Military


LST(L) Shardul - Landing Ship Tank - Large (LST-L)

In December 2001, a letter of intent for construction of three landing ship tanks (large) was placed on the Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd (GRSE) shipyard. GRSE would deliver the landing ship tank by June 2007. The three large landing ship tanks would cost around Rs 350 crore each. The LST designs is an updated versions of two earlier vessels, INS Magar and INS Gharial, built by GRSE for the Indian Navy.

The first vessel in the series was launched on 03 April 2004, to be named Shardul when commissioned into the Indian Navy. A second vessel was launched on 08 June 2005, and will be named Kesari.

In October 2003 CAE won a C$16-million contract to supply the Indian navy with integration and control systems for three of the navy's new landing ships. CAE will supply prime contractor Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers with advanced computer-based integrated platform management system (IPMS) technology that will provide propulsion and damage control for the navy's landing ships.

On 04 April 2004 amphibian warship INS Shardul was launched at the main unit of Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Limited (GRSE). This was the third ship of the Landing Ship Tank large (LSTL) built by the GRSE. The INS Shardul was launched by Ms Renu Bansal, wife of vice-admiral OP Bansal, flag-officer commanding-in-chief of the Eastern Naval Command today. It was ordered by the India Navy in December 2001.

The INS Shardul would be an important auxiliary warship carrying armoured tanks, army vehicles and troops. It would have more than 90 per cent indigenous content. The ship is 124.8 metres long [about 5 meters longer that her predecessors] and 17.5 metres wide and can carry 11 main battle tanks, 10 army vehicles and 500 troops excluding the ship's crew for amphibian operation and can achieve a speed of 15.8 knots. The ship is also provided with helicopter landing facilities to accommodate 42 C helicopter or indigenously built Dhruv helicopter.

The INS Shardul has two WM 18 rocket launcher and four anti-aircraft guns. It would be fitted with propulsion remote control and battle damage control systems for efficient operation and control at sea.

On 08 June 2005 the Indian Navy received its fourth Landing Ship Tank (Large), INS Kesari. The fourth in a series of LST(L)s built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Limited (GRSE), INS Kesari, was launched in the presence of Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Yashwant Prasad.

On 05 April 2008, INS Kesari became the seventh ship built by GRSE to be inducted into the navy. INS Kesari, the fourth indigenously built landing ship tank (large) of the Indian Navy was commissioned by the Governor of Andhra Pradesh, Mr Narayan Datt Tiwari at the Visakhapatnam Naval Base. The ship, built at a cost of Rs 400 crore, would be the most modern LST(L) in the country and carry armoured tanks, army vehicles and troops. The 124.8 meter long and 17.5 meter wide auxilliary warship can carry 11 main battle tanks, 10 army vehicles and 500 troops excluding ship crew, for amphibious operations and was capable of achieving a speed of 15.8 knots. It would also be fitted with modern electronic equipment and have two WM 18 rocket launcher mountings by L&T and four Anti Aircraft Guns and Battle Damage Control Systems.

On arrival at the Naval Jetty, the chief guest was received by Vice Admiral Raman Prem Suthan, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command. The Governor was presented a fifty-man guard and introduced to ship's officers. Following the inaugural and keynote addresses delivered by Rear Admiral (Retd) T S Ganeshan, Chairman and Managing Director, M/s Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Limited and Vice Admiral R P Suthan; Cdr Sandeep Sharma, Commanding Officer INS Kesari read out the Commissioning Warrant. Hoisting of the Naval Ensign onboard for the first time and 'breaking of the commissioning pennant' with the national anthem being played marked the formal commissioning ceremony.

Addressing the gathering, the Governor congratulated the Indian Navy, GRSE and other Indian PSUs like Bharat Electronics, HAL, Keltron and private sector companies like Larsen and Toubro, Kirloskar, Godrej, and a host of small scale industries and sub-contractors who contributed in building this ship. He said the ship would add to the sea-lift capabilities of Navy.

Induction of INS Kesari adds thrust to Navy's ongoing drive for indigenous warship production. The ship, measuring 125 meters in length, 17.5 metres in breadth and displacing 5655 tons, can achieve speed in excess of 15 Knots. Second of the Shardul class of ships, INS Kesari is the most contemporary and fully indigenised LST (L) in the Indian Navy. In addition to its primary role of amphibious operations carrying battle tanks, troops and vehicles to hostile coasts, the ship also forms a potent assault platform with rockets and chaff launchers, anti-aircraft guns, shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles and an integral Sea King or an advanced light helicopter. On the other end of the spectrum, the ship can also be tasked as a fleet tanker, a hospital ship, or for disaster relief operations. Other distinguished guests on the occasion included Minister of State for Defence, Mr MM Pallam Raju, Flag Officers and senior officers.

