Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) is an Indian Defence Public Sector Undertaking (DPSU) under the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD). The Chairman and Managing Director of GRSE shared information regarding the ongoing and future projects of the Indian Navy, as well as the future outlook for the company in its Q2 FY24 concall on 17th November 2023.

Ongoing Projects

GRSE has the second-largest order book of the 4 DPSU shipyards, standing at over 23,700 crore INR (2.76 billion USD) in September 2023. The order book consists of four Indian Navy projects, one project encompassing six Patrol Vessels for the Government of Bangladesh, one next-generation electric ferry for the Government of West Bengal, and an unmanned surface vessel for DRDO.

The four Indian Navy projects include three frigates under Nilgiri class (Project-17 Alpha), four Survey Vessel Large (SVL), 8 Anti-Submarine Warfare Shallow Water Craft (ASW SWC), and 4 Next Generation Offshore Patrol Vessel (NG-OPV).

Project-17A is a follow-on of Project 17 (Shivalik class), encompassing seven ships, of which three are being built by GRSE. The last ship under GRSE was launched in August this year. The first ship built by GRSE has attained more than 60% physical progress in construction, the second ship stands at 51% completion and the third is at 40% completion. GRSE intends to deliver the first ship of the P-17A around mid-2025 and the last by mid-2026.

Vindhyagiri Launch Pic1
Launch of Vindhyagiri, the sixth P-17A frigate (MoD and Indian Navy photo)

MoD and Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) signed a contract for building four SVL ships in October 2018. The first ship is being built at GRSE while the other three have been subcontracted to Larson and Tuobro up to the outfitting stage. SVL class of ships will replace the existing Sandhayak Class survey ships with new-generation hydrographic equipment to collect oceanographic data.

The first ship of SVL has completed the required harbor and sea trials, it has achieved over 90% physical progress in construction and is being readied for delivery in December 2023. The second ship stands at 76% completion and 6 months behind the first ship of the SVL class. The third and fourth ships of the class are at 66% and 52% physical progress in construction.

MoD and Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) signed a contract for building eight ASW SWC ships in April 2019. The first four ships were subcontracted to Larson and Tuobro for hull and part outfitting. The production of all eight ships has commenced with the outstanding four being laid at GRSE Kolkata. ASW SWC are ships meant to replace Abhay class ASW corvettes, undertaking anti-submarine operations in coastal waters, as well as Low-Intensity Maritime Operations (LIMO) and Mine Laying Operations.

The first ship of ASW SWC has achieved 66% physical progress in construction and is slated for delivery in the first half of the calendar year 2024. It is followed closely by the second ship at 60% physical progress which is supposed to be delivered six months after the first ship. The third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth ships are at 51%, 42%, 26%, 26%, 16%, and 13% physical progress respectively. All eight ships under GRSE are slated to be delivered by 2026

Launch Of Arnala Pic1
Launch of Arnala, the fourth ASW SWC under GRSE (MoD photo)

MoD and GRSE signed a contract for building four of the eleven NG-OPVs in March 2023. Goa Shipyard was declared L1 (lowest bidder) with seven hulls in its bag and GRSE was declared L2 (second lowest bidder) with four hulls. NG-OPV will work to expand and strengthen the Indian Navy’s offshore patrolling fleet. The physical production of two of the four ships under GRSE has already commenced. “On the right track,” says the GRSE CMD.

GRSE is developing its own set of autonomous and unmanned vehicles in partnership with Indian firms, it has already completed the development of an Unmanned Surface Vessel and an Autonomous Underwater Vessel. GRSE has bagged an order of one set of USVs from DRDO with the Indian Navy and Indian Army showcasing interest in its AUV project. GRSE is also developing marine-capable drones and another prototype of a USV that is to be launched this year. The USV ordered by DRDO is slated for delivery in March this financial year.

Autonomous Underwater Vessel Grse July 2023
Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (GRSE photo)

Future Projects

Indian Navy intends to order another set of five survey vessels in addition to the four SVLs, under the Next Generation Survey Vessel. GRSE expects the RFP for NGSV to be released in the next six months.

Defence Acquisition Council accorded AoN for the procurement of eight Next Generation Corvettes worth 36,000 crore INR (4.3 billion USD) in June 2023. The ship is being designed by the Indian Navy’s Warship Design Bureau (Surface) and will feature a new hull spanning around 120m in length and 17m in width.

The project will be divided between two shipyards, with L1 and L2 being awarded five and three hulls respectively. GRSE expects the Indian Navy to release the RFP in the latter half of the next calendar year (2024) with contract conclusion only after FY26.

Project-17 Bravo is planned by the Indian Navy as a follow-up of P-17A. The project will include seven to eight ships divided between two shipyards, similar to P-17A. The project is estimated to be worth 60-70 thousand crore INR (7.2-8.4 billion USD). The ship will include higher indigenous content and “minor tweaking of the specifications”. GRSE expects the construction to only start after the delivery of the last P-17A.

Next-Generation Destroyer (NGD) is another big project planned by the Indian Navy to be executed in two tranches. The initial requirement is for four hulls, which could be incremented to eight hulls. Each tranche will include four ships divided equally between two shipyards, the next four will come only after the first four are delivered. Indian Navy has not approached the MoD for DAC approval yet, the procurement process may differ once the AoN is accorded. GRSE says it has adequate capacity and facilities to handle the Next Generation Destroyer. The RFP for the project is expected to come out only after “year 25”.

The future of LPDs is bleak with no clarity on when the AoN will be accorded.

GRSE expects to sign a licensing agreement with Rolls Royce Germany for the co-production of high-speed low-power marine diesel engines this year. GRSE and RR Germany signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in January 2023 for the same. GRSE is also planning to make a deal with Kongsberg to make water jet engines in India under license.

GRSE already has a marine diesel engine assembly plant under it and wants to transition from assembly to manufacturing. A certain percentage of components of the marine diesel engine will be manufactured in India from scratch, GRSE hopes to achieve at least 50% indigenization in this segment.

GRSE’s outstanding orderbook includes 13,132 crore INR for P-17A, 1092 crore INR for SVL, over 5,300 crore INR for ASW SWC, and over 3,400 crore INR for NGOPV. GRSE has leased over 3 medium-sized docks from the Kolkata Port Trust, over 70% of the drydocks available to GRSE are currently occupied with activities ranging from building frigates to refits of various Indian Coast Guard ships.

Link to the conall