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L INS Jalashwa Landing Platform Dock (LPD)

Indian Navy inducted its largest amphibious assault ship and its first Landing Platform Dock (LPD) christened INS Jalashwa at a colorful function at the Vishakapatnam Naval base. The Indian Navy acquired her maiden landing platform dock (LPD) with the commissioning of ex-USS Trenton as INS Jalashwa on 22 June 2007. The ship was commissioned by Mr. Ronen Sen, the Indian Ambassador to USA, at an impressive ceremony held at the US Naval Base at Norfolk (Virginia), USA. This is the first ever instance of a defence related acquisition from USA under the Foreign Military Sales Program. The ship-transfer and commissioning is also significant from the perspective of growing defence relationship between India and USA. The ship set sail after completion of the final phase of crew training.

By exporting the Trenton to the Indian Navy, the Pentagon transferred not only a warship but also the whole idea of expeditionary warfare that the Indian military had so far been chary about. The warship sailed into Vizag port and was inducted into the Eastern Naval fleet. INS Jalashwa, the latest induction into the Indian Navy, arrived at Visakhapatnam on 12 September 2007. Jalashwa, a Sanskrit name for the 'Hippopotamus', has its motto : Fearless Pioneers. It is an amphibious assault ship that can embark, transport and land various elements of an amphibious force to support operations ashore. This is the first ship to be transferred from the US, besides being the first Landing Platform Dock (LPD) to be acquired by the Navy.

Jalashwa has the capability to embark, transport and land various elements of an amphibious force and is equipped with mechanised landing craft, Sea King helicopters and armed with radars, ship to air missiles and rapid firing guns. Unlike regular warships the newly acquired Jalashwa has a flight deck for helicopter operations from which four helicopters can operate simultaneously. The deck can also be used to operate vertical take off and landing aircraft like the Sea Harriers in special circumstances. With a length of 175 meters and a beam of 32 meters, the Landing Platform Dock would be the second biggest warship in the aresenal of the navy with a capability of carrying 1,000 fully armed troops. The warship can also be used for maritime suveillance, special operations, search and rescue and to undertake humantarian tasks. It is equipped with four operation theatres, 12 bed ward, laboratory and a dental care center.

The second largest ship in the Navy's inventory, INS Jalashwa is equipped with a Landing Craft Mechanised (LCM-8) along with Seaking helicopters, radars and rapid firing guns to undertake amphibious operations, maritime surveillance, special operations, search and rescue, medical support and also humanitarian relief. The speciality of this ship is the 'Well Deck' housing the LCM-8 which can be launched by flooding the 'Well Deck' and operating the hinged gate at the rear end of the ship. The ship's cargo space enhances the equipment carrying capability.

Unlike regular warships, this ship has a flight deck for helicopter operations from which four medium helicopters can operate simultaneously. This deck can also be used to operate vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft like the Sea Harrier, in special circumstances. Since the ship is capable of embarking over 1000 troops, she is fully equipped with extensive medical facilities including four operation theatres, a 12-bed ward, laboratory and a dental centre to ensure the health care of the embarked personnel.

The LPD is an amphibious assault ship that embarks, transports and lands element of a landing force to support combat operations on land. She is equipped with four landing craft mechanised (LCM-8) and four Sea King helicopters. The absence of a heavy sealift and versatile platform was acutely felt during the largest humanitarian and relief operations by the Indian Navy in the wake of the killer tsunami that hit the region in December 2004.

Second in size and weight only to the lone aircraft carrier INS Viraat, the INS Jalashwa would also provide an opportunity to operate and integrate a platform of multifarious maritime capabilities into services. The ship can carry embark upto 1000 battle-ready troops along with vehicles, tanks, artillery, ammunition and tracked landing vehicles, thus maintaining the combat integrity of the assault force during an extended development.

The ship's large flight deck can be used to launch helicopters for a rapid attack on a potential enemy. There is sufficient room on the flight deck to operate four medium helicopters simultaneously. A single hangar provides opportunity to conduct limited maintenance if circumstances so dictate. The flight deck is large enough to accommodate three complete tennis courts.

The ship is a self-sufficient floating city with 3000 KW of electrical power and a capacity to make 60,000 gallons of fresh water a day. The ship's doctor and dentist, along with a medical staff, 12 bed ward, X-ray facilities, bacteriological laboratory, sterilising room, dental surgeons rooms and four operation theatres take care of the health of all personnel embarked.

In September 2007 the United States offered a second assault ship like the USS Trenton to India, but for the time being the Indian Navy said 'no' to another acquisition. According to the India Strategic defence magazine, Indian naval officers examined the USS Nashville, an Austin-class Amphibious Transport Dock, but that there was no movement on the US offer. A second Trenton-type vessel would be an important asset for the Indian Navy to give it the capability to touch shores to land heavy equipment from tanks and troops to relief material in situations like a natural disaster or tsunami.

The deaths of five Navy personnel on board the ex-U.S. Navy ship in February 2008 were caused by inhalation of toxic gas that leaked from a compartment, and not by an explosion or a fire as some reports said. The accident was the result of the inadvertent inhalation of H2S [hydrogen sulphide] gas by the repair party carrying out maintenance in one of the compartments of the ship. The ship, recently bought from the US, was engaged in an exercise with other Navy units between Visakhapatanam and Port Blair. A team was trying to trace the source of the leakage when they were overpowered by the fumes.

A court of inquiry has been ordered and it could examine whether the leakage was dueto a slip up while the ageing Austin class LPD (landing platform dock) ship was beingrefurbished in the U.S. The accident could also decelerate moves to buy a second LPD- USS Nashville - from the U.S. The ship's renovation had been affected by cost andtime overruns because there was more work than anticipated.

Tasks

Beaching OperationsMaritime Interdiction
Vertical EnvelopmentSurvelliance
Replenishment/Combat SupportSpecial Operations
Command PlatformHospital Ship
UAV ControlHumanitarian Relief
Rescue Operations

Characteristics

Overall length- 569 Feet, 9 Inches
Maximum Beam- 103 Feet with catwalks
Displacement- 16900 (loaded)
Maximum Speed- 20 knots
Endurance- 1800 nm
Ship's Crew- 27 Officers 380 sailors
Troops- 900 Battle Ready
Accommodation- 98 officers 1297 sailor/trop



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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:42:51 ZULU