New Delhi: The Indian Navy and the Kolkata-based defence shipyard, the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, have signed a Rs2,170 crore contract for the construction of eight amphibious assault vessels. The eight Landing Craft Utility (LCU) vessels will enhance the navy's capabilities to carry out amphibious operations.
The proposal to build the vessels was cleared in a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) held earlier this month.
The new vessels will have a displacement of around 800 tonnes and the first unit is expected to be delivered over the next 35 months. The new vessels will replace the existing fleet of six amphibious boats already in service, navy officials said.
The LCUs are likely to be based at India's first and only regional `theatre command' at the strategically-located Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Another project to acquire four huge amphibious warfare ships or Landing Platform Docks (LPDs), at a cost of around Rs16,000 crore, is on the verge of being finalized by the ministry of defence, sources said.
The new LPDs will be inspired in their design by the INS Jalashwa, a LPD acquired from the United States Navy, where it operated as the USS Trenton before being decommissioned and sold to the Indian Navy.
The LCUs and LPDs transport thousands of troops, tanks, infantry combat vehicles and other weapon systems over long distances to enemy shores.