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Italian engines to power India's first air-defence ship
George Iype in Kochi | October 06, 2004 19:26 IST
India's first indigenous air-defence ship, whose construction is set to begin at the Cochin Shipyard, will be powered by Italian technology and design.
An Italian shipbuilding company has won the �22 million contract for the design, integration, installation, and commissioning of the propulsion system for the ADS.
An additional �6 million will be paid to the Italian company, Fincantieri SpA, for detailed engineering and documentation.
The contract was awarded to Fincantieri SpA following a limited global tender in which companies from France, Britain, and Spain also participated.
According to officials, a two-part contract has been signed with the Italian firm. The first part covers the design of the ADS, responsibility for 'propulsion system integration', and assistance to the shipyard during installation of the engines.
The second part relates to the engineering and detailed design of the ancillary propulsion systems and the ship's main power plants.
The ADS construction is being dubbed India's biggest indigenous defence project and the contract bagged by the Italian firm is said to be one of the bigger ones in recent times from the Indian government.
The upgradation of the Cochin Shipyard for the mammoth project has already been completed.
Officials at the shipyard said a team of top engineers and architects from the Italian company visited the site.
During the development of the ADS design, a team of officers of the Indian Navy and engineering experts from Cochin Shipyard will work in Fincantieri's headquarters in Italy.
"The construction is all set to start. It is a very complex project and since the Italian company has global expertise in building air defence ships, we hope to complete it in the scheduled period," a senior Cochin Shipyard official told rediff.com
When completed, the 38,000 tonne ADS will be India's largest aircraft carrier in service with a conventional propulsion based on 2,500 gas turbines.
The ADS will house airborne early warning helicopters, besides fixed wing aircraft.
The Indian Navy also plans to place the naval version of the MiG-29K fighter jets and the naval version of the Light Combat Aircraft, which is being developed indigenously, on the proposed carrier.
The ADS project is scheduled to be completed by 2010. It was estimated to cost Rs 18-20 billion initially. But officials now say the cost could double in the next few years.
India's only aircraft carrier at present is the INS Viraat. Earlier this year, the government also finalised the purchase of the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov in a $1.5 billion deal.
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