Under water survey capabilities of the Navy are all set to receive a boost with its plans of procuring four state-of-the-art indigenous vessels capable of exploring the depths of the maritime economic zone and the extended continental shelf of the country.
The Navy has initiated the process of procuring four survey vessels from indigenous shipyards and has sought detailed information from them. These vessels will replace the oldest of the survey vessels with the maritime force.
"We have started the process and as per the plans, the first ship will be commissioned into service by 2017-18. We want these ships to be 100 per cent indigenous," a Navy official told a news agency here.
Besides carrying out hydrographic and oceanographic surveys as its primary task, the Navy in its requirements has stated that the vessels should be able to perform the role of a hospital ship and limited Defence role during emergencies.
For defending itself, the Navy wants the ships to be armed with CRN-91 guns.
With an expected life of 25 years, the Navy wants the machinery, sensors and equipment to be able to withstand a mission time of about eight weeks at a stretch.
To support specific requirements for deep water surveys, the force wants the ships to be able to cruise at very low speed from zero to six knots for prolonged hours.
With 2000-3000 tons of displacement, the ship should have a maximum speed limit of 18 knots.
As per the operational requirements, the ship should also be capable of operating one single-engine rotary wing aircraft of six tons and a retractable hangar for parking it.
The Navy has stated that the vessels should have the capacity to house a crew of over 200 officials, including the sailors and officers.