Addressing a press conference in New Delhi today, the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Admiral Nirmal Verma mentioned that pretty soon tenders will be issued for four Landing Platform Docks – LPDs. At present, Indian Navy operates just one LPD, INS Jalashwa erstwhile USS Trenton, acquired from US Navy.
However, no further information on LPD was mentioned in the press conference, including its design and whether construction would be in Indian or a foreign shipyard. A full-length deck LPD design provides number of options for the navy, including usage as Light Aircraft Carrier, by operating VTOL Aircraft like Sea Harrrier or F-35B, in special circumstances.
Japanese Hyuga Class LPH (Landing Platform Helicopter) and South Korean Dokdo Class LPH are capable of operating VTOL aircrafts with minimal modifications, same applies for HMAS Canberra Class LPHs which are under construction for Australian Navy.
Defence Analysts have been of the opinion that Indian Navy should also go for the similar full-length deck LPH design so that in case of a small skirmish, these LPHs can address those situations. These LPHs can be used to project Indian maritime power across anywhere in the Indian Ocean, from Strait-of-Hormuz to Strait-of-Malacca, while deployment of Aircaft Carriers considered only in serious situations.
Indian Navy has been pushing for construction of at least two LPDs in a foreign shipyard, citing huges delays in Indian shipywards ranging from Shivalik Class Frigates to Vikrant II Class Aircraft Carrier.