GRSE Promotes Indigenisation of Warship Components

By Editor 25-Jan-2018

Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd. (GRSE) gives prime importance to the government’s Make in India initiative through the indigenisation of the components used in our warships. In the last five years, the shipyard has achieved large scale of indigenisation of warship components. More than 92% of the components of the warships are indigenously made.  Focus is also given on incorporating MSMEs by indigenising the components for both portable bridges and deck machinery. GRSE will deliver 11 warships in next one-and-a-half-year time to the Indian Navy and Coast Guard. In the last 10 months, we have already delivered four warships to the Navy, With the world-class modern interior construction facility, GRSE has the flexibility to undertake concurrent construction of the ships in the block format, says Rear Admiral V K Saxena, IN (Retd.), Chairman & Managing Director, GRSE, Kolkata. Mr Saxena speaks to Aeromag about the DPSU’s operations and expansion plans.

The second phase of GRSE’s shipyard modernisation project was completed to enhance the production capabilities. Could you give us some details about the vessels now being built at the shipyard for the Indian Navy?

Currently we have many projects ongoing at GRSE for both Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard. At present, we are executing the Landing Craft Utility ships project for Indian Navy, and we have already delivered three of them. The remaining five LCUs will be delivered within one and half year. The second major project in progress is the construction of ASW Corvettes. The Navy has ordered four ASW Corvettes, and three of them have been delivered. The fourth one is in the last phase of construction, and we expect to deliver it by the end of 2018. From the Coast Guard, we have received the orders for five fast patrolling vessels, and all of them will be delivered by mid-2019.

GRSE has also received a very prestigious order from the Navy to build seven highly advanced missile stealth Frigates. The project is called T-17 Alpha. In that three are being built by GRSE, and the other four are by MDL.  These are the orders we have in our hand currently. Also, GRSE will soon sign contracts for two important projects for the Navy. One of them is the construction of four large survey vessels. The negotiations with the Navy regarding this project is over, and we expect to sign the contract within three months. The second project is for building eight ASW Shallow Watercrafts. Both project have very challenging deadlines, and we are confident to complete them before that.

The shipyard therefore has got good amount of order at this point of time. So, we will be delivering 11 warships in next one-and-a-half-year time to the Navy and Coast Guard. So, in total, around 26 warships of various classes will be built and delivered in the coming 3-4 years. In the last 10 months, we have already delivered four warships to the Navy, and all of them have gone through weapon and sensors trials prior to the delivery. Normally, these tests are done only after commissioning into the service. But, we made sure that the ship we delivered should be ready in all sense. And, this is for the first time by any shipyard in the country to complete the Part IV trials before commissioning. These are some of the positive steps taken by GRSE to ensure customer satisfaction.

We have achieved another milestone by integrating composite-carbon superstructure into the hull of the third ASW Corvette that we have delivered. It improves the stability, manoeuvrability of the ship and reduces the maintenance cost. Very few shipyards around the world has done it.

GRSE has developed cost-effective and fuel-efficient engines for the Indian Navy, Coast Guard, the power sector and mining industries. The company has entered into partnership with some foreign firms also in this regard. Could you give more details?

GRSE has signed the license agreement with German engine manufacturer MTU for the assembly and testing of the marine diesel engines at our diesel engine division Diesel Engine Plant (DEP), Ranchi. MTU’s engines are highly efficient and reliable, and the partnership is successful one. The most important aspect of the agreement is that GRSE will indigenise 40% of its components in next four years. Beyond that we will try to maximise the indigenisation efforts. We are focusing on both large and small diesel engines. GRSE has signed an MoU with Cooper India regarding the small-sized diesel engines. We hope to build cost-effective and reliable marine version of engines through these partnerships.

We have also bagged the order from the Indian Navy for the supply of 28 diesel alternators of 1MW capacity, worth over Rs.230 Crores, for the project T-17 Alpha. The engines of these alternators will be assembled at the Ranchi plant.

