Indian Navy Multi-Role Support Vessel programme

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Multi-Role Support Vessel
India Indian Navy The Indian Navy has stated a need for 4 MRSV's.[1]
France DCNS/ARMARIS (21,300 tons) Mistral LHD
Italy Fincantieri (20,000 tons) Multi-functional Ship [LHD][5]
Spain Navantia (27,079 tons) Juan Carlos I LHD
South Korea Hanjin Heavy Industries (14,500-18,800 tons) Dokdo class assault landing ship
 Speculated Contenders[4] 
United Kingdom BAE Systems (21,578 tons) Ocean Class LHD
United States Raytheon (25,000 tons) San Antonio-class LPD
Germany ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (15,000 tons) MHD-150
Netherlands Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (16,160 tons) Enforcer LPD
 Total Project Cost[3] 
16,000 crore (US$2.5 billion)
as of 2011

India's Ministry of Defence finalised a project for the procurement of four Landing Helicopter Docks (also referred to as "Multi-Role Support Vessel") in order to upgrade the Indian Navy's disaster response, amphibious warfare and island protection capabilities.[6] The project is worth ₹16,000 crore (US$ 2.6 billion), and tenders were issued in December 2013 to three domestic shipyards.[7][8]


As a precautionary measure against People's Republic of China's naval presence in the Indian Ocean, acquiring amphibious warfare ships and aircraft carriers has become a top priority for Indian Navy. Consequently, Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) is being developed into a major Amphibious Warfare Hub for Indian Navy and it is considered crucial to counter China's strategic moves in the Indian Ocean as well as ensure security of these sea lanes.

In 2011, it was reported that India is looking for up to four LHD type aviation and amphibious ships, with designs to come from foreign firms. In November 2013, the Defence Ministry has issued a tender for building warships which can carry helicopters. The tender was issued as part of efforts by the government to build the capabilities of the indigenous industry.

Criteria for selection[edit]

Although moderately flexible, the basic criteria are:[2][3][9][7]

  1. Size: Should be no more than 215 metres long; and draught at full load must not exceed 8 metres.
  2. Aviation facilities: Aviation deck to carry 10 heavy helicopters, up to 35 tons.
  3. Troop space: Accommodate 1,430 personnel, including 60 officers, 470 sailors and 900 troops.
  4. Load carrying capability: Combination of landing craft, including landing craft mechanised to ferry tanks; landing craft, vehicle, personnel to transport troops; and the fast-moving landing craft air cushion vessels. Should carry six main battle tanks, 20 infantry combat vehicles and 40 heavy trucks.
  5. On-board weapons: Point-defence missile system, close-in weapon system, an anti-torpedo decoy system, a chaff system, and heavy and light machine guns.
  6. Range and endurance: Endurance of 45 days, with a maximum sustained speed of not less than 20 knots.
  7. Propulsion: Powered by electric propulsion systems.
  8. Special Features: Specialised areas from hospital facilities to naval command centre.
  9. Role: Conducting maritime surveillance, special operations, search and rescue, medical support and humanitarian aid.


 Name   Displacement (Tons)   Aircraft carried   Extended Deck   Range(km)   Troops 
France Mistral 21,300 16 heavy or 35 light helicopters Yes 19,800 900 marines
Italy Multi-functional Ship 20,000 up to 6 helicopters EH-101/Merlin type Yes 13,000 950 Marines
Spain Juan Carlos I 27,079 Up to 30 aircraft (including AV-8B Harrier II, F-35 (planned), CH-47, Sea King, NH-90) Yes (with Ski jump) 17,000 913 marines

Mistral LHD (DCNS, France)[edit]

BPC Dixmude - A Mistral class amphibious assault ship and potential MRSV candidate for the Indian Navy

DCNS/Armaris's contender is a modified version of the Mistral Class ship.[2][10] The ships in this class are generally able to carry around 900 armed troops and 16 heavy or 35 light helicopters. France's DCNS is currently India’s shipbuilding partner for its new Scorpène class diesel electric fast attack submarines. The Mistral meets every criterion for the MRSV project.[2][9]

Multi-functional Ship LHD (Fincantieri, Italy)[edit]

A model of Fincantieri's 20,000 t Multi-functional Ship.

The Indian Navy recently received the first Deepak-class fleet tanker by Italy’s Fincantieri which is currently working with India to build the Vikrant-class aircraft carrier.[11] Although Fincantieri has a history of naval industrial relations with India, it is yet to fully develop a ship that fits the criteria for Multi-Role Support Vessel. However, according to their website, Fincantieri is fully capable of manufacturing a vessel which they list as a 20,000 tonne "Multi-functional ship". This ship is purported to be suitable for the "MRSV" title.[5]

Juan Carlos I Class (Navantia, Spain)[edit]

Navantia built the Juan Carlos I LHD for the Spanish Navy, and is building two similar ships for the Australian Navy. It is also a strong contender for the title of "Multi-Role Support Vessel" as it meets each criterion perfectly. With its ski jump for STOVL operations, it is conceptually similar to a Wasp Class LHD. Nonetheless, if India would be willing to compromise with a smaller vessel or LPD, then this would expand Navantia's scope by including the Galicia Class LPD, which was co-developed with Royal Schelde.


The Indian Navy issued a ₹16,000 crore (160 Billion INR - US$ 2.6 billion) domestic tender to three domestic shipyards - Larsen & Toubro (L&T) which has tied up with Navantia of Spain, Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering which has partnered with France’s DCNS, and ABG Shipyard (Later disqualified due to poor financial health)[12] which has partnered with USA's Alion. After the winning design is selected, the private shipyard will construct two LPDs and the remaining two will be constructed by state-owned Hindustan Shipyard Ltd (HSL). Later it was decided to give the entire LPD contract to private players upon acceptance of their revised bids.[3][7][8] After years of delay, on 21 May 2017 Ministry Defense gave "In-principle approval" for the project.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Multi-Role Support Ship (MRSS)
  2. ^ a b c d "India Looking for Amphibious Ships". Defense Industry Daily. 27 Nov 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Amphibious vessels to strengthen Navy". Times of India. 10 Sep 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Multi-Role Support Ship (MRSS)". Global Security. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Naval Vessel: Multifunctional Ship". Fincantieri. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  6. ^ Defence News Admin (26 November 2011). "India To Buy Four Large Amphibious Ships, Air Tankers". Defence News. 
  7. ^ a b c the 2013 tender, two LPDs were to be built by domestic private sector and remaining by a state-owned company. Now it has been decided to give the entire LPD contract to private players upon acceptance of their revised bids./article/20131212/DEFREG03/312120012/India-Construct-4-LPDs "India To Construct 4 LPDs" Check |url= value (help). Defense News. 12 December 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "LPDs Lead India's Push To Boost Sealift, Amphibious Capabilities". Defense News. 14 January 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  9. ^ a b "Indian Navy launches Request For Proposal for 4 amphibious vessels (LHD type)". Naval Industry News. 23 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "DCNS offers modified Mistral Helicopter Carrier to India". IBC Worldnews. IBC Worldnews. Retrieved 4 August 2015. 
  11. ^ "Indian Aircraft carrier". Bharat Rakshak. Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  12. ^ a b PTI (2017-05-21). "Government gives green signal to build worth over Rs 20,000 crore". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2017-06-16. 

External links[edit]