Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDSL) will deliver the first of the four stealth guided-missile destroyers to the Indian Navy by October and a Scorpene-class submarine by the end of the fiscal year.
The state-run company under the defence ministry, which has an order book of nearly Rs 50,000 crore, will hand over Visakhapatnam-class (Project 15B) destroyer INS Visakhapatnam to the navy in the next 3-4 months. The delivery is delayed because the pandemic disrupted operations.
INS Visakhapatnam is the first of the four destroyers MDSL is building at its site in Mumbai which is also one of the largest that the Indian Navy will possess.
While INS Visakhapatnam is currently undergoing sea trials, three other destroyers of the same class – INS Mormugao, INS Imphal, INS Porbandar – are under various stages of development at MDSL.
This will be followed by the handing over of the fourth Scorpene-class submarine INS Vela by the end of the current financial year. Three such submarines have been delivered to the Indian Navy, the last one being INS Karanj in February this year.
“We are bracing to deliver one (Project) 15 Bravo destroyer named INS Vishakhapatnam by October and may be by end of this year another submarine,” said Narayan Prasad, chairman and managing director, MDSL speaking to analysts.
MDSL management said that the company has an order book of Rs 49,744 crore comprising four destroyers under Project 15 Bravo worth Rs 22,500 crore, four stealth frigates under Project 17 Alfa worth Rs 21,500 crore, six Scorpene submarines worth Rs 5500 crore of which three have been delivered.
The company also has a Rs 500 crore MRLC (medium term refit and life certification) contract for one submarine, Prasad added.
It has also bid for three cadet training ships for the Indian Navy, eight fast patrol crafts and 12 air cushion vehicles for the Coast Guard. Bids worth about Rs 1,800 crore are also being pursued with Argentina and the Suez Canal Authority of construction of 14 offshore patrol vessels.
Prasad said COVID-19 and the resultant lockdown measures taken by the government disrupted MDSL’s launch schedules.
“The destroyer (INS Visakhapatnam) was to be delivered by March. There was a force majeure allocated by the government for a duration of four months. We are still falling short of three months. We have already strongly taken this with the government and within those four months the situation did not improve and it continued till October 30 and we were able to open the shipyard fully only by November 1,” Prasad added.
But the Maharashtra government relaxed its lockdown restriction in the first week of June after one full month of lockdown in May as the pace of new Covid-19 cases within the state began to soften. MDSL hopes to make up for lost time by speeding up operations.
“Whilst there has been an impact on account of the precarious situation created by this lockdown and also the stoppage of industrial oxygen supply, all this has resumed by and large to a normal standard and we should be able to catch up with whatever there is,” Prasad added.