The Defence Acquisition Council accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the procurement of Next Generation Corvettes (NGC) at an estimated cost of approximately 36,000 crore INR (4.5 Billion USD) on 6th June 2022.

The Indian Navy recently issued a Request For Proposal (RFP) in May 2024 to invite eligible shipyards to manufacture eight Next Generation Corvettes. Four shipyards are expected to be in the race for building NGCs, namely – Mazagon Dock, Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, Larsen and Toubro, and one unnamed shipyard. The contract will be divided between two shipyards to reduce the induction time of the eighth hull into the force. The lowest bidder (L1) will win a contract for five hulls, with the second lowest bidder (L2) winning three hulls for the same unit cost as proposed by the L1.

Kamorta class ASW Corvettes (Indian Navy image)

Indian Navy signed a contract for six Next Generation Missile Vessels (NGMV) in March 2022 for a unit cost of approximately 1,600 crore INR (200 Million USD). NGC with its unit cost of over 500 Million USD will feature a more comprehensive weapon and sensor suite compared to NGMV. NGC will bring in the capability to bridge the gap between NGMV and Nilgiri class frigate. The corvettes will be versatile platforms for a variety of roles viz. surveillance missions, escort operations, medium intensity operations, Surface Action Group (SAG) operations, Search & Attack and Coastal Defence.

The corvettes will be multi-purpose ships capable of carrying out land attack, Anti-Submarine, and Anti-Air Warfare operations. It will feature a bow-mounted SONAR, an active towed array sonar and provisions to store lightweight torpedoes for fitment on the Helicopter. The Navy requires the corvettes to feature one 76mm SRGM, at least eight Surface-to-Surface Missiles and the ability to carry out local naval defence equipped with a Multi-Functional Radar.

These NGCs would be constructed based on a new in-house design of the Indian Navy made by the Warship Design Bureau (WDB). WDB started testing the hull configuration last year at NSTL with a scaled model. The corvettes shall be capable of performing operations up to sea state 4, transit in sea state 7, conducting helicopter operations in state 4 and surviving up to sea state 9. The length of the ship will be around 120m with a accommodation capacity of over 170 personnel, a range of not less than 4000nm at economical speed. The ship will have a maximum sustained speed of more than 25 knots and a top speed of at least 27 knots. They will be able to sustain at sea for more than 14 days (with 25% reserve fuel) and have the ability to undertake astern and/or abeam fuelling from Tanker/ Capital ships to increase endurance.

The PLA Navy has been expanding its operations in the Indian Ocean with near permanent presence and each deployment lasting two to three months on average. The Indian defence minister emphasised the importance of the Indian navy in limiting the expansion of aggressive countries in the Indian Ocean Region. The Indian Navy plans to conclude the procurement of these corvettes with contract signing in the next 12 months and add more ships to the fleet to reach its target of over 175 ships by 2030.