Russia offers India Alaxendrite-E minesweepers

Russia offers India Alaxendrite-E minesweepers

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 01:01
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By Rohit Srivastava

Indian Navy’s quest for the modern minesweepers, at last, appears to be over. Russia, India’s all-weather strategic and defence partner, during the recently concluded military-technical cooperation meeting, offered its latest Project 12701 Alexandrit-E class minesweepers Transfer of Technology (ToT). Government-owned Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) will be the Indian partner, sources informed.

The 890-ton Alexandrit-E class is the latest Russian minesweeper designed to detect and destroy mines of all kinds around naval bases, coastal sea, and can also provide mine protection to ships. 

It also to lays naval mines to defend the area of interest from ships and submarines. In addition to mines, these ships are armed with a wide range of weapons including automatic 30 mm AK-306 Close in Weapons System, eight man-portable air-defence systems and heavy machine guns. 

The magnetic field of ship triggers anti-ship mines. Therefore, the hull of any minesweepers has to be such that when it is hunting for submerged mines, it does not trigger them. This is technologically very challenging and very few nations in the world have been able to design these vessels.

The Alexandrit class comes with the world’s largest monolithic fibreglass hull made using vacuum fusion technique. This reduces the mass of the vessel and increases its endurance significantly. This reduces corrosion and increases the service life of the vessels, highly placed sources informed.  

India has decommissioned its Russian built six Pondicherry class and six Karwar class minesweepers. Last of the ship of Karwar class INS Kozhikode was decommissioned in April this year.

India is in urgent need of 12 of these ships to protect its shipping lanes and ports. In the last few years, Chinese submarines are regularly patrolling Indian Oceans. Submarines are the preferred vehicle to lay naval mines around adversary’s shipping lanes and ports. 

“Process of Acquisition of eight Mine Counter Measure Vessels (MCMVs) through indigenous construction (which was revised to the acquisition of two from foreign collaborator and six from Indian Shipyard) was started in 2005. However, due to non-compliance of Request for Proposal (RFP) conditions by foreign collaborator, the acquisition process was dropped in 2014,” government informed parliament in February this year.

“Subsequently, during 2015 Goa Shipyard was nominated to construct MCMVs under Transfer of Technology (ToT) from Foreign Shipyard. However due to inadequate response and non-compliance to ToT requirement, Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) cancelled the process. Global Expression of Interest (EoI) has been issued in March 2018 again by GSL for selection of foreign shipyard as a collaborator,” the government said.

To meet the operational requirement, India is procuring eight Clip Influence Sweep (CLOIS) for minesweeping.

Apart from the French mine countermeasures unmanned vehicles, Alexandrit-E operates Russian DIEZ-12700E automated system for mine countermeasures operation control 1 x LIVADIA-ME mine-detection sonar. The latter is designed to search and liquidation support of anchored, seabed, and bottom mines. Its most distinguishable futures are antenna systems:

  • low-frequency underhull-mounted antenna (in a blister) for searching;
  • dual-frequency telescoping antenna for final classification;
  • hydraulic-operated and rotating machinery;
  • antenna on a self-propelled remotely controlled vehicle.

The lead ship of this class Alexander Obukhov and follow on ship Ivan Antonov is operational with Russian Navy. Third ship of the class is undergoing sea trials.

Manned by a crew of 44, the Alexandrit-E, with sea endurance of 10 days, can cover a distance of 1500nm at 16 knots.



890 tons


61.6 m 


10.3 m 


3.1 m


16 knots


1500 nm


 10 days


44 persons

Main propulsion

Main propulsion plant:

2 x 2500 hp diesels
2 x CPPs
2 x PU-100F bow thrusters
2 x VPK-90F/70 retractable stern azimuth thrusters


Special equipment:

Dynamic positioning system



1 x 30 mm AK-306 CIWS

Air defense:


Fire arms:

1 x 14.5 mm MTUP machine guns or 2 x 12.7 mm
6P59 machine guns

MCM equipment:



1 x GKT-2 or GOKT-1 contact sweep
1 x SHAT-U acoustic sweep

Mine detection and destruction system:

1 x DIEZ-12700E automated system for mine countermeasures operation control 1 x LIVADIA-ME mine-detection sonar 2 x Alister 9-type AUVs 2 x K-Ster I-type ROVs 10 x K-Ster C-type ROVs 1 x Inspector-MK2-type MCM unmanned surface vehicle


Pic- Vladimir Emelyanov minesweeper on the trials, courtesy - USC