India Commissions Amphibious Landing Craft Near Malacca Straits
The Indian Navy commissioned the first of its eight landing craft utility (LCU) at the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, close to the Malacca Strait. LCUs are meant to transport military equipment like tanks, armored vehicles and troops.
New Delhi (Sputnik) – The LCU is part of a bid to augment amphibious warfare capabilities of the Indian Navy. About 3,000 soldiers trained in amphibious warfare are deployed at the Andaman and Nicobar Command at Port Blair. The Navy will soon open commercial bids for procuring new Landing Platform Docks (LPD) amphibious warships.
The delivery of the LCU was delayed by more than a year. Work on it began in September 2012 and was to be delivered by July 2015. The LCU will play a key role in transporting 145 ton of military equipment like main battle tanks, armored vehicles and 165 fully-equipped troops. The ships facilitate the landing of troops and military equipment on islands where they are under adverse occupation.
"The ship has been built to assist in amphibious operations by carrying out beaching operations and has an endurance of 1500 nautical miles. The ship will also play a key role in carrying out maritime surveillance of Andaman & Nicobar Islands for preventing anti-poaching, illegal fishing, drug trafficking, human trafficking, poaching and other illegal activities. It will also enhance the capabilities of the Andaman and Nicobar Command in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations," said an Indian Navy statement.
The LCU's main weapon system consists of two 30-mm CRN-91 naval guns manufactured by a government-owned unit, complemented by an electrical day-night fire control system namely Stabilised Optronic Pedestal (SOP) manufactured by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL). The ship is also equipped with 12.7-mm Heavy Machine Guns and 7.62-mm Medium Machine Guns. In addition, the ship is fitted with state-of-the art electronic warfare suite for early detection of adversaries.
Built by Indian shipbuilders Garden Reach Ship Builders & Engineers Ltd, Kolkata, the 62.8-meter-long, 900-tonne displacement Mk IV LCUs are built to American Bureau of Shipping standards with an AH40 steel hull and a deckhouse of 5083-H112 aluminium alloy. The ship is propelled by two MTU 16V 4000 M53 diesel engines of 1840 Kw rating, which can sustain speeds up to 15 knots.
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