With the Indian Ocean in steady churn, the Indian Navy wants new anti-ship missiles. A lot of them. And it has begun the process tentatively by throwing the doors open to a brand new contest this week to give its current and incoming warships higher performance missile systems. The hardly subtle muscle flexing that has transformed the Indian Ocean into a playground for offensive power projection has meant that India needs all its bases, as it were, covered. The new acquisition declared this week is aimed at meeting a critical requirement with an eye on increasingly unfriendly seas.
The target with this new acquisition: the fitment of a new medium range anti-ship missile (MRAShM, officially) system on 24 frontline ships on an initial order of 270 missiles, with paperwork for additional orders. The navy is looking to field test the wares of all interested contenders after it officially sends our requests for proposal early next year.
Livefist can confirm that the new missiles are intended to replace the legacy Zvezda Kh-35 Uran anti-ship missile systems currently fitted on the Indian Navy’s three Delhi-class destroyers, four Kora-class missile corvettes and the six new Next Generation Missile Vessels (NGMV) that will enter service in the next decade. The navy’s stipulation for an options clause suggests that follow-on orders could be considered for the four under-build P15B Visakhapatnam-class destroyers and seven P17A (follow-on to the Shivalik class) stealth frigates.
Apart from the Uran system, the navy currently operates the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, Club-N anti-ship/land attack cruise missile and even a few P-20 Termit systems on a handful of missile boats. Vendors have been asked to supply separate timelines for delivery under India’s Buy (Global), Buy and Make (Indian) and Buy and Make categories. Top Indian Navy sources confirm the service is looking for a system that’s built in India under license, throwing the contest open to companies like the Kalyani Group, Adani Group and Reliance Defence, all of which have forged techno-corporate understandings with foreign missile firms.