Navy’s procurement of amphibious ships revived after hitting dead end last year

More than a decade after it was decided that the Indian Navy would procure four Landing Platform Docks (LPDs) that can carry military assets like tanks, vessels and aircraft, the Ministry of Defence has once again revived the project that was scrapped last year.

A new Request for Information (RFI) has been initiated for the procurement.

“Four LPDs are proposed to be acquired. The anticipated delivery timeline for the first vessel is a maximum of 60 months, followed by delivery of one vessel every 12 months. Vendors are to indicate their comments on the build period and timelines for delivery,” the RFI dated August 24 says.

Last year, a Request for Proposal was withdrawn as the Navy wanted the equipment with new specifications. LPDs are also called amphibious warfare ships that can transport land equipment and troops for land warfare.

Currently, the Indian Navy has only one such ship, INS Jalashwa, which was purchased from the US and commissioned into the Indian Navy in 2007.

The new RFI states that the Landing Platform Docks (LPDs) shall be capable of transporting and landing combined armed forces and sustaining their operations ashore.

“Inherent to this capability would be a capacity to embark and sustain a body of troops at sea for prolonged durations, to embark, stow onboard and discharge at the objective the full range of the combat cargo required for undertaking and sustaining the operations ashore and to enable operation of multiple means of ship to shore movement of troops and cargo,” the RFI says.

The Navy further states that the LPDs must act as Command Centre for the Commander, Amphibious Task Force, Landing Force Commander and the Air Force Commander and also undertake Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Missions. Additionally, LPDs will also act as mother ships for unmanned capability and to support operation/exploitation of all dimensions of futuristic unmanned vehicles/platforms/equipment.

In addition to this, the LPDs will also provide medical facilities for the treatment of battle casualties.

Regarding the aviation capabilities, the RFI states that the ships should be able to accommodate at least two heavy-lift helicopters and 12 special operations helicopters. “The ship is to have the ability to carry out standoff/Over the Horizon operations,” the RFI says.