Saturday, January 22, 2011

Italian-Built Fleet Tanker INS Deepak Commissioned Into Indian Navy

INS Deepak, the first of the two Fleet Tankers to be built by M/s Fincanteri Shipyard, Italy, was commissioned into the Indian Navy at Naval Dockyard, Mumbai by the Honourable Raksha Mantri (RM), Shri AK Antony, today 21 Jan 11 at an impressive ceremony. The Naval Dockyard wore a festive look with all warships ships dressed overall with flags of different colours and shapes.

On arrival at the South Breakwater of the Naval Dockyard, the RM was received by Admiral Nirmal Kumar Verma, Chief of the Naval Staff, and Vice Admiral Sanjeev Bhasin, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command. The Defence Minister was presented a 50-man Guard of Honour. At the commissioning ceremony which was held on the Helicopter deck of INS Deepak, the ships Commanding Officer, Captain VK Madhusoodanan, read out the commissioning warrant which was followed by the hoisting of the National flag and the Naval Ensign for the first time and breaking of the Commissioning pennant on the ships mast. The RM unveiled the Ship’s name plaque thus marking the formal induction of INS Deepak into the Indian Navy and the Western Fleet.

Addressing the gathering, the Defence Minister stated that our Navy has embarked on an ambitious shipbuilding programme to provide it with the required maritime assets to meet its mandate. “Indian defence shipyards are working to their full capacity to meet the country’s warship requirements” he said. “India’s continued presence in Indian Ocean waters necessitates pursuing our strategic and diplomatic interests for which a ship such as Deepak, with an ability to sustain the Indian fleets at sea for prolonged periods, is a vital asset to ensure Indian Navy’s continuous presence in our area of interest”, he added.

Designed by Fincanteri Shipyard specifically for the Indian Navy, this ship is one of the largest ships of the navy, 175 metres long, 25 metres wide and has a full load displacement of 27,500 tonnes. The ship has been designed, constructed and delivered in a record time of 27 months and is a second generation ship. The erstwhile Deepak, commissioned in Nov 1967 was decommissioned in Apr 1996 after a glorious 29 years of service in the navy.

She is of double hull configuration in keeping with the latest MARPOL and SOLAS regulations. Though INS Deepak is essentially a tanker it is a thoughtfully designed and versatile platform capable of a large number of roles. In addition to its traditional role of supplying fuel to ships at sea, the ship is also capable of transporting and supplying ammunitions, materials and provisions. It is also capable of undertaking Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations with its modern medical health facilities.

The Deepak class Fleet tankers will be the mainstay tankers/ support ships of the Indian Navy in the first half of the 21st century. The ship has a maximum draft of 9.1 m and displacement of 27000 tons of which a large percentage (17900 tons) is the cargo carrying capacity. This includes 15250 tons of fuel, 510 tons of solid cargo (including ammunition and spares) and 6 containers. The ship has a maximum speed of 20 knots and an endurance of 10,000 Nautical miles at a speed of 16 knots. The ship is equipped with four AK-630 guns for close defence supplied by Ordnance Factory Board and high–tech fire control system supplied by Bharat Electronics Limited. In addition the ship has sophisticated electronic surveillance and communication equipment supplied by Bharat Electronics Limited. The ship is also capable of carrying an integrated helicopter flight and can stage all helicopters being used by the Indian Navy.

The ship is specially designed to function as a command platform. The sensors and other equipment fitted onboard have a large percentage of indigenously manufactured components, especially the communication and Combat Information Management System. The ship has state -of -the art aviation facilities and can operate various types of helicopters from its deck including the Seaking and the indigenously manufactured ALH. The ship presently has a crew of 15 Officers and 182 sailors.

The commissioning of INS Deepak is a mile stone achievement for the navy as it would revolutionalise the combat support operations at sea and extend the reach of the naval power of the nation. The ceremony was also attended by HE Sanfilece Monteforte the Italian Ambassador in India, senior officials from the Indian Navy as well as the Italian Shipyard Fincantieri.

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