Rajnath Singh, Minister of Defence of India, visited his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoygu on 6th November in Moscow. The aim of the visit was announced by MoD India as “to explore the areas to further strengthen defence cooperation and ways to facilitate Russian OEMs to take necessary actions for collaboration with the Indian Industry.”
After the meeting Rajnath Singh announced via Twitter that they had a wonderful meeting, and as a result of strategic partnership they would get the support of Russia against terrorism and ready to further strengthen defence cooperation. India will also have Russian support for DefExpoIndia 2020, an exhibition about defence technologies going to be held in India between 5-8 Feb 2020.
As far as we learned, one important subject ministers discussed was about Project 12701 Alexandrit-E minesweepers. The Indian navy is currently in urgent need of new generation minesweepers to replace 12 Pondicherry-class ships. On November 6, Russian side offered its Project 12701 Alexandrit-E ships under a transfer of technology (ToT) pact with India’s Goa Shipyard Limited. The Indian navy has an urgent requirement for 12 minesweepers to replace the Pondicherry class of boats that have been decommissioned.
Disccussions didn’t come to a negotiation yet, we will see the results of the discussions in the near future.
Project 12701 Alexandrit-E minesweepers :
Alexandrit-E-class (Project 12701) coastal mine countermeasures vessels are designed by Russian Almaz Central Marine Design Bureau and developed by JSC Sredne-Nevskiy Shipyard. It is an export variant of Aleksandrit-class minesweeper (Project 12700).
Primary missions of the Alexandrit-E vessels protect surface ships, submarines and vessels through detection, localisation and destruction of mines in naval bases, exclusive economic zones, and coastal sea areas.
The vessel can also be used for mine reconnaissance, laying of minefields, planting of mine barriers, training of naval forces, and protection of territorial waters.
The hull of the 90-ton minesweeper is made of monolithic fiberglass formed by vacuum infusion.
It can be armed with weapons such as the automatic 30 mm AK-306 CIWS gun, 8 MANPADS and heavy machine gun armament.
The Alexandrit-E has a nautical range of 1500nm, speed of 16knots and endurance of 10 days. The number of crew members required to run the ship is 44.
The ship is compatible with Russian DIEZ-12700E automated system for mine countermeasures operation control 1 x LIVADIA-ME mine-detection sonar.