Ministry of Defence, on August 25, 2023, signed a contract with Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL), Visakhapatnam for acquisition of five Fleet Support Ships (FSS) for the Indian Navy at an overall cost of approx. Rs 19,000 crore. It would be a major boost towards achieving the goal of self-reliance in defence manufacturing as these ships will be indigenously designed and constructed by HSL, Visakhapatnam. The Cabinet Committee on Security had approved the acquisition of these ships during its meeting on August 16, 2023.
The FSS will be employed for replenishing ships at sea with fuel, water, ammunition, and stores, enabling the Indian Naval Fleet to operate for prolonged periods without returning to harbour. These ships would enhance the strategic reach and mobility of the Fleet. The induction of these ships will significantly enhance the blue water capability of the Indian Navy. The ships can also be deployed for evacuation of people and human assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations.
The Fleet Support Ships of 44,000 Tons will be the first-of-its kind to be built in India by an Indian Shipyard. This project will generate employment of nearly 168.8 lakh mandays over a period of eight years. The construction of these ships will provide a new dimension to the Indian shipbuilding Industry and encourage active participation of associated industries, including MSMEs. With majority of the equipment and systems being sourced from indigenous manufacturers, these vessels will be a proud flag bearer of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ in consonance with the ‘Make in India’ initiatives of the Government.