The first of the 20 Fast Patrol Vessels (FPVs) being built by the Cochin Shipyard for the Coast Guard will be commissioned in October-end or early November this year.

The induction of the FPVs will herald an era of higher standards in indigenisation in defence shipbuilding in the country as the design of the vessels was done completely indigenously by a private firm, a first in India.

While the Directorate of Naval Design has so far designed 18 types of vessels, military vessel design, especially concept design, was largely a grey area for the private sector. The design done by the Kochi-based Smart Engineering and Design Solutions is top-class and fills this crucial gap in defence shipbuilding in our country, said a defence official.

The CSL signed the contract for building the FPVs in October 2010, with the delivery of the last vessel slated to take place in 2017.

The 50-metrre long vessels, being built under the dual classification requirements of the American Bureau of Shipping and Indian Register of Shipping, are designed to cruise at speeds of 33 knots. The FPVs will be deployed for patrol of the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) besides coastal patrol, anti-smuggling operations, search and rescue, anti-piracy patrol and for the protection of India’s marine resources. They will also provide communication link and escort convoys during hostilities and war.

CSL officials say that the small size of the FPVs, each weighing 120 tonne, belies their complexity and technology intensiveness. The ships are propelled by water jets to attain top speeds. They are weight-sensitive, with their superstructure built mainly of aluminium, which necessitated the yard to develop high-quality welding and fabrication techniques.

During the construction of the FPVs, the yard took up research and development activities for development of suitable welding procedures for marine aluminium fabrication, said an official. The yard plans to deliver the entire series on schedule.

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