Saturday, October 8, 2011

Indian Navy Inducts INS Shakti and Envisages More Landing Craft Utilities and Landing Platform Docks

The Indian Navy has commissioned the fourth fleet tanker INS Shakti into the fleet which has been constructed by Fincantieri Shipyard of Italy. INS Shakti will be a much needed boost for the Indian Navy as it will help them to chart beyond the limits of the Indian Ocean. INS Shakti has been fitted with an indigenous Anti Missile Defence Chaff System and has a powerful self defence capability.

Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Nirmal Verma witnessed the commissioning in the Naval Dockyard in Vishakapatnam and indicated that all possible measures were being taken to enhance the coastal security in the country. INS Shakti has been constructed by the Italian Shipyard in less than two years and is one the largest vessels with the Indian Navy. The ship is 175 metres in length and 32 metres wide with a full-load displacement of 27,500 tonne. Admiral Verma congratulated the Fincantieri Shipyard, Indian PSUs like Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and HAL besides the small scale industries for their assistance in building the largest ship of the Indian Navy, INS Shakti.

Before the induction of INS Shakti, the Italian shipyard Fincantieri had delivered the first tanker INS Deepak earlier this year which has also been inducted into the Indian Navy. Both these fleet tankers will enable destroyers, frigates and other kinds of warships to operate for long durations on the waters without the need for returning to the harbor to replenish it. Hence, Indian Navy will extend its scope well beyond the Indian Ocean region. INS Shakti is equipped with four AK-630 guns each and it will have an endurance of 10,000 nautical miles at a speed of 16 knots.

Meanwhile, Indian Navy’s plan to add more teeth to the amphibious operations capabilities has materialized with the signing of a $ 482.22 million contract with the defence public sector undertaking Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata for construction of 8 Landing Craft Utilities (LCUs). Indian government had recently cleared the plan for construction of these vessels and the Indian Navy signed the contract which envisages delivery of the first ship in 35 months, according to Indian Navy officials. Another project to acquire four huge amphibious warfare ships or Landing Platform Docks (LPDs), at a cost of around $ 3.5 billion is on the verge of being finalized by the Defence Ministry, sources said. The LCUs and LPDs will enable the transport of thousands of troops, tanks, infantry combat vehicles and other weapon systems over long distances to enemy shores.

Admiral Nirmal has assured that the naval surveillance along the coast across the country was strengthened in association with the Indian Coast Guard and the Marine Police in respective states. As part of the security enhancement, 29 MiG-29K aircraft and 16 helicopters would be inducted into the Indian Navy by 2013. Earlier, 12 fighters and 4 trainee aircraft of this class had been acquired, he added.

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