Warship-grade steel from SAIL for new aircraft carrier
By Express News Service | Published: 07th August 2013 09:40 AM |
India’s effort to built its own aircraft carrier in Kochi has generated a positive spin-off. Public sector Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) has developed a warship-grade steel that will help the nation shake off its decades of dependence on imports.
This breakthrough is a compelling story of how a collaborative effort among defence scientists, the Navy and SAIL help India save crores of rupees.
The turnaround for Indian steel industry began when the country was looking for imported warship-grade steel for its 40,000-tonne Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC), now under construction at the Cochin Shipyard in Kerala.
The search for steel for the `3,560-crore IAC took Navy warship designers to Russia, where a particular steel of military-grade was found to be suitable for building the 21,000-tonne hull of the IAC. Considering that the cost of imported steel was double the domestic, India saved at least `1,000 crore by opting for indigenous steel to build its first aircraft carrier.
However, issues of technology denial regimes, foreign exchange troubles and likely delay in supplies made the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) scientists and Navy to once again carry out a search, this time to see if the military-trade steel could be made in India.
That was when the SAIL technologists came into the picture. They were ready to take on the challenge by collaborating with the DRDO and Navy.
The necessity led them to invent several variants of military-grade steel -- DMR249 -- that is now cut and given shape to form the hull of the IAC, expected to be delivered to the Navy in 2018.
“From now on, all Indian-built warships will use the same steel for their hulls,” Navy Vice Chief Vice Admiral R K Dhowan said here.
India has ordered for over 40 warships that are either under construction or will be built in its own shipyards.
The SAIL-produced special steel also forms the hull of Indian-built armoured plates of Russian-origin T-72 and T-90 tanks, indigenous main battle tank Arjun and mine-protected vehicles used in counter-insurgency operations.