The Indian Army has been augmenting its amphibious capabilities for long. One of the most advanced amphibious warships of the Indian Navy, the INS Shardul, was affiliated to the 5 Armoured Regiment of the Indian Army in 2008. Loaded with state-of-the-art equipment, INS Shardul is an amphibious warship capable of transporting personnel and accomplishing all objectives of beaching operations. The 5 Armoured Regiment holds some of the most potent and advanced tanks in the world. Since 2002, the regiment has been at the cutting edge of the mechanised operations.

On 03 October 2008 INS Shardul, one of the most advanced amphibious units in the inventory of Navy, got affiliated to the 5 Armoured Regiment, the most advanced tank regiment of Indian Army operating the finest and the most lethal tanks T-90 of modern era, in a glittering ceremony onboard INS Shardul docked in Mumbai Naval Harbour. Shardul has the Royal Bengal tiger as its symbol. Built by GRSE, Kolkata, Shardul boasts of state-of-the-art equipment. Rear Admiral Anil Chopra, Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet and Maj Gen GS Malhi, Colonel of the 5 Armoured Regiment signed the Charter of Affiliation along with Cdr Shailendra Singh, Commanding Officer of INS Shardul and Col RK Magotra, Commandant of the 5 Armoured Regiment.

The Armed Forces have the tradition of the affiliating their units for the better camaraderie and esprit de corps. Though the armed forces have a long tradition of 'affiliating' their units, the modern military trend of all three services - army, navy and air force - fighting wars jointly has added an operational aspect to the tradition. The modern trend of all the three Services fighting wars jointly has added an operational aspect to the tradition. Shardul is an important amphibious warship capable of transporting various kinds of combat equipment, personnel and accomplish all objectives of landing, that is, beaching operations. The 5 Armoured Regiment proudly wears the mantle of holding one of the most potent tanks in the world.

The Commissioning Ceremony of Indian Navy's sixth Landing Ship Tank (Large) Airavat, was held on 19 May 2009, at IN Jetty at Naval Base, Visakhapatnam. Yard 3016, christened and launched by Mrs. Maria Teresa Mehta at Kolkota on 27 Mar 06,the ship is to be commissioned as 'INS Airavat' on Tuesday, 19 May 09. The ship was formally handed over to the Indian Navy on 30 Mar 09 at M/s Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited, Kolkota - A notable achievement. Airavat is the fifth LST (L) of the Indian Navy and third of the Shardul class. The Airavat joins its sister ships Shardul and Kesari which were commissioned on 5th April 2008 and 19th May 2009 respectively.

As a platform designed for amphibious operations against the enemy, she is a further upgrade on the Magar Class (the First LST (L)) in her suite of weapons, sensors and indigenous content. With a significantly enhanced Weapon package, latest Control Systems and better Habitability conditions, Airavat delivers considerable punch and Amphibious capabilities to the fighting prowess of the Indian Navy.

The ship can carry 10 Main Battle Tanks, 11 Combat Trucks and 500 Troops and has a considerable range and endurance at sea. Besides undertaking amphibious operations, the ship is a potent assault platform capable of operating both Seaking 42C and the indigenous Dhruv helicopters. She is fitted with two indigenous WM 18A Rocket Launchers to support successful amphibious operations. The threat from air is dealt with through two indigenous CRN 91 Anti-Aircraft Guns auto-controlled by Optronic Sights and shoulder launched IGLA Surface to-Air Missiles. It also has soft kill ability through Chaff Rockets, which can be used to clutter the sensory inputs of an incoming enemy aircraft or missile.

The ship is fitted with Remote Propulsion Control, Battle Damage Control System and Automated Power Management System. These are fully integrated, microprocessor based, digital control systems for providing control and for monitoring ships machinery and systems. The ship also has a microprocessor based anti-roll Flume Stabilisation System and Smoke Curtains to impede spreading of smoke and toxic gases in case of fire onboard. In addition, the ship can act as a Fleet tanker through stern refueling of other naval vessels and as a hospital ship. The ship can be effectively tasked for HADR ( Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief) missions during natural calamities like tsunami, cyclone, earthquake etc, and can operate independently at high seas for as long as 45 days.

Specifications
DisplacementFull - 5600
Length 124.5 m
Beam 17.5 m
Draft 4 m
Speed 15.8 kts / +16 knots
Armament 4 x 40 mm Bofors
2 multi barrel rocket launchers
Aircraft 1 x Sea King 42C (Platform for 2)
Crew16 (Officers)
120 (Enlisted)
Capacity 11 main battle tanks
500 troops

Ships
Name Number Homeport Builder Ordered Comm Decomm
Shardul GRSE 2001 ? 2006
Kesari GRSE 2001 05 Apr 2008
Airavata GRSE 2001 19 May 2009




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