Port Blair: A Landing Craft Utility (LCU) ship was commissioned into the Indian Navy at the Port Blair on Wednesday. The ship named ‘L-55’, built indigenously by the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited (GRSE), Kolkata was commissioned by Vice Admiral Ajit Kumar, Vice Chief of Naval Staff. Also Read - Decommissioned Aircraft Carrier INS Viraat Goes on Last Voyage to Ship-breaking Yard in Gujarat

The commissioning ceremony was attended by the Rear Admiral VK Saxena, (Retd), Chairman and Managing Director, Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited (GRSE) besides other senior officials of the Indian Navy and GRSE. Also Read - Amid Border Tensions, Chinese Vessels Spotted in Indian Waters Last Month; Indian Navy on Constant Watch

This Mark IV LCU vessels is an improved version of the Mark III LCU vessels which forms a part of the Indian Navy’s fleet. This is the fifth such Mark IV CU vessel, the first such IN LCU L-51 was commissioned into the Indian Navy on March 2017. Also Read - Two Months After Galwan Clash, Indian Navy Deploys Warship in South China Sea: Report  

“Substantial modifications to improve the ergonomics, habitability and layout of critical compartments have been implemented on this ship. The Mark IV LCU Vessels are a further improved version of the Mark III LCU Vessels presently being used by the Indian Navy. The first ship of the Mark IV LCU Vessels IN LCU L-51 was commissioned into Indian Navy during March 2017,” said a release from GRSE.

The ship is likely to be based out of Andaman and Nicobar Command of the Indian Navy. The primary role of the ship will be transportation and deployment of Main Battle Tanks, Armoured Vehicles, troops from the ship to the shore. However, the ship could also be deployed for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations. Two guns have also been installed to provide Artillery fire support during landing operations. The ship is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment and advanced systems like Integrated Bridge System (IBS) and Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS).

The ships are equipped with Bow Ramps to enable loading/unloading of combat equipment and vehicles upon beaching. The ships are designed with ballasting and de-ballasting arrangements to achieve the desired trim for smooth beaching operations.

“These amphibious warships, developed by GRSE’s in-house design team, are unique in their design and operations, having a length of 62.8 metres and capable of achieving a speed of 15 knots with a low draught of 1.8 M. This once again proves GRSE’s ability to provide end-to-end solutions to their customers ranging from product conceptualization, design, system integration and project management, thereby enhancing the capability to meet customer demands,” added the release.

The ship, commanded by Lt Commander Abhishek Kumar will house a total of five officers and 45 sailors.

In line with the Make in India initiative, GRSE is executing the order for eight Landing Craft Utility (LCU) ships for the Indian Navy. The remaining three ships of the total eight are in advanced stages of construction and are expected to be delivered over the next one year.

(Written by Pooja Mehta)