Defence ministry inks Rs 19,000 crore contract with HSL for 5 fleet support ships

New Delhi: The defence ministry on Friday sealed a Rs 19,000 crore deal with Hindustan Shipyard Ltd (HSL) for acquisition of five fleet support ships for the Indian Navy.

The ships of 44,000 tons category will be the first of its kind to be built in India by an Indian shipyard, officials said.

The ministry said the project would be a major boost towards achieving the goal of self-reliance in defence manufacturing as the ships will be indigenously designed and constructed by HSL, Visakhapatnam.

“The Ministry of Defence on August 25 signed a contract with HSL, Visakhapatnam for acquisition of five fleet support ships (FSS) for the Indian Navy at an overall cost of approximately Rs 19,000 crore,” it said.

The Cabinet Committee on Security had approved the acquisition of the ships in its meeting on August 16.

The fleet support ships will be deployed for replenishing ships at sea with fuel, water, ammunition and stores, enabling the Indian Naval fleet to operate for prolonged periods without returning to harbour.

“These ships would enhance the strategic reach and mobility of the fleet. The induction of these ships will significantly enhance the blue water capability of the Indian Navy,” the ministry said in a statement.

The ships can also be deployed for evacuation of people and human assistance and disaster relief operations.

“This project will generate employment of nearly 168.8 lakh mandays over a period of eight years,” the ministry said.