ANDHRA PRADESH

INS Airavata likely to be commissioned in August

J Balaji

VISAKHAPATNAM: The Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited (GRSE), Kolkata, building the Rs.74-crore INS Airavata, the third in the Shardul class Landing Ship Tank (Large) – LST (L) would deliver it to the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) of the Indian navy in the next few months. The ship is likely to be commissioned in August this year. GRSE Additional General Manager Deepath Pathi told The Hindu that Airavata too would be a indigenously built state-of-the-art ship with advance features like its predecessor, the just-commissioned INS Kesari. The ship, which was being readied as Yard 3016 at the GRSE’s Kolkata unit, would go for basin trial in May and sea trial in June or July.

The Navy had given order for constructing Airavata in 2003 and it was launched (completion of hull work and engine fitting) and named by the then Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of ENC Vice-Admiral Sureesh Mehta (now navy chief) on March 27, 2006. ENC sources said Airavata would have displacement of 5600 tonnes. It is 124.8 metres long with the beam of 17.5 metres. It is fitted with Kirloskar PA6 STC engines with the maximum speed of 15.8 knots. It too can carry 11 main battle tanks, 10 Army vehicles and 500 troops excluding ship crew. Its armament includes WM-18 rocket launcher, SAM, Naval Medak gun and CRN 91 guns. Besides Seaking and Dhurv helicopters could land and take off from the ship. The ENC badly needs more amphibious ship as its two of its ships INS Amba and INS Ghorpad were decommissioned, the former in 2006 and the latter in January this year.

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