2 minute readNavy gets fleet tanker

Indian Defense Minister Arackaparambil Kurian Antony addresses the audience at the commissioning of the INS Deepak, with the carrier INS Viraat in the background.

The Indian Navy commissioned the first of two fleet tankers built by the Italian ship-builder Fincantieri on Friday. The INS Deepak (Lamp) was commissioned at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai by the Indian Defense Minister Arackaparambil Kurian Antony.

According to a press release issued by the navy, this ship is one of the largest ships of the navy with a length of 175 meters (~574 feet) and 25 meters (~82 feet) wide, as well as a full load displacement of 27,500 tonnes of which a large percentage (17,900 tons) is the cargo carrying capacity, including, 15,250 tons of fuel, 510 tons of solid cargo (including ammunition and spares) and 6 containers.

The ship has a maximum draft of 9.1 meters (~30 feet), a maximum speed of 20 knots (~37 kilometers per hour) and an endurance of 10,000 nautical miles (18,520 kilometers) at a speed of 16 knots (~29 kilometers per hour).

The second-generation INS Deepak carries four Ordnance Factory Board AK-630 guns for close defence and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL)-supplied fire control system, electronic surveillance and communication equipment. The tanker can carry an integrated helicopter flight and stage all helicopters operated by the Indian Navy.

The ship is crewed by 15 Officers and 182 sailors, commanded by Captain VK Madhusoodanan.

A double hull configuration tanker, the INS Deepak can also undertake other roles. “In addition to its traditional role of supplying fuel to ships at sea, the ship is also capable of transporting and supplying ammunition, materials and provisions. It is also capable of undertaking Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations with its modern medical health facilities,” said the navy. It says the ship is also designed to function as a command platform.

Delivered in 27 months since the design stage and launched a year back, it replaces the erstwhile Deepak, which was commissioned in November 1967 and decommissioned in April 1996.

“The commissioning of INS Deepak is a milestone achievement for the navy as it would revolutionize the combat support operations at sea and extend the reach of the naval power of the nation,” said the navy.

Last year, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India had criticized the selection of the steel proposed by Fincantieri to be used for building the tanker.

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