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US Navy inks MRO agreement with L&T, to also tie up with Mazagon Dock and Goa Shipyard

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Apr 9, 2023
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Taking the defence partnership to the next-generation level, the United States (US) Navy has inked a Master Ship Repair Agreement (MSRA) with leading Indian private defence company Larsen and Toubro (L&T) Shipbuilding Ltd.

It is also in the process of finalising two similar pacts with public sector undertakings (PSUs) Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) and Goa Shipyard to allow service and repair of their mid-voyage ships at Indian facilities.

The White House, in a statement released on Thursday, said the agreement will facilitate “cost-effective and time-saving sustainment activities for US military operations across multiple theaters”.

State-of-the-art MRO facilities
The move reflects the Biden administration’s trust in India’s naval capabilities since three US Navy ships underwent maintenance and repair at the L&T’s Kattupalli yard near Chennai last year, said sources.

Among them, the US Navy ship ‘Mathew Perry’, sailed back into the seas in March, this year, after successful maintenance and repair work at the L&T’s shipyard near Chennai. Charles Drew was the first US Navy to have come for a maintenance voyage to Chennai in August of 2022.

This breakthrough was achieved after the government had sold to the US and other Quad members the state-of-the-art MRO facilities the Indian private and defence industry has to offer at a much competitive cost. It’s learnt that Quad members too have shown interest in utilising the MRO naval facilities.

Besides the deal with HAL for the co-development of GE-F414 engines and procurement of 31 armed MQ-9B SeaGuardian UAVs, the two countries advanced steps to operationalise tools to increase India-US defense cooperation.

The US and India resolved to strengthen undersea domain awareness cooperation, said the White House. “The agreement to place three Indian liaison officers in US commands for the first time — deepening our partnership and critical information sharing."

Enabling supply of defence goods
Both sides have also commenced negotiations, as per the White House, for a ‘Security of Supply Arrangement’ and ‘Reciprocal Defense Procurement Arrangement’ that will enable the supply of defense goods in the event of unanticipated supply chain disruptions.

The two nations informed the White House, have also “finalised a Defense Industrial Cooperation Roadmap that provides policy direction to defense industries and enables co-production of advanced defense systems as well as collaborative research, testing, and prototyping of the technologies that will determine the future of military power”.

Earlier on June 21, the India-US Defense Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X) — a network of universities, incubators, corporate, think tanks, and private investment stakeholders — was inaugurated to unfold joint innovation on defense technologies.
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