The first high-speed patrol boat being built for Vietnam under the $100-million Line of Credit (LoC) will be delivered by September, said JD Patil, whole time Director & Senior Executive Vice-President defence & smart technologies, Larsen & Toubro. Hanoi is procuring 12 such boats for its border guard force under the LoC extended in September 2014.
“We should be delivering the first boat this September. Five boats will be built by L&T while the remaining will be built in Vietnam. We are trying to finish the boats by mid 2021,” Mr. Patil told The Hindu on the sidelines of the Defexpo last week.
In 2016, India has extended another $500 million defence LoC to Vietnam and discussions are under way to identify the equipment. Defence sources said Vietnam has expressed interest in Akash Surface-to-Air Systems and Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters.
India has also extended a defence LoC to Bangladesh and part of that is also for naval vessels. “We expect something from that as well.” He said exports are picking up pace.
Work share with OFB
The L&T is also manufacturing 100 K9 Vajra-T self-propelled artillery guns for the Army with technology transfer from Hanwha Defence of South Korea. The 51st gun was delivered recently and the order will be completed by June after the which the plant would be idle and they are working on options, Mr. Patil said. “We are appealing to going for repeat order,” Mr. Patil said adding they are in discussions with two to three countries for exports.
In addition, the L&T is in discussions with the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) to take over some of their work load for the large order for assembling the Russian T-90 tanks. “We have high level of automation and robotisation,” Mr. Patil said.
Another focus area for the company presently is underwater autonomous vehicles and Fire Control Radars (FCR). It is developing four such vehicles of which two are under testing.
There is a requirement for dual band FCRs as a tender for 250 mountain FCRs is under way through Make-II procedure. Towards this, the L&T has developed an FCR and radar systems for air defence applications. “The L&T has put significant efforts in developing FCR with all critical technologies being indigenously developed, Mr. Patil said and added they will be marketing this to friendly countries as well.
The company was also recently shortlisted along with the Mazgaon Docks Limited for the Navy’s submarine procurement under Project-75I.