During Indian defense minister Rajnath Singh’s recent visit to Moscow, New Delhi was offered Russian minesweepers, which would be built in India, in case the deal fructifies.
The Indian navy is currently in urgent need of new generation minesweepers to replace 12 Pondicherry-class ships. On November 6, Russian side offered its Project 12701 Alexandrit-E ships under a transfer of technology (ToT) pact with India’s Goa Shipyard Limited.
The hull of the minesweeper is made of monolithic fiberglass formed by vacuum infusion. The 890-ton minesweeper is designed to provide mine protection of naval bases, coastal sea areas, to detect and destroy mines of all kinds, to provide mine protection for ships, exclusive economic zones, to carry out mine reconnaissance, and also to lay minefields.
It can be armed with weapons such as the automatic 30 mm AK-306 CIWS gun, 8 MANPADS and heavy machine gun armament.
“The boat can be equipped with French ECA Group’s Alister 9 autonomous underwater vehicles, K-STER C light weight expendable mine disposal vehicles and Inspector-MK2 unmanned surface vehicles to search and neutralize mines ahead of its course without entering the dangerous zone,” an informed source told Defenseworld.net.
“The light, fiberglass hull of these ships is the largest in the world. It offers protection against corrosion, larger endurance and longer service life. In addition, it provides equal proportion of structural strength distribution along the vessel hull,” the source added.
The Alexandrit-E has a nautical range of 1500nm, speed of 16knots and endurance of 10 days. The number of crew members required to run the ship is 44.
The ship is compatible with Russian DIEZ-12700E automated system for mine countermeasures operation control 1 x LIVADIA-ME mine-detection sonar.
Russian navy already operates Alexandrit-class minesweepers- “Alexander Obukhov” was commissioned in January of this year, while the “Ivan Antonov” was inducted in September. Factory trials of the Russian navy’s third minesweeper of this class, the Vladimir Emelyanov, is set to begin soon.