The order for the construction of five Fleet Support Ships for the Indian Navy could be a game-changer for the Visakhapatnam-based Hindustan Shipyard Limited.
Speaking to the media here on Monday, the Chairman and Managing Director of HSL Commodore Hemant Khatri said that negotiation is on with the Union Government and the contract is on the verge of finalisation.
The order is worth over ₹22,000 crore and once finalised HSL will have to deliver all the five ships in about eight years, with the construction beginning next year.
Each ship will be about 45,000 mt displacement and once the ship building begins the annual turnover of HSL would shoot up from ₹500 crore to ₹900 crore in 2021-22 and to ₹1,500 crore from thereafter for the next five years.
Basing on the fact that the order will come to the HSL, the oldest shipyard in the country is planning to invest about ₹1,000 crore on infrastructure development.
“We have plans to extend out existing slipways from 190 metres to 235 metres, for which expression of interest already has been floated,” said Cmde Khatri. “The FSS project will also boost up the employment and if things fall in place our employee strength should shoot up from 2,600 to over 4,000 in no time. This will include permanent, contract and outsourcing components,” he said.Speaking about the journey of HSL from 1941, the CMD said that so far it has built about 200 ships, which includes both commercial and naval vessels, and has repaired and retro-fitted over 2,000 ships and submarines.
The shipyard was founded by industrialist Walchand Hirachand as Scindia Shipyard in 1941 and was nationalised in 1961 as Hindustan Shipyard Limited. It was transferred to the Ministry of Defence in 2010.
Referring to a question on the capability of the shipyard, Mr. Khatri said that HSL has the experience and facility for bigger projects and once the FSS project is completed, the shipyard can be considered for building destroyers and frigates.
“Our first submarine retro-fit project was in 1972, when we retro-fitted two Egyptian submarines. Thereafter, we had conducted refit on many Indian submarines and our latest was INS Sindhuvir, which was completed before the scheduled delivery time. Ship and submarine repair is one of our forte,” he said.
On the status of the country’s first missile tracking ship, he said that the project comes under classified projects and it has been completed and delivered to the client. Cmde Khatri also said that HSL is looking for expanding its product range and negotiations are on with various other countries to build cruise liners and vessels for river tourism.
Earlier in the day, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh virtually inaugurated exhibition at GV Nilayam Auditorium in HSL Colony. The exhibition showcases the models of various ships that HSL has built since 1941 and is open to all till December 19.
As part of the ongoing Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav, the Defence Minister simultaneously launched the exhibition in 75 defence PSUs, across 75 locations, on Monday.