The Indian Navy and its design organisation has successfully converted the stumbling blocks into stepping stones and went on to augment the strength of the Navy’s Designers in this glorious journey of 50 years, now being the largest pool of Naval Architects in the country
An international seminar “Future Trends and Opportunities in Warship Design and Construction” was held on September 25, 2014, DRDO Bhawan, New Delhi to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Indian Navy’s Indigenous Warship Design. Admiral R.K. Dhowan, Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), was the chief guest. The event was honoured by the presence of the Defence Secretary, R.K. Mathur, Flag Officers, Officers of the Indian Navy (IN) and officials from the Ministry of Defence, Chairmen and Managing Directors of Shipyards, dignitaries from PSUs, classification societies and luminaries from the Ship Building Industry.
During his address, the CNS said that in recognition of the need for development of indigenous capabilities, the Corps of Naval Constructors had been formed in 1954, followed by setting up of a Central Design Office (CDO) in 1964. In 1970, CDO emerged as the Directorate of Naval Design (DND) and it formed the bedrock of all warship design activities in the country. In the last five decades, India’s growing maritime self-reliance has facilitated the greater recognition of the role that India plays in providing stability in the Indian Ocean region.
He also said that the DND has been a cornerstone for the construction of 119 warships and submarines of various types and sizes in our shipyards as of date. During the address he said that this journey of 50 years is a milestone in the self-reliance programme of IN and stressed that indigenisation of platforms, weapons, sensors and equipment, through participation of public and private sectors will continue to remain a focus area. The recently commissioned warships INS Kolkata, INS Kamorta (in August 2014) and INS Sumitra (in early September 2014) appropriately demonstrate the immense potential of the country in indigenous warship design and building capability. He emphasised that “Roadmap for the Navy’s expansion and growth would continue to remain firmly anchored on self-reliance and indigenisation”. With 41 ships and submarines under construction at various public and private shipyards within the country, CNS said, “We need to leverage the shipbuilding capacities and capabilities available in our private and public sectors in a holistic manner to ensure that we provide our indigenisation vision the right impetus.” He further urged the ship designers to work in synergy with all shipyards and domain experts and absorb the best practices available the world-over to ensure that our future warships meet best global standards in build quality, timelines and cost.
CNS, in conclusion, congratulated Rear Admiral A.K. Saxena, Director General Naval Design and all personnel of the Directorate of Naval Design for their professionalism and relentless indigenisation efforts to cater to the maritime security challenges faced by the nation.
The Navy’s Design Directorate is possibly the only uniformed Design Organisation in the world to possess self-sufficiency and self-reliance in warship design and construction capability to produce state-of-the-art warships. Warships being a very complex entity, necessitates that the activities progress concurrently between the staff, design teams and the shipyard. The Directorate is linked with all major shipyards with well-equipped video conferencing facility for quick, close and continuous interaction during the design and construction process. Navy’s Design Organisation is unique in its own way as it assumes a central and pivotal role in design and construction of warship projects and interacts with a host of agencies during the entire design and construction process. The IN is passing through an intense phase of modernisation and transformation. The induction programme of warships and weapon systems will have an increasing thrust on indigenous design and construction.
The proceedings of the Seminar began with screening of a scintillating movie on “indigenous Warship Design of IN.”
Session I was presided over by Rear Admiral N.P. Gupta (Retd), former Director General Naval Design (Surface Ship Group). Rear Admiral A.B. Singh, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Perspective Planning), was first to make a presentation on the historical perspective on force level planning of the modern IN since its formative years. He very succinctly brought out the transition and transformation of the Indian Navy from Buyer’s Navy to Builder’s Navy with indigenisation being the main pivot of its strategic growth. He highlighted the need for developing the core competency and understanding the risks and its management. Towards greater focus on self-reliance through indigenisation he emphasised the need to adopt ‘Buy and Make Indian,’ as the pronounced policy the Government of India.
Vice Admiral William Hunter Hilarides, Commander Naval Sea Systems Command, US Navy, presented an enlightening paper on ‘Considerations for the Design and Sustainment of Modern Warships’. He emphasised upon the development and introduction of many common software and hardware for different classes of ships and submarines to achieve greater standardisation, adoption of COTS technologies, etc., all to reduce cost in warship construction. Professor Paul Wrobel, Professor of Naval Construction at the University College of London, spoke on the ‘Challenges in Design and Construction of Warships for the 21st Century’. Kireev Valeiry from Joint Stock Company, SSTC of Russian Federation, presented a highly professional paper on ‘Stages of Cooperation and Industrial Base of Shipbuilding in the XXI Century’.
Session II was chaired by Commodore Karthik Subrmaniam (Retd), Chairman and Managing Director, Cochin Shipyard Limited. The first paper on ‘Green Technologies and Practices: Application and Opportunities for Naval Vessels’ was presented by Derek Novak, President/COO Pacific, ABS Technologies. This presentation was followed by yet another illuminating paper by Valeiry N. Poliakov, Krylov State Research Centre, Russian Federation on ‘Future Trends in Design and Construction of Warships’. Shashak Tripathi, Leader Strategic Analysis Group, PricewaterhouseCoopers, presented an analytical overview of the warship design and construction in India. While lauding the achievements of the Directorate of Naval Design in glowing terms, he advanced the thought process that warships should not just be battle worthy, they should be winner worthy. At the culmination of the Session, Commodore G.K. Harish, Additional Principal Director Naval Design (SSG) presented the paper on ‘Design and Construction of Warships for the 21st Century’ on behalf of Professor David Andrews.
The day-long seminar was most professionally organised, managed and was a fitting tribute to the outstanding achievements, growth and development of IN’s home grown Warship Design Organisation. The seminar very successfully advanced the articulations from the experts of global repute with diverse specialisation to generate thought provoking and valuable concepts to germinate visionary and futuristic approach in warship designs by the Directorate General of Naval Design.