the country, which will further showcase India’s indigenous shipbuilding prowess.
The project’s impact will extend much beyond bolstering the Coast Guard’s strength and capabilities. It is also expected to boost maritime economic activities by creating jobs and stimulating growth in ancillary industries, especially those in the MSME sector. This will also enhance India’s technical skills and knowledge in shipbuilding.