Coast Guard for major fleet expansion

NEW DELHI: Continuing with its ambitious as set enhancement plan in the aftermath of  the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, the Indian Coast  Guard (ICG) is likely to achieve the “fully  desired force level” of 154 ships, 126 boats and 139 aircraft by 2027,  the Centre has told  a Parliamentary Panel.  Prior to achieving the eventual target, the ICG’s fleet  would comprise 150 ships and boats and 100 aircraft by 2018, just after the 12th Five-year Plan ends, the Centre said in its reply to an October 2011 report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence. Earlier this week, the panel presented an Action Taken Report (ATR) on the recommendations made in its report to Parliament. The ICG had a surface force level of 42 ships and 19 boats, besides 45 aircraft on November 25, 2008, just ahead of the Mumbai terror attacks, which exposed the gaping holes in the country’s coastal security network. “Post 26/11, induction of assets and augmentation of force levels received undivided attention. Due to this, contracts for 104 platforms, consisting of 36 ships and 68 boats/hovercraft, were concluded by the ICG between January 2009 and March 2011,” the Union Ministry of Defence (MoD) told the committee. “Currently, acquisition cases for 46 platforms, consisting of 26 ships and 20 boats) are being processed, which are likely to conclude by 2013,” it said.  The acquisition programme also caters to the replacement of the old platforms inducted in the early 1980s by the ICG. The committee had in its report observed that the existing strength of the surveillance force levels and aircraft included 44 ships, 24 boats, six hovercraft, 20 Chetaks and four ‘Dhruv’ Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH). Between 2008 and 2011, the ICG had added only two ships and six boats and it had been roundly criticised by the Parliamentary Panel in its report. The MoD had told the panel “the phase lag in the acquisition and induction of the vessels is unavoidable since ship construction is a highly complex and time intensive process.” It said the shipyard required a minimum delivery period of two to three years from the time of signing the contract to the delivery of the first vessel of a class of ships, while the follow-on vessels needed an additional six to 12 months depending on the size of the vessel.

Source: Indian Express

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