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Since the last of its six minesweepers, which were acquired from the Soviet Union in the late 1970s, was decommissioned four years ago, the Indian Navy is currently operating without a single minesweeper. India’s navy fleet is severely lacking in specialised mine-countermeasure vessels, creating an urgent demand for contemporary and cutting-edge MCMVs.

How Can Navy Acquire MCMVs?

The 12 MCMVs are scheduled to be built over an eight-year period, and the RFI details the specifications for them. The shipyards with the lowest and second-lowest bids will each receive a portion of the order. The MCMVs’ proposed delivery window runs from 2030 to 2037.

According to the RFI, the core of these vessels will be their “cutting-edge” technologies and weapons, which will be adapted to combat a variety of threats in both the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and naval mine countermeasures (NCM) sectors.

The MCMVs will be outfitted with an unmanned mine countermeasure (MCM) suite that incorporates cutting-edge technologies including underwater drones and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). The crew’s dangers will be kept to a minimum during mine countermeasure operations thanks to the crucial role these autonomous systems will play in locating, identifying, and neutralising underwater mines.

Radar systems, electronic warfare (EW) systems, and secure communication networks make up the cutting-edge communication and electronic suite that the MCMVs will feature, providing seamless data sharing and real-time information sharing.

Sonar: The vessels will be equipped with cutting-edge ASW technologies and modern sonars for effective submarine detection and tracking. Submarines and mines will be detected and tracked using sophisticated sonar systems, such as hull-mounted and towed array sonars. The extensive sonar system enables early identification and prompt reaction to any potential undersea threats.

The MCMVs will be flexible platforms that can carry out a variety of operational tasks, including mine countermeasure operations, route survey and sanitization, search and rescue, humanitarian aid, and disaster relief, as envisaged in the RFI. In the Indian Ocean region, these warships will operate effectively while defending crucial maritime interests.

Mine Countermeasure Operations: The MCMVs are excellent at finding, identifying, and disarming sea mines, assuring the safe passage of ally ships, and fending off any maritime security threats.

Route Survey and Sanitization: To ensure safe and effective navigation for marine traffic, these vessels will undertake thorough inspections of sea routes. They will detect and remove any underwater risks or barriers.

The MCMVs will be prepared to conduct search and rescue missions, quickly reacting to distress calls and offering life-saving aid to sailors in need thanks to their superior capabilities.

Humanitarian Aid And Disaster Relief: The MCMVs will be essential in delivering humanitarian aid and relief efforts, aiding impacted communities, and facilitating rescue operations during times of natural disasters or emergencies.

Make In India Programme

India’s dedication to the Make in India initiative, which promotes domestic shipbuilding skills, includes the purchase of the MCMV. The acquisition corresponds with the government’s goal of self-reliance in naval and defence procurement, and it represents a pivotal stage in India’s naval modernization.

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