New Delhi, Oct. 19 (PTI): To overcome shortcomings brought to the fore by last year's tsunami disaster, the Indian Navy plans to augment its strategic sea-lift capability by acquiring huge Landing Platform Docks (LPD) from the United States.
This was indicated by Naval Chief Admiral Arun Prakash, while addressing the Naval Commanders Conference, which began here today.
"One of the major lessons learnt from last year's tsunami was the requirement to augment sea-lift capability. This calls for acquiring large amphibious vessels and the Navy is keenly examining the offer of a LPD by the US Navy under Government- to-Government sales", he said.
India is negotiating purchase of US Navy's 7,050-tonne displacement LPD, 'USS Trenton', at an estimated cost of Rs 200 crores. The ship which can operate a number of giant helicopters simultaneously has still another 15 years of sea-worthy life.
At present the Navy has only two large landing ship tanks, which can only operate a single Seaking helicopter. Navy can modify the LPD to build such larger vessels in India, officials said.
Noting that lack of maritime surveillance punch as another "area of concern", the Naval Chief said Navy was negotiating offers to augment this capability. US Navy has recently offered to lease four P3C Orions to India to train Indian Navy pilots.
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