New Delhi: Anil Ambani-led Reliance Defence and Engineering Limited (RDEL) has won a contract to build 14 Fast Patrol Vessels (FPVs) for the Indian Coast Guard.
Under the ministry of defence contract, the FPVs will be designed and delivered at a cost of Rs916 crore. FPVs are primarily used for patrolling carrying out anti-smuggling, anti-piracy and search and rescue operations, and for fisheries protection and monitoring. They also have a secondary role of providing a communication link, and escort coastal convoys, in times of hostilities and war.
"This is the first time, a private sector shipyard has been awarded a contract to design and build such class of ships for Indian Armed Forces. RDEL will be developing the design in-house," Reliance said in a statement on Monday.
Larsen & Toubro Ltd, Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL), Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL), Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd (GRSE) were the other bidders in the fray.
The Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group’s ambitions in the defence equipment space have been growing in recent years. Reliance Group entered the defence equipment space through the acquisition of Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Co. Ltd, since renamed Reliance Defence and Engineering Ltd in 2015.
Last year, it announced a joint venture—Dassault Reliance Aerospace Pvt. Ltd—with French-aircraft maker Dassault Aviation SA that is in line to benefit from a Rs24,500 crore seven-year offset deal.
In September, India inked a deal to buy 36 Rafale aircraft from Dassault for Rs59,000 crore. The agreement has a 50% offset clause. Of this Rs24,500 crore, 74% will have to come from India in goods and services, which could mean a boost for the government’s efforts to promote the local manufacture of defence equipment.
The first Rafale fighter jet is expected to come in three years but Reliance has already acquired 289 acres of land in Nagpur’s Multi-modal International Cargo Hub and Airport (MIHAN) in Maharashtra where the offset will be executed.
Reliance Group companies have sued HT Media Ltd, Mint’s publisher, and nine others in the Bombay high court over a 2 October 2014 front-page story that they have disputed. HT Media is contesting the case.