New Delhi: In a bid to enhance its amphibious warfare capabilities, the Indian Navy would like to induct four more Landing Platform Docks (LPD) alongside INS Jalashwa, the only such ship currently in service.
"We are looking to add four more LPDs in our fleet to operate alongside INS Jalashwa, the only LPD currently in service," navy officials told agencies. They added that the procurement procedure had already been initiated with the release of the Request for Information (RFI) by the defence ministry.
All the four warships would be procured under the 'buy and make (Indian)' category of the defence procurement procedure under which the Indian shipyards, both private and public, would form a partnership with foreign shipyards for the contract.
The navy wants the ships to be produced within the country itself and has sought response only from Indian shipyards, having their own infrastructure and capability of building LPD class of ships, officials said.
The LPD class of ships would provide the navy strategic reach to operate far away from Indian shores and support joint sea-land operations.
The ships would be of minimum 200 metres length and would be able to transport Main Battle tanks (MBTs), heavy trucks, armoured personnel vehicles and other heavy machinery. They would also be able be capable of carrying out heavy-lift helicopter operations of the navy, officials said.
The four LPDs would also be equipped with a point missile defence system and a close-in weapon system which would protect it from incoming missiles and hostile aircraft.
In 2007, India inducted an ex-US Navy ship (USS Trenton) as the INS Jalashwa - a Sanskrit name for Hippopotamus - a replenishment and amphibious warfare ship, which has a capacity to embark, transport and land a 1,000-man battalion along with equipment and tanks to support operations on enemy shores.
Being the second largest ship in the Indian Navy's fleet, after aircraft carrier INS Viraat, Jalashwa is also capable of undertaking maritime surveillance, special operations, search and rescue, medical support as well as humanitarian aid.
Jalashwa currently operates with the Visakhapatnam-based eastern naval command.