Indian shipbuilder, Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has launched the fourth Vikram-class Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV), ICGS Varaha, for the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) during a ceremony at the company’s Kattupalli Shipyard near Chennai on Nov. 2, 2018.
The vessel, with Yard no. 45004, was ceremoniously launched by Chitra Chafekar, wife of Inspector General Vijay D. Chafekar, the Commander of the Coast Guard Region (West).
Larsen & Toubro is currently executing the Ministry of Defence Contract of 2015 to design and construct seven OPVs and deliver them to the Indian Coast Guard between 2018 to 2021.
The first of the class, ICGS Vikram was launched in October 2017, handed over to the Coast Guard in April 2018 and commissioned ahead of contracted schedule on April 11. The second of the class, ICGS Vijaya was launched on 20th January 2018 and was handed over to the Coast Guard on Aug. 30, 2018. The third OPV, to be named ICGS Veera, was launched on Aug. 28 this year and is presently being readied for sea trials.
Currently, the work is simultaneously in progress on the OPVs 5 & 6, that are at different stages of completion.
Vikram class OPVs are long-range surface ships, equipped to handle helicopter operations and capable of operating in Indian maritime zones including island territories.
The vessels are approximately 97m long, 15m wide and has 3.6m draught, 2,140 tonne displacement and a range of 5,000 NM. They can attain a sustained speed of up to 26 knots and are armed with a 30mm CRN 91 Naval Gun and two 12.7mm heavy machine guns (HMG) with fire control system (FCS).
The OPVs are built with Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS) to enable special control capabilities generally integrated in larger warships like frigates and destroyers. The vessels are fitted with front propulsion pods for providing an ability of high manoeuvrability. The entire design and construction process has been certified by American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) as well as Indian Registrar of Shipping (IRS) and were overseen by the Indian Coast Guard’s resident team at Kattupalli.
The role of the OPV is to conduct coastal and offshore patrolling, policing maritime zones, control & surveillance, anti-smuggling & anti-piracy operations with limited wartime roles.