The Indian Navy needs tankers to support the ships at sea. It has one medium sized 24,000 ton tanker, the 10-year old INS Aditya, built at GRSE Kolkatta, and one large 39,000 ton tanker bought from Russia, INS Jyoti. These two cannot sustain India's two fleet Navy for extended operations in the Indian Ocean and accordingly, a third tanker was ordered from Italy's Fincantieri.
The fuel and water tanker of the Western Fleet, INS Jyoti, is the largest ship of the Indian Navy. Called "mother of the fleet" for the fuel and fresh water she supplies at sea, INS Jyoti is a force multiplier providing the hue to the blue water navy. The Admiralty Shipyard of St. Petersburg Russia built this ship to be a Project 15966M merchant tanker. But during construction he was modified to the specifications of the Indian Navy and commissioned on July 20, 1996. Displacing 39,900 tons at full load, INS Jyoti is much larger than even the aircraft carrier, INS Viraat of 28,500 tons and carries 28,000 tons of fuels and waters -- diesel, aviation fuels, oils and waters of different grades. The fresh water used for steam turbines is of much higher grade than drinking water.
She can replenish simultaneously three warships, one on each side (abeam) and the third from the behind (astern). The range of a task force is limited by the amount of fuel its ships carry, say seven days and 2400 nautical miles. Add a tanker to the task force and the range becomes 50 days and 16,800 nautical miles. The range of the tanker itself is 12,000 nautical miles at her top speed of 15 knots. INS Jyoti with her double-skin hull and special equipment fitted onboard is an eco-friendly tanker to prevent marine and environmental pollution. The double-skin construction in the cargo space prevents sea pollution in case of damage to any fuel tank. The space between the double-skin is used for ballast tanks. The levels in fuel and water tanks in the cargo space have to be judiciously maintained while loading the supplies and discharging the replenishment so that the stability of the tanker is not jeopardised.
In 2000 a plan was advanced to reinforce the armament of to enhance her self-defence capability, in view of her significance to surface warfare on the Western Seaboard, the fleet's principal area of operations. INS Jyoti was initially armed only with light and medium machine guns. The new weapons that to be fitted on would be close-in weapons like anti-aircraft and anti-missile guns and missiles for self-defence. The home-built INS Aditya catering to the needs of the Eastern Fleet was similarly fitted out. With thousands of tons of highly inflammable fuel in her belly, the tanker is a floating bomb and an attractive target for an adversary. The augmentation of her self-defence capability would reduce her dependence on the fleet for protection.
The home-built INS Aditya, though smaller with 24,000 ton displacement, is a more advanced fleet tanker. Commissioned in April 1999, she has an integral helicopter (Sea King) as against only a helicopter deck of INS Jyoti. The Aditya can replenish four warships simultaneously and has a well laid out accommodation to serve as command and control platform.
On 28 March 1998 four civilian workmen were killed in a gas explosion on board the Indian Navy's fleet tanker INS Jyoti at the naval dockyard. The ships of Eastern Fleet, under the command of Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet, Rear Admiral RK Dhowan, conducted an overseas deployment (OSD) in the South-East and East- Asian regions in early 2007. The group consisted of the guided-missile destroyers Mysore, Rana and Ranjit, the guided-missile corvette, Kuthar and the fleet tanker, Jyoti. During the two-month- deployment from March 18 to May 23, the ships effected port-calls at a number of ports spreading the message of goodwill. The scheduled ports of call include Singapore and Yokosuka located at the entrance of Tokyo Bay in Japan. The port call at Yokosuka is particularly significant as it is a major event during the ongoing celebration of the "India-Japan Friendship Year". No less important are the port-calls at Qingdao located on the southern coast of the Shandong peninsula of China bordering the Yellow Sea and Vladivostok located on the Sea of Japan, some 100 km east of the Russo-Chines border. Also of significance are port-calls at Ho Chi Minh city located near the Mekong river delta in Vietnam and Manila.
|Displacement||Full - 35900|
|Crew||16 (Officers) |
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