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In a move to bolster falling force levels of warships, Navy has decided to acquire three more Russian Krivck class missile carrying stealth frigates and is in the process of floating proposals for purchasing more spy planes and anti-submarine helicopters.
Disclosing that 27 warships and submarines were on order, Naval Chief Admiral Arun Prakash said government clearance was also in process for inducting 36 more indigenous warships of various tonnage ranging from fast petrol craft to missile carrying destroyers and frigates.
Addressing a news conference on the sidelines of the Navy Day on Sunday, Prakash also said that Navy had completed the selection of buying a Deep Sea Rescue Vehicle for undertaking rescue of submarines in distress by identifying the vendor.
He said the Navy would buy two of these DSRV's and pending their induction in the next three years, it was in the process of formalising an agreement with the US Navy for its help in case of any of the Indian submarines getting into distress in the high seas.
Elaborating on the purchase of three more Krivck class frigates, the Naval Chief said an agreement to this effect was in the offing with the Russians. Indian Navy already has three such frigates and more were being brought to what Prakash described as to balance declining force levels.
On Navy's efforts to reach out to maritime neighbours, Admiral Prakash said, "India had a vital stake in the security of the sea lanes to our east and West."
He said, therefore, the navy must expand its capability to protect these sea lanes and also ensure workable alliances with like-minded countries for its security and for country's energy and commercial security.
Prakash said joint exercises, being conducted along with major maritime powers including US, Russia [Images], France [Images] and UK, were aimed at achieving these goals.
"Some of these exercises have broken new ground - Sea Harrier fighters from INS Viraat undertook combat missions with Mirage 2000 and F/A-18 Hornets and acquainted themselves well," he said.
Describing network-centric operations as a key result area, the Naval Chief said this would constitute one of the main engines of the transformation being brought about in maritime warfare.
He said under the project, it was proposed to eventually link up all the country's warships, submarines, aircraft and shore operations centres through the medium of IT, using a satellite backbone.
"In its final form, this network will enable a naval unit in Bay of Bengal to see what another unit deployed in the Arabian sea has on its sensors," the Naval Chief said, adding that though some steps had already been taken, the full project will take few years to complete.
On shore-based projects, the Naval Chief said the first phase of the Karwar Naval base had been completed and Navy would move ten of its warship to berth at the port by early 2006.
He also said that Navy's Ezhimala Academy had commenced operating on a limited basis with the first batch of short service entry course due to pass out shortly.
Prakash said that for the first time, Navy was planning to conduct a Presidential Fleet review in the East coast off Vizag and the ceremony would be followed by presentation of President's colour to Eastern Fleet.
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