Wednesday, May 29, 2024

DefExpo 2022 Exclusive: From Destroyers, Stealth Frigates, Subs & Fuel Cell Electric Vessels, MDL Is Indigenising It All!

By Kamal Shah

As the Indian defence industry marches towards its path to pride, Indian Aerospace and Defence has been walking the beat interacting with key industry stakeholders as part of its day one coverage of the 12th edition of DefExpo 2022 from the ground in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. 

IADB’s Editorial Director, Kamal Shah, had an illuminating conversation with the Chairman and Managing Director of Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited, Vice Admiral Narayan Prasad (r). The former Flag Officer and shipbuilding industry leader spoke about his organisation’s commitment to India’s indigenisation growth story as the nation experiences its 75th year of independence and strides towards complete self-reliance in the defence sector.

VAdm. Narayan Prasad (r) conveyed that it was an “honour and a privilege to share insights into what MDL is doing in order to increase the indigenous content in all warship building” and “in all the products they are developing in collaboration.” MDL’s CMD began by saying that destroyers and stealth frigates under “Project 15 Bravo and Project Alpha are being produced in our country” before going on to add, “you will be surprised to find that our indigenous content is already at about 72% to 75%!” 

VAdm. Prasad touched upon the shipyard’s ongoing indigenous submarine projects and the level of indigenisation they boast. “For the submarines that we are producing under Project P-75 Scorpions, we are at about 33% to 35%,” he told IADB. He told IADB that “a significant number of products have been given to us for indigenisation, and with our own funding, we have taken it up very encouragingly under the aegis of the ‘Make-In-India’ initiative of the Government of India (GoI) and Aatmanirbhar Bharat. 

During the course of the conversation, he revealed: “I would like to share that we have already produced one vessel, which is called FCEV, which is an acronym for Fuel Cell Electric Vessel. This is iconic as it is a maiden production. It is the first time in the country that we, along with Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL), are collaborating to work out the production of an indigenous midget submarine which will see the water for the commencement of trial in December 23.” 

“Many products, as I have told you, go into constructing warships. For example, the magazine fire-fighting system and the electric propulsion motor are old products which we have long been importing, but I am now glad to share with you that very soon you will get the great news that as our collaborative partner, we are going to produce these products in our country itself,” he further emphasised. “The drive and commitment from all stakeholders [to make-in-India] are universal and motivates them further to commit their funds in this right direction,” VAdm. Narayan Prasad said before signing off.

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