Defence Industry

Export potential in naval sector
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Issue Vol 23.3 Jul-Sep2008 | Date : 25 Feb , 2011

The defence systems are country-specific so as to meet the nation’s security requirements in most efficient manner and at economical terms. All the countries would like to have the defence systems made in their own country for reasons of self-reliance so that plug is not put in time of need. There are variations to this where collaborative developments are in vogue amongst friendly countries. However, the developing nations have not yet reached that comfortable status, and they continue to depend on exports from other countries to meet their defence requirements. This paper will review India’s international export potential in Naval Sector, and what can be done to realise and maximise this potential.

Potential Export Market in Naval Sector

The potential export market in the Naval Sector of interest to India can be summed up primarily in four regions. Firstly, Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand region. Secondly, Saudi Arabia-UAE-Oman. Thirdly, some ten Latin American countries. Fourthly, other countries.

Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Region


Indonesia has projected the requirement of 24 new ships in the coming years. Four corvettes are already being built at Royal Shelde, Vissengen, Netherlands. Consideration is being given to indigenous building of corvettes (1500 tonnes) at PT Pal Surabaya, Indonesia in collaboration with Orrizonte Sistemi Navali S.P.A (Fincantieri) and Italian Navy corvette. Jakarta is seeking a fleet of 22 corvettes by 2024. Some of these corvettes will be built in the country.

The issue of exports in the Defence (naval sector) will need to be backed by the political will of the country. The consortium approach will enable the aim to be realised much sooner. The consortium partners could be the MOD, the Navy and the Shipyard (private/public).

In addition to Royal Shelde, also Blohm+Voss, Fincantieri and Daewoo/Hyundai Heavy Industries of South Korea will be vying to provide the design. Indonesia is also exploring possibility of co-operation with Australia for development of patrol vessels. Indonesia is looking forward to acquisition of two ROK Navy Type 209/1200 class submarines. It is also to modernise and overhaul Type 209/1300 submarines.


Two more frigates have been ordered in 2007 on BAE System Surface Fleet Solutions, Glasgow UK. Earlier two frigates were built at Yarrow Shipbuilders in Glasgow. Now the in-country Labuan Shipyard and Engineering has signed an MOU with BAE Systems for the construction of the frigates for the Royal Malaysian Navy. The construction of the new vessels is likely to be shared between the Yarrow Yard, which is now owned by the BAE Systems and the Labuan Shipyard & Engineering, which has the facility on the Labuan Island of the west coast of Sabah State. There will be Transfer of Technology (TOT) and production knowhow from UK to Malaysia. More than 300 Malaysian engineers will need to be trained in UK yards. Malaysia had traditionally purchased their warships from foreign yards but is now seeking to develop an indigenous shipbuilding capability and capacity. The above frigates are based on the GEC naval systems frigate–2000 design.


In addition to the frigates, six Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs)–MEKO A 100 Type are being built by Penang Shipbuilding Corporation and German Naval Group Consortium led by Blohm+Voss.21 more OPVs are yet to be ordered. Bousted Heavy Industries Corporation (BHIC) is expecting order for building the OPVs of the MEKO 100 design for the Royal Malaysian Navy.

The Royal Malaysian Navy also needs a Multi -Role Support Ship. The contenders for this ship are Hanjin Heavy Industries & Constructions Korea, BAE System UK, DCNS France, Fincantieri Italy.

Two Scorpene class submarines are being built by DCNS France and Navantia Spain. There will be requirement for more submarines.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Vice Adm Rajeshwer Nath

Vice Adm (Retd) Rajeshwer Nath.

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