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September 23, 2011

Indian navy commissions new fleet tanker; sets up base in lakshwadeep island

(Defensenow) : The Indian Navy has inducted a new fleet tanker called INS Deepak which will become a critical part of its Western Fleet and enable combat missions distant from India’s coast.

INS Deepak fleet tanker will be the main re-supply vessel for INS Vikramaditya which the Indian Navy will induct in a couple of years besides promoting India’s maritime interests and homeland security. INS Deepak will sustain the Indian fleets at sea for prolonged periods and augment operational flexibility.

INS Deepak fleet tanker is one of the largest vessels of the Indian Navy and was commissioned into the fleet by Defence Minister A.K.Anthony.

INS Deepak has been designed by the Italian Fincanteri Shipyard specifically for the Indian Navy. It has a displacement of 27,500 tonnes and will help refueling of large vessels besides its capacity to carry more than 500 tonnes of weapons for combat operations. Its fuel transfer rate  is roughly about 1,500 tonnes per hour.

INS Deepak is the first of the two new Italian fleet tankers being inducted into the Indian Navy and the other ship, the Shakti, is expected to arrive before the end of this year.

Besides the induction of INS Deepak to ensure operations for prolonged periods at sea, the Indian Navy is also opening up an operations base in the Lakshadweep islands to step-up coastal security. This is the second Indian Navy base in the island territory of India.

According to the Indian Navy, it will initially open a detachment in the Lakshadweep chain and base warships there and will also ensure aerial patrols in the region. The Indian Navy has already commissioned a Coast Guard district headquarters in Kavaratti and a station in Minicoy, both in the Lakshadweep islands. The island of Lakshwadeep will develop into a full-scale operations base shortly.

Lakshwadeep island lies in the Arabian sea where there has been an increasing fear of attacks and hijackings of merchant vessels. The recent hijacking of a Bangladeshi-flagged merchant vessel about 80 nautical miles off Minicoy in Lakshwadeep triggered major concerns and forced the Indian Navy to permanently deploy two warships in the central and eastern Arabian Sea.

The Arabian Sea witness’s heavy commercial shipping activity all year long and robust security in the island territories is essential. The Naval presence in Lakswadeep island will ward off pirates, terrorists as well as poachers that try to trespass the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone and territorial waters.

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