New Delhi (Sputnik): India's state-owned shipbuilder Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) has delivered the second advanced offshore patrol vessel to the Sri Lankan Navy, 25 days ahead of schedule.
"The Sri Lanka Offshore Patrol Vessel (SLOPV) project for building two large size ships is one of the most significant defense cooperation between India & Sri Lanka and one of the largest export contracts, being executed by GSL currently for any friendly country. The vessel will be the largest and most advanced ship in the Sri Lankan Navy fleet," the Indian defense ministry said in a statement.
Consistently solid work by India's Goa Shipyard Limited on an important project for a foreign customer: delivers 2nd Sri Lanka Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessel (SL AOPV) to Sri Lankan Navy ahead of schedule. (First ship Sayurala was delivered in July last year). pic.twitter.com/MQ1gTMdtQo— Livefist (@livefist) March 23, 2018
The keel of the vessel was laid on May 9, 2015 and it was launched on May 2, 2017. Earlier, in July 2017, the GSL had delivered the first advanced offshore patrol vessel, built at a cost of approximately $66 million; which is, according to the Sri Lankan Navy, performing exceedingly well.
"This state-of-the-art and largest ship in the Sri Lanka Naval fleet will help meet the increasing requirement of the Sri Lanka Navy for undertaking policing and patrolling of its vast Exclusive Economic Zone," Rear Admiral Shekhar Mital (Rtd), Indian Navy, said on the occasion of the delivery of the ship.
With the acquisition of two AOPV from India, the Sri Lankan Navy now has five vessels, of similar type, namely SLNS Sayura (Sukanya class P 620), SLNS Samudura (formerly of the US Coast Guard P 621), SLNS Sagara (Vikram class P622) and SLNS Sayurala (P 623) and the second AOPV delivered on Thursday. Four other naval ships including two fast missile vessels and two fast patrol boats received from Australia are also in service with the Sri Lankan Navy.
"These deliveries of warships not only immensely enhance the naval capabilities of Sri Lanka Navy, but also strengthen the close links between Sri Lanka and India," Chitranganee Wagiswara, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to India said.
Sri Lanka Navy's Maritime Strategy envisages 20 naval ships including offshore patrol vessels by the year 2025. According to the plan, the Sri Lankan Navy will purchase two more offshore patrol vessels, two fast missile vessels, two frigates, and two corvettes.