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Interview-Part III

Mismatches galore

On the one hand you tell the industry to Make in India. The industry completes the project on time with speed sometimes ahead of time. Then there is MISMATCH between the capability of the industry versus resources required for operating the assets.

Things have improved over a period of time and forty more crafts have been handed over to the coastguards. Fourteen more crafts are ready with the ship yards and the coastguard can take possession of them any time. Possession of all the crafts will be good for the coastal security of the country. The coastguards have another problem. They do not have adequate manpower to take charge of the crafts. Here also there is a MISMATCH.

Coastguards have manpower induction program which is going on at some pace. The ship building program has gone faster than that. So there is a mismatch at the higher level of resources in the ship building industry.

L and T Ship Yard swings a deal for a floating dry dock, first time an Indian shipyard gets such an order

The L and T ship building secured an order from the Indian navy for construction of Floating Dry Dock. It is an important infrastructure for the Indian navy. The facility was never built in India before. The L and T ship shipyard designed it themselves and built it. We delivered it to the Navy on schedule. It had to go through series of trials both at Kattupalli ship yard and at Port Blair. Today this infrastructure is available in Andaman Nicobar islands.

L and T ship yard completed the project and Navy took it on time. But the most important thing is that it was designed and built in India. We never had an opportunity to build a floating dock. Today it is an operational Asset. We faced some challenges during design and the methodology by which we de-risk the design. We found out some innovative ways to de risk the design.

Every time you design a machine you de risk it to find out whether it meets the objectives for which it was meant for, like the speed and efficiency. We finished most of the de-risking at Kattupalli Ship yard and then took it to Port Blair. From keel laying to the delivery to the customer the L and T ship yard took 24 and half months to complete.

Floating docks are both economical and flexible. It can be mobilized at different places where there is requirement. Its upkeep and maintenance is also relatively comparable to land based assets. Today we have demonstrated our capability to design and build a floating dock on our own. I think it will attract attention from many neighboring states. Some queries have been received on how we made this happen.

Another order secured for Seven Offshore Patrol vessels

The third order the L T ship yard received is for supply of seven offshore patrol vessels. We delivered the first vessel on the opening day of the Chennai Defense Expo which opened at Chennai on April eleven. This is the first time that an Indian private sector ship yard had designed and built an Off-shore patrol boat. This is the perfect example of Make in India program of a product being designed, developed and constructed in India.

The offshore patrol vessel manufactured in the L and T ship building is the first in the series of seven vessels where the design gets fully tested in the sea. In the first of class vessels such as offshore patrol boats, the trials are always challenging.  The challenges are managed by on how well you design the vessel and how well you de-risk the design.

Another feather in the cap of the ship yard is that this is the first time a ship like offshore patrol vessel was delivered within the contractual build time. In India’s fifty five year old history of warship building, this has not happened before. Every time the building of first of class vessels got delayed for some reason or other. But we have been fortunate in achieving the stupendous task of completing the construction before schedule. Of course it also came about because of our determination to complete the work on time.

We took less than 36 months to complete the first offshore patrol vessel. The Manufacturing process was affected by 2015 floods and the cyclone the very next year. The defense ministry gave us 25 days extra time to complete the work. But we availed the facility partially.

The company has been given three years time by the defense ministry to complete the order for six more offshore patrol vessels but we hope to complete it within two years. This is much lesser period taken by other Indian ship yards to complete this type of work. We have already set the bench mark but will strive to improve upon it when we complete the delivery.

Vice Admiral Kannan attributed the achievement to the company’s engineering capability, work ethos, detailed planning and a high amount of digitalization which we have done in the industrial process.

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