Confident Navy Combat Ready
That India is a peace-loving country but that does not mean that India’s territorial integrity and Indian national interests will be compromised with the enemies has been manifested in the recent months many a time. Protecting India and advancing its national interests are combined responsibilities of all our three forces and our forces have made the country proud in that respect. While the news may be focused on the Indian Army for its engagements in Eastern Ladakh to give a fitting reply to any Chinese misadventure, the Indian Navy is not sitting idle in the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal..
Admiral Karambir Singh, the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), reviewed the operational preparedness and combat-readiness of the Indian Navy’s principal combatants on 22 October 2020.
CNS accompanied by Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Naval Command, Vice Admiral Ajit Kumar, arrived at Karwar Naval Base where he interacted with personnel and emphasised key issues of repairs, maintenance, spares support and op-logistics for afloat units to sharpen their war-fighting capabilities. He also reiterated aspects of cyber-security, force protection against terrorist attacks, asymmetric warfare and exhorted all personnel to maintain highest-level of alertness.
Admiral Karambir Singh thereafter departed by helicopter to embark the Carrier Battle Group, comprising Vikramaditya, destroyers, frigates, corvettes, fleet support ships and integral swing-role fighters and helicopters. On embarking indigenous guided-missile destroyer Chennai, he was given an operational readiness briefing by the Fleet Commander, after which weapon firings, air-to-air combat operations, anti-submarine drills and fleet manoeuvres were demonstrated under realistic conditions. CNS thereafter embarked Fleet Support Ship Deepak to interact with the ship’s crew, followed by embarkation on aircraft carrier Vikramaditya, where he witnessed the Carrier Battle Group’s capabilities for integral fleet air defence and strike.
Addressing the combatants of the Carrier Battle Group over broadcast from Vikramaditya, CNS complimented them for continuously maintaining peak combat-readiness and high tempo of operations over the past months, in spite of COVID-19 related challenges. The Indian Navy has remained mission-deployed and combat-ready across the IOR(Indian Ocean Region), even through rough seas during the monsoon period, towards maintaining the maritime security of the nation. He highlighted the nation’s appreciation for the Navy’s contributions in ‘Op Samudra Setu’ towards for repatriation of our distressed citizens from IOR countries and towards providing medical and logistics assistance to our friendly neighbours in the IOR, as part of ‘Mission SAGAR’. He expressed satisfaction at the high levels of motivation and reiterated that the Indian Navy has the best human capital manning our platforms.
Giving an overview of the prevailing security situation, he stated that the Navy would continue maintaining a high-tempo of operations in coming months. He also complimented the Carrier Battle Group and its combatants for accurate and effective weapon firings, which left no doubt about the Navy’s readiness to meet any emergent contingencies. CNS highlighted that tri-service synergy and coordination has peaked with establishment of the Department of Military Affairs as was visibly demonstrated in the joint response of the three Services to recent events.
It may be noted that concurrent with CNS’s review of combat readiness on the Western seaboard, the Indian Navy’s Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) capability was further augmented by commissioning of ASW Stealth Corvette Kavaratti by General Manoj Mukund Naravane, Chief of the Army Staff, at Visakhapatnam, on the Eastern seaboard ( a concrete manifestation of the team spirit – the Army Chief commissioning a Navy ship). Designed by the Indian Navy and built at Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd, Kolkata, the ship is a fine example of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
Named after the capital of the Lakshadweep group of islands, INS Kavaratti has been constructed using high grade DMR 249A steel produced in India. The sleek and magnificent ship spans 109 meters in length, 14 meters in breadth with a displacement of 3300 tonnes and can rightfully be regarded as one of the most potent Anti-Submarine Warships to have been constructed in India. The complete superstructure of the ship has been built using composite material. The ship is propelled by four Diesel engines. The ship has enhanced stealth features resulting in reduced Radar Cross Section (RCS) achieved by X form of superstructure along with optimally sloped surfaces. The ship’s advanced stealth features make her less susceptible to detection by the enemy.
The unique feature of this ship is the high level of indigenisation incorporated in the production, accentuating our National Objective of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’. The ship has high indigenous content with state of the art equipment & systems to fight in Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) warfare conditions. Also, the weapons and sensors suite onboard is pre-dominantly indigenous and showcases the Nation’s evolving capability in this niche area. Some of the major equipment/ systems developed indigenously include Combat Management System, Torpedo Tube Launchers and Infra-Red Signature Suppression System etc.
INS Kavaratti has a multitude of advanced automation systems such as Total Atmospheric Control System (TACS), Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS), Integrated Bridge System (IBS), Battle Damage Control System (BDCS) and Personnel Locator System (PLS) to provide a contemporary and process oriented System of Systems for optimal functioning of the warship. Having completed sea trials of all her equipment, Kavaratti has been commissioned as a fully combat-ready platform providing a boost to the ASW capability of the Indian Navy.
The ship is the reincarnation of the erstwhile Arnala Class missile corvette of the same name (INS Kavaratti – P 80). Kavaratti in her previous avatar has had a distinguished service and her legacy outlives her service life of almost two decades. Her illustrious past includes participation in the 1971 war for the liberation of Bangladesh and many other operational deployments. During the 1971 war, she was deployed for contraband control in the Bay of Bengal and the support of mining of entrances to Chittagong. She captured the Pakistani Merchant Ship