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14 January, 2018 12:41:32 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 14 January, 2018 12:27:22 PM
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From buyer to builder

Navy gets PM nod to build 6 frigates under joint venture
DEEPAK ACHARJEE
From buyer to builder

For the first time in the country, Bangladesh Navy is going to build six big frigates (naval warships) so as to become a self-reliant marine force in the region. The frigates would be constructed by its enterprise, the Chittagong Dry Dock Ltd (CDDL). In order to build the big warships, equipped with modern equipment and devices, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina recently gave her approval in principle, sources in the Bangladesh Navy and CDDL said. CDDL expects to start the construction of the warships from the end of this year. It would likely to build the warships in cooperation with foreign warship-building companies under the joint venture (JV) system, the sources added.

As part of the implementation of the Forces Goal 2030, the Navy will build the six warships at a time when the naval force has recently become a three-dimensional force.

The CDDL Managing Director, Commodore Mohammad Nazmul Karim Kislu, told The Independent recently that some foreign warship-building companies—including those from Italy, the Netherlands and France—have evinced interest by sending proposals to build the frigates, each under joint venture (JV) arrangements.

“We are scrutinising their (foreign companies’) proposals. We will invite tenders for constructing the frigates after their proposals are finalised,” he said.

“We will build the frigates in three phases. Two frigates by 2022, two others by 2025 and the remainder within 2030, as per the master plan of the naval force,” he added.

Commodore Kislu added that CDDL plans to start construction of two of the frigates within this year. The MD of CDDL disclosed that it will construct the warships under a joint venture or a government-to-government (G-to-G) deal with reputable warship-building foreign companies that have better experience in building frigates.

He added that they will build the proposed big warships with 30-year lifetimes each. They would be well equipped, with modern military hardware and devices, so that the frigates can operate smoothly during their operations.

Commodore Kislu, a senior officer of the Navy, said that officers at the chief executive officer (CEO) level have visited, with technical teams, the site where the proposed warships would be constructed.

“We have the necessary spaces and manpower for support the construction of any big warship, the brand of which will be ‘Made in Bangladesh’. We have also a big dockyard. We are setting up a bid design house to design the warships,” he said.

He also disclosed that a ‘ship testing toeing tank’ will also be built at the CDDL.

The naval commodore said there are plans to also build merchant ships in future, after constructing the warships.

While addressing a function of the President Parade at the Bangladesh Naval Academy on December 24 last year, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is also the defence minister, had expressed her hope that the Navy would be able to export warships. “We will be able to turn Bangladesh Navy into a Builder Navy from Buyer Navy gradually, and we ourselves can export warships Insha Allah,” she had said.

In November last year, two submarine destroyers—large patrol craft—Durgam and Nishan, built in Khulna Shipyard, were commissioned in the naval fleet.

There are three shipbuilding workshops—Chittagong Dry Dock Ltd, Khulna Shipyard and Dockyard and Engineering Works Ltd in Narayanganj—currently operating under the Navy.

CDDL is the only dry dock in Bangladesh, located on the bank of the Karnaphuli on 48 acres of land within the Chittagong Port area. The dry dock was designed and constructed in the late 1960s with the help of technical assistance from the then Yugoslavia. It came into commercial operation in July 1985.

CDDL can perform a wide range of medium to heavy engineering works to support local industries, including complete vessel renovation and conversions.

Over the years, CDDL has successfully completed countless repairs and maintenance of commercial vessels of various sizes and types, including warships of the Navy and ships of the Bangladesh Shipping Corporation and the Chittagong Port Authority (CPA). CDDL is now constructing container vessels for the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA).

CDDL is now an ISO 9001:2015 certified company for ship design and shipbuilding (both warships and commercial vessels). This is a licensed company for exporting new ships and products.

On December 23, 2015, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina handed over CDDL to Bangladesh Navy as its enterprise. Earlier, it was an enterprise of the Bangladesh Steel and Engineering Corporation (BSEC), a state-owned organisation.

The Navy has prepared a master plan to spend thousands of crores to ensure the security of the country’s 1,18,813 sq. km of sea territory.

The Navy has long-term plans to build ships in the naval yards for various maritime agencies of Bangladesh to secure her maritime interests as well as to make forays into shipbuilding to support the government for attaining the Sustainable Development Goals and the Blue Economy in future.

Frigates are considered the workhorse of modern navy and the smallest of the ships able to operate in oceans alongside other large warships and carrier groups.

The key roles of frigates are guarding other battle or merchant ships and primarily divided into three categories: Anti-ship, Anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and Air Defence (Guided Missile Frigate). Manned usually by about 150 to 200 crews, these ships are seen to have displacements between 2,000 to 5,000 tonnes. Frigates are comparatively fast, with speeds in the range of 25-30 knots and operating range of 5,000-15,000 miles.

All modern frigates carry air/surface search radar, guidance radar and active, passive sonars as well as electronic warfare and countermeasure equipment. Frigates are powered by diesel/diesel-electric engines and usually carry 1 or 2 helicopters for anti-submarine warfare and search & rescue operations. Bangladesh Navy currently operates seven frigates including two US-made, three China-made and one made in South Korea.


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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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