The Indian Navy commissioned the third ship of the Landing Craft Utility (LCU) Mk-IV project, INLCU L53 during a ceremony in Port Blair, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The ship was commissioned by Vice Admiral Bimal Verma, AVSM, ADC, Commander-in-Chief A&N Command. Designed and built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata, the ship showcases the immense potential of the country’s indigenous ship building capability and is in consonance with the national goal of ‘Make in India’.
The ship, commanded by Lt Cdr Vikas Anand, has a complement of five officers and 45 sailors. Capable of carrying 160 troops in addition, the ships would be based in the Andaman and Nicobar Command bolstering the Command’s capability in undertaking multi role activities such as beaching operations, HADR, search/ rescue, and supply and replenishment of distant islands.
The remaining five ships of the project are in an advanced stage of construction and are scheduled to be inducted into Indian Navy over the next year and half. Induction of these ships will contribute to the nation’s maritime security needs and would accomplish India’s quest for self-reliance in shipbuilding.
Mk IV LCU (Indian Navy)
Mk IV LCU class vessels are follow on class of Mk. III LCU operated by the Indian Navy. The Mk IV LCU are meant to augment the Indian Navy’s amphibious capability.
The ship was indigenously designed and developed by the state-owned shipyard, Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE).
The ship is 63 meters long, overall beam of 11 meters, a hull draught of 2.2 meters and displaces around 830 tons.
With a maximum speed of 15 knots and an endurance of more than 1500 nautical miles, the ship is driven by twin-propeller fixed-pitch propulsion system powered by two MTU 16V 4000 M53 marine diesel engines(each 1840 KWs). Each engine drives a Fundivisa-supplied fixed-pitch propeller through a Reintjes WAF 763 P reversible reduction gearbox.
Two 30mm CRN-91 mounted guns with a Bharat Electronics-built EON-51 electro-optic director provide artillery fire support during landing operations.
The ship is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment and advanced systems such as the Integrated Bridge System (IBS) and the Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS).
The LCU has lift capacity for up to 216 personnel, including 160 fully equipped soldiers and 56 crew and 145 tonnes of military equipment. The vehicle lift capacity is one 65 ton tank like the Arjun or two 45 ton tanks like the T-72/80, or four 13.5 ton BMP Infantry Fighting Vehicles. It is fitted with a hydraulic bow ramp which enables loading and unloading of combat equipment and vehicles on beaching. Ballast arrangement further ensures desired trim for smooth beaching operations.
The ship can be deployed for maritime roles like maritime security, beaching, un-beaching, humanitarian relief operations and evacuation from distant islands, search and rescue operations and peacekeeping missions.
The LCUs will be inducted into the tri-service command responsible for India’s Andaman and Nicobar island territory. The Indian Navy is developing the chain of islands as an amphibious warfare hub to counterbalance China’s growing military influence in the Indian Ocean Region. The craft may also operate in the Arabian Sea.