Special Correspondent

Two water jet-propelled fast attack ships commissioned

VISAKHAPATNAM: Eastern Naval Command added two more water jet-propelled fast attack craft on Thursday with the commissioning of INS Cora Divh and INS Cheriyam by West Bengal Governor Gopalakrishna Gandhi at Kolkata.

Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of ENC Vice Admiral Anup Singh, Chief Managing Director of Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers K. C. Sekhar and other senior officers attended the colourful ceremony.

According to a spokesman of ENC, the ships that are the third and fourth of the series of ten WJFACs designed and built by GRSE, are being inducted as a replacement of the earlier seaward defence boats (SDBs). These world class ships are testimony to Indian Navy’s commitment to indigenisation. Conceived, designed and built indigenously at GRSE, these small yet highly manoeuvrable craft are ideally suited for their intended deployment along the coast, he said.

Responsibility

In the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks in November last year, the Indian Navy had been assigned the overall responsibility of maritime security including coastal and offshore defence, he stated. A large number of initiatives were launched towards this, including augmenting the existing numbers and the technology of the patrol craft. The safe operability of the new WJFACs in shallow waters and at high speeds and their day-night surveillance capability coupled with enhanced fire power is expected to give boost to combating threats emanating from the sea and further enhance the coastal security. Named after the pristine islands located in the Lakshadweep chain, INS Cheriyam and INS Cora Divh are commanded by Commander Sudip Malik and Cdr N. Hariharan respectively, both specialists in gunnery and missiles. The ships, measuring close to 50 metres in length and displacing 325 tons, can achieve speeds in excess of 30 knots. They have complement of four officers and 45 sailors. Built for extended coastal and offshore surveillance and patrol, with advanced MTU engines and latest communication sets, they will join INS Car Nicobar and INS Chetlat, and operate under the Naval Officer-in-Charge (Tamil Nadu) towards further augmenting the surveillance along the east coast, the spokesman said.