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India approves plan for $700 million acquisition of 6 next-generation offshore patrol vessels

India’s Defence Acquisition Council approved a plan for the procurement of six Next Generation Offshore Patrol Vessels for the Indian Navy at a cost of 4,941 crore rupees ($706.5 million), the Ministry of Defence said on Monday.

The vessels will be indigenously designed and manufactured, the ministry’s Monday, August 13 press release said.

According to the Navy’s Request for Information, the NGOPVs will be capable of protection of offsore assets, maritime interception, search-and-seizure, surveillence, mine warfare, anti-piracy, anti-trafficking, disaster relief, humanitarian assistance and of providing support for special operations.

The NGOPV’s “will be fitted with state-of-the-art sensor suite with increased endurance,” for littoral and open ocean operations, the defense ministry said.

The Navy said in January that the NGOPVs should have a displacement of 2,500 tons and have a draught of under 5 meters. They are expected to travel at a top speed of at least 25 knots and a maximum sustained speed of at leat 20 knots. They will each accommodate 150 personnel.

The ships’ aviation facilities should be able of supporting a 15-ton helicopter and operating a remote piloted aircraft, according to the RFI.

India operates a similar fleet of four Saryu-class OPVs that entered service in 2013-2014. The vessels were indigenously designed and built by government-owned Goa Shipyard.

In June, Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi called for “equal access” to shared air and maritime spaces, “irrespective of size and strength,” an apparent reference to its neighbor China’s actions in the region. India’s growing maritime significance in the region was reflected days earlier when U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced that Pacific Command would be re-named U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

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