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Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL), a state-owned shipyard based in Visakhapatnam, is set to enhance the capabilities of the Indian Navy’s Fleet Support Ships (FSS) with the deployment of the advanced Electronic Warfare (EW) System ‘Shakti.’ Developed by the Defence Electronics Research Laboratory (DLRL) in Hyderabad, a laboratory under the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the Shakti EW system is designed to provide essential capabilities for the interception, detection, classification, identification, and jamming of both conventional and modern radar systems.

The Shakti EW system represents a significant advancement in electronic warfare capabilities, offering a crucial layer of defense against modern radars and anti-ship missiles. Its primary goal is to ensure electronic dominance and survivability in the challenging maritime battlefield environment. This state-of-the-art system will replace the earlier generation EW systems currently in use by the Indian Navy.

The FSS, with a tonnage of 44,000, plays a vital role in the naval fleet, as it is responsible for replenishing other ships at sea with fuel, water, ammunition, and stores. This capability enables the Indian naval fleet to undertake prolonged missions without the need to return to harbor. This development was announced by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), signifying a significant advancement in India’s naval capabilities.

According to naval sources, the delivery of the first FSS will commence approximately four years after the contract is signed with HSL. Subsequently, each additional FSS will be commissioned into the Navy at intervals of ten months. The Indian Navy envisions the addition of eight FSS over the next decade, which will bolster its fleet of tankers. Currently, the Navy operates four tankers, with two stationed on the East Coast and the remaining two on the West Coast. This expansion aims to enhance the operational capabilities of naval ships, particularly in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), a crucial area where China has been making strategic moves.

The Shakti EW system has already been installed on the INS Visakhapatnam and is currently being integrated into the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier, INS Vikrant. Notably, twelve Shakti Systems are in production at Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), with support from over fifty Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), at a total cost of Rs 1805 Crores. These systems are slated for installation on capital warships currently under production, including the P-15B, P-17A, and Talwar-class follow-on ships.

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