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GRSE launches India's first Sandhayak survey ship

India's state-owned Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) launched on 5 December in Kolkata the first of four indigenously designed 3,300-ton survey vessels that are being built for the Indian Navy under a INR24.35 billion (USD323.8 million) public-private partnership agreement.

In a statement, the Indian Navy said that according to a deal India's Ministry of Defence (MoD) signed with GRSE in October 2018, the remaining three Sandhayak-class survey ships would be built by private manufacturer Larsen & Toubro (L&T) at its Kattupalli shipyard in southern India.

Propelled by two imported diesel engines, combined with fixed-pitch propellers, and fitted with bow-and-stern thrusters to manoeuvre at low speeds during surveys, the 110 m-long and 16 m-wide survey ships will carry a complement of 235 personnel, the Indian Navy said. Each ship will also be embarked with a light utility helicopter.

According to the Indian Navy, the vessels will be capable of “coastal and deep-water hydrographic survey of ports and harbour approaches and determination of navigational channels and routes”. They will also undertake surveys of maritime limits and collection of oceanographic and geographical data for defence applications to boost the navy's maritime operational capabilities.

In a secondary role, the ships will be deployed on search-and-rescue and humanitarian and disaster relief missions, in addition to doubling up as hospital ships during emergencies.

The four new survey platforms will eventually replace an equal number of in-service Sandhayak-class vessels, eight of which were built by GRSE from 1977.

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