New Delhi, Feb 13 (PTI) In order to add more teeth toits amphibious warfare capabilities, the Navy is planning toinduct four Landing Platform Docks (LPD) to join the fleetalongside INS Jalashwa.
"We are looking to add four more LPDs in our fleet tooperate alongside INS Jalashwa, the only LPD currently inservice," Navy officials told PTI.
The procurement procedure has already begun with therelease of the Request for Information (RFI) by the DefenceMinistry, they said.
The four warships would be procured under the �Buy andmake (Indian)� category of the Defence procurement procedureunder which the Indian shipyards, both private and public,would be required to form a partnership with foreign shipyardsfor the contract.
The navy wants the ships to be produced within thecountry itself and has sought response only from Indianshipyards, having their own infrastructure and capability ofbuilding LPD class of ships, they said.
On the procurement of warships, officials said theLPDs provide the Navy strategic reach to operate far away fromIndian shores and support amphibious warfare.
The Navy wants the ships to be 200 metres long and tobe able to transport Main Battle tanks (MBTs), heavy trucks,Armoured Personnel Vehicles and other heavy machinery.
It should also be able to carry out operations ofheavy-lift helicopters of the Navy, the officials said.
The four LPDs will also have a point missile defencesystem and a close-in weapon system to protect itself fromenemy firing and aircraft.
In 2007, India had inducted the INS Jalashwa - aSanskrit name for Hippopotamus, which is a replenishment andamphibious warfare ship with capacity to embark, transport andland a 1,000-men battalion along with equipment and tanks tosupport operations on enemy shores.
Being the second largest ship in the Navy inventoryafter aircraft carrier INS Viraat, Jalashwa is also capable ofundertaking maritime surveillance, special operations, searchand rescue, medical support as well as humanitarian aid.
Jalashwa was originally commissioned in the US Navy asUSS Trenton and had served for 36 years when India bought itfor USD 48.4 million in 2007. It is based under the EasternNaval Command in Visakhapatnam.