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Navy plans to induct four Landing Platform Docks

New Delhi: In order to add more teeth to its amphibious warfare capabilities, the Navy is planning to induct four Landing Platform Docks (LPD) to join the fleet alongside INS Jalashwa.

"We are looking to add four more LPDs in our fleet to operate alongside INS Jalashwa, the only LPD currently in service," Navy officials told PTI.

The procurement procedure has already begun with the release of the Request for Information (RFI) by the Defence Ministry, they said.

The four warships would be procured under the ?Buy and make (Indian)? category of the Defence procurement procedure under which the Indian shipyards, both private and public, would be required to form a partnership with foreign shipyards for the contract.

The navy wants the ships to be produced within the country itself and has sought response only from Indian shipyards, having their own infrastructure and capability of building LPD class of ships, they said.

On the procurement of warships, officials said the LPDs provide the Navy strategic reach to operate far away from Indian shores and support amphibious warfare.

The Navy wants the ships to be 200 metres long and to be able to transport Main Battle tanks (MBTs), heavy trucks, Armoured Personnel Vehicles and other heavy machinery.

It should also be able to carry out operations of heavy-lift helicopters of the Navy, the officials said.

The four LPDs will also have a point missile defence system and a close-in weapon system to protect itself from enemy firing and aircraft.

In 2007, India had inducted the INS Jalashwa – a Sanskrit name for Hippopotamus, which is a replenishment and amphibious warfare ship with capacity to embark, transport and land a 1,000-men battalion along with equipment and tanks to support operations on enemy shores.

Being the second largest ship in the Navy inventory after aircraft carrier INS Viraat, Jalashwa is also capable of undertaking maritime surveillance, special operations, search and rescue, medical support as well as humanitarian aid.

Jalashwa was originally commissioned in the US Navy as USS Trenton and had served for 36 years when India bought it for USD 48.4 million in 2007. It is based under the Eastern Naval Command in Visakhapatnam.

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