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Russia offers India technology to build advanced minesweepers made of composite materials

Twelve new-generation minesweepers can reportedly be built to replace the Indian Navy’s Pondicherry-class ships

MOSCOW, November 8. /TASS/. Russia has offered India to build a series of composite Alexandrit-E minesweepers at an Indian shipyard with the subsequent transfer of technology, Russia’s state arms seller Rosoboronexport told TASS on Friday.

"Yes, this is our official proposal on building minesweepers of this Project in India with the transfer of technologies," a Rosoboronexport spokesperson said.

The website earlier reported that Russia had made its offer at a session of the Russian-Indian inter-governmental commission for military cooperation on November 6. According to the website, 12 new-generation minesweepers can be built to replace the Indian Navy’s Pondicherry-class ships. The Alexandrit-E minesweepers are intended to be constructed at a shipyard of India’s Goa Shipyard Limited.

Russia’s Project 12700 Alexandrit-class coastal-type minesweepers are referred to the new generation of minesweeping forces and are designated to fight sea mines, which the new ships can encounter in the sea and on the seabed without entering the dangerous zone. The minesweepers can employ various sweeps, as well as remotely controlled and autonomous underwater drones. The minesweepers of this Project displace about 800 tonnes, are 62 meters long, have a crew of 44 men and an operating range of 1,500 miles.

The Project 12700 minesweepers developed by the Almaz Central Marine Design Bureau are under construction at the Sredne-Nevsky Shipyard in northwestern Russia (both companies are part of Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation). The Russian Navy has already received two minesweepers of this Project.

The Project 12700 mine countermeasures vessels (minesweepers) have the world’s biggest hull made of monolithic fiberglass formed by vacuum infusion. As its advantage, this solution provides for the ship’s higher strength compared to the steel hull. The hull made of the monolithic fiberglass has a longer service life (up to 30 years) than the hull made of low-magnetic steel while its weight is considerably smaller.