India’s MDL Details Impending Deliveries, Confirms Plans For Project-17B Frigates

Indian shipbuilder Mazagon Docks Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) stated to investors in August that destroyer Mormugao and submarine Vagir are slated to be handed over to the Indian Navy in 2022. MDL also confirmed details concerning upcoming requirements of the Navy, including that of Next Generation Destroyers (NGD), Landing Platform Docks (LPDs) and follow-on Nilgiri class frigates.

Mormugao, the second Visakhapatnam class destroyer under Project 15B, is set to be handed over to the Indian Navy by September. The vessel has almost completed sea trials and minor refinements are needed. Trials of the third ship Imphal are slated to commence later this year. This destroyer will be delivered in 2024. Meanwhile, five Next Generation Destroyers are expected to be required by the Navy at an estimated cost of $6.5 – 7.5 billion.

Vagir commenced sea trials in February 2022 (Indian Navy)

The fifth Kalvari class Scorpene submarine Vagir will be delivered by the end of 2022. The submarine has completed over half of the planned sea trials. The sixth and final submarine was launched in April 2022 and is scheduled to be delivered by 2024. Meanwhile a lack of clarity prevails on Project-75I with the Ministry of Defence extending response periods for global OEMs to the end of 2022.

Three Indian shipyards had earlier qualified for construction of LPDs: L&T, Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) and Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL). Now MDL also qualifies for the contract due to recent enhancement of facilities. Evaluation of shipyards is complete and the project would now move towards Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approval and formulation of RFP. The LPDs required by the Navy are similar in specifications to Landing Helicopter Docks (LHDs) rather than conventional LPDs. MDL has also confirmed that eight Next Generation Corvettes (NGC) are planned. This project was approved by the DAC in June.

MDL stated that the Indian Navy is considering construction of a repeat batch of Project-17A Nilgiri class frigates. Overt Defense was the first to report this in July. Four of the seven Project-17A Nilgiri class frigates are being built by MDL and the rest by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE). The quantity of the follow-on class (Project-17B) frigates planned remains unclear. The order may be split between MDL and GRSE like in P-17A. MDL expects orders for both NGC and P-17B to be placed by 2025.

Header image: Mormugao begins first sea sortie on December 19, 2021 (Indian Navy)