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Def Secy presides over 'first steel cutting' of FSS for Indian Navy

Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane along with other senior officials during the first steel cutting of Fleet Support Ships for Indian Navy at Hindustan Shipyard Limited facility in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday. (Photo: HSL website)

NEW DELHI (PTI): Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane on Wednesday presided over the "first steel cutting" of the Fleet Support Ships (FSS) for Indian Navy at Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) in Visakhapatnam, officials said.

The FSS, under construction at HSL, is "first-of-its-kind with displacement of 44,000 tonnes" and will play a crucial role in replenishing the fleet at sea with fuel, water, ammunition, and stores, thereby extending the operational capabilities of the Navy and enhancing its strategic reach, the Defence Ministry said in a statement.

The Defence Secretary also laid the foundation stone for augmentation of slipway and major infrastructure modernisation to enhance capacity and capability of the yard.

The ongoing infrastructure upgrade, including the installation of a "cutting-edge 300T Goliath crane and slipway upgrade", will further enhance HSL's capacity to undertake FSS and future projects like the Landing Platform Dock, reinforcing its role in meeting the defence and commercial sector requirements under the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative, it added.

In his address, Aramane termed HSL as an "asset of the government".

The present shipbuilding trend is showing an "upcoming boom" in orders from both defence and commercial sector, and HSL should be geared up to take on any challenge, he said.

CMD, HSL, Cmde (retd) Hemant Khatri extended gratitude to the Defence Secretary for being a key in the revival of HSL. He underlined the importance of construction of FSS as it provides business to nearly 550 MSMEs in-and-around Visakhapatnam and employment opportunity to over 3,000 personnel, the statement said.

The ceremony was also attended by Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command Vice Admiral Rajesh Pendharkar, among others.

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