Kindly give an overview about the various classes of vessels built by GRSE, since it became a PSU. Also, could you talk about the work on portable bridges and deck machinery items?

GRSE has been taken over by the Government of India in 1960. We have so far built 96 warships for both the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard. I would say it is the largest number of warships delivered by any shipyard in the country. GRSE has built Frigates, Corvettes, LCUs, Survey Vessels, Hover Craft for ICG, small boats for Ministry of Home Affairs, Patrol Vessels, Interceptor Boats etc. In 1961, GRSE has delivered the first indigenously built warship INS Ajay. We have also been credited of making the first export warship in India, which has been handed over to Mauritian Coast Guard in 2014. With INS Aditya, GRSE has become the only Indian shipyard that made a huge fleet replenishment tanker.

GRSE is the only shipyard with a separate engineering division, and that division primarily handles the portable steel bridges. Since 1967, we have delivered around 5000 portable steel-bridges, mainly to Indian Army, Border Roads Organisation and various state governments like J&K, Uttarakhand, North Eastern states etc. We have also been exporting the bridges to Myanmar and Bhutan. We are exploring the possibilities to export it to Latin American country Peru. There are various classes of portable bridges according to its loading capacity and terrain conditions. We also make suspension bridges. GRSE dominates the portable bridge sector. The portable bridge at Khardung La pass, built by GRSE is currently the portable bridge at maximum altitude.

The deck machinery, built by GRSE, includes the boat davits, single arm davits, marine pumps, windlass, anchor capstans, helicopter traversing system etc. We are improvising our designs to increase the reliability and reduce the weight. We have also introduced in India for the first time the rail-less helicopter traversing system, built by MacTaggart Scott UK. GRSE also make hanger-shutters.

Could you talk about GRSE’s initiatives for supporting the central government’s Make in India programme?

GRSE gives prime importance to the government’s Make in India initiative through the indigenisation of the components used in our warships. In the last five years the shipyard has achieved large scale of indigenisation of warship components. Focus is also given on incorporating MSMEs by indigenising the components for both portable bridges and deck machinery.

72.3% parts of the components of the total ships delivered during 2013-14 are indigenised. In 2016 it has become 92%. 90% components of the corvettes were indigenously made. The war components of most of the corvettes were built by Indian manufacturers only. The guns were delivered by OFB. The sensors, sonars, communication systems etc. were manufactured by Bharat Electronics Ltd.

GRSE now has facilities in Kolkata and Ranchi. Are there plans for expansion of the yards to build vessels of larger DWT? Are there any plans to set up yards in new places to overcome space crunch at the existing facilities? Share with us a few details about the future priorities of GRSE.

The shipyard has got separate production units to carry out various processes. We have already got the approval from the board to rejuvenate another dry dock for outfitting activities at the Rajabagan Dockyard (RBD), spread over 33 acres. This will increase the production capabilities. All these will make us to build 20 ships concurrently. We are also developing RBD for fabrication activities.

In 2014, GRSE has completed a mega modernisation of the shipyard by spending over Rs.600 Crores. The modernised infrastructure enables the shipyard to undertake construction of large ships using latest modular construction technology. We have constructed a world-class modern interior construction facility which provides the flexibility to undertake concurrent construction of the ships in the block format. This saves considerable amount of time, effort and cost in ship construction as we can do many outfitting activities simultaneously. Today, with this facility, GRSE can build 14 ships concurrently including eight large and six small ships.

I intend to achieve a turnover of Rs.3500 Crores by 2021. Also, we aim to double the turnover of the engineering division. I also focus on making competent partnerships with other shipyards, so that we can use each other’s resources, capabilities etc. effectively to meet the national targets of delivering good warships to our Navy and Coast Guard. Also, we are working on new strategies to improve our productivity, cost-effectiveness and throughput. There are plans to revamp the entire material management systems, HR, talent management, design efforts, quality asserting etc. to enhance the operations.