GRSE partners Rolls Royce Solutions for building marine engines in India
In a major step towards reducing the import content of Indian warships, Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Rolls Royce Solutions of Germany for manufacturing high-quality marine diesel engines in India.
The MoU was signed on Friday by the chiefs of GRSE and MTU — Commodore P R Hari (Retired), and the MTU head in India, GS Selwyn — in the presence of the Navy’s Chief of Material, Vice-Admiral Sandeep Naithani.
Defence shipyards have long faced criticism for insufficient indigenisation. Of the three main parts of a warship – the “float”, “move” and “fight” systems – only the “float” component, which includes the vessel’s hull and superstructure, has been adequately indigenised to the extent of 90 per cent.
The “move” component — which includes the engines, gas turbines, transmission, shafting, and propellers — is seldom more than 50 per cent indigenous. And only about 25 per cent of the “fight” component — which includes the sensors and weapons — is made in India.
Now, the main component of the “move” systems – the engines or gas turbines — is set to be indigenised with GRSE tying up with Rolls-Royce to build engines in India.
Under the agreement, GRSE and Rolls Royce Solutions will cooperate to manufacture under licence the technologically advanced MTU S4000 marine engines. These engines, which generate a rated power output of 746-4300 kilowatts (KW), are reputed to be compact, reliable, and easy to maintain.
“The MoU deals with Transfer of Technology related to engine assembly, painting, parts sourcing, and after-sales service for these engines that are to be assembled at GRSE’s Diesel Engine Plant in Ranchi,” said GRSE in a statement on Saturday.
The S4000 engines will power Fast Patrol Vessels (FPVs), Interceptor Boats (IBs), and Fast Attack Crafts (FACs) built by GRSE and other shipyards around the country. So far, these warships have been powered by imported power plants, which brings down their indigenous content.
The use of imported engines and gas turbines has been even more prevalent in large destroyers and frigates, which have relied on Zorya gas turbines, supplied from Ukraine.
Meanwhile, other warships, such as the three Shivalik-class frigates, have been integrated with LM-2500 gas turbines supplied by General Electric, US.
On the one hand, the Indian Navy’s department of indigenisation is pushing to indigenise the production of Zorya and LM-2500 gas turbines for larger warships. Meanwhile, with the MTU S4000 indigenised for fitment into the smaller FPVs, IBs, and FACs, indigenisation will get a boost across the board.
MTU, which is a brand of Power Systems, is a fully-owned Rolls-Royce subsidiary.
GRSE said in a statement on Saturday: “The manufacture of these engines in India would provide a great opportunity to local industry, particularly MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) involved in the manufacture of components and spares.”
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