Defence IndustryIndian Navy

L&T Shipyard Secures 5-Year Contract To Repair US Navy Ships In Chennai

The US Navy has signed a five-year master shipyard repair agreement (MSRA) with the company. This means that US Navy ships, including battleships, will be fixed at the L&T port in Kattupalli, near Chennai.

The USNS Salvor, a salvage ship that doesn’t carry weapons, arrived at Kattupalli port on Monday. It is the first ship in the deal to get steel repairs. During its two-week stay, the ship will be kept in good shape. In November, the ship will go back to port for a full 90-day repair.

Captain Michael L. Farmer, who is in charge of the office of defense cooperation at the US embassy in New Delhi, told reporters after a ceremony to receive the ship that the deal was finalized last month and that the US Military Sealift Command ships would be fixed first. He thinks that in the future, battleships of the navy might also be brought in for repairs. “This is part of the deal, but how it works will depend on where the ships are in the area,” he said.

The ships of the seventh fleet that are in voyage will be fixed in Chennai.

“The shipyard was chosen because it met all of the navy’s standards. As more shipyards in India become qualified, they will also be added so that ships from Africa can sail to Mumbai or ports on the west coast to get repairs, he said.

Trying to find more ports, especially on the western side of India, is important because India is in the area where the US Pacific Command and the US Central Command divide.

He didn’t agree with the idea that this was a plan to set up a US base in India. “This is a good place for our ships to get repaired. “Indian ships have the right kind of experience and use the same engine,” he said.

Arun Ramchandani, the executive vice president of L&T, said, “This is the third US Navy ship that has come here to get fixed. This shows that the US still trusts us to meet their needs. We have been able to make products of great quality. A lot of ships from the Indian Navy are fixed here. Friendly countries have also asked us to do the work for them.

When asked about making it easier to fix ships, he said that the port has enough space to do work. “There are 1,000 acres, and we see more opportunities to repair ships for the Indian navy, the coast guard, and other countries. This gives us room to grow.”

The yard can also be improved quickly so that the INS Vikranth can be serviced there if the Indian Navy wants to do that. “That’s in the long run, and the Navy has to decide,” he told the media in response to a question.

US consul general Judith Ravin said, “The MSRA is a symbol of our strengthened US-India relationship. Under this deal, the USNS Salvor is the first US ship to get a mid-trip repair at L&T. The deal is between the US Navy and private shipbuilding contractors to pre-approve shipyards that can fix US Navy ships. The agreement is not legally binding. It has a strict screening process. For example, the contractor must be able to finish at least 55% of a ship’s work package, own its own buildings, use its own shops and workers, have a history of keeping the workplace safe, and be able to hire subcontractors to keep an eye on the voyage repair.

She talked about the strategic importance of the partnership by saying that the deal with L&T shows that the US Navy and Indian companies work better together to improve our maritime security. “By partnering to deliver economical and effective repair of US naval vessels, our shipping industries positively contribute to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” she added.

“Let me tell you a few numbers that show how close our two countries are: India’s biggest trading partner is the U.S., with more than $191 billion worth of trade going both ways. India does more military exercises with the U.S. than with any other country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in the U.S. in June, and President Biden will soon be going to India. That will mean that our countries have met at the top level twice in less than six months.”

She also said that the US was committed to making the US-India major defense relationship work by sharing more information, working together on regional security, trading in defense goods, and working together in new areas.

The deal with L&T comes after two US Navy ships, the USNS Charles Drew and the USNS Matthew Perry, were successfully fixed in the middle of their trips at Kattupalli. During the US-India 2+2 ministerial conversation, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that they wanted to do maintenance on the ships in India.

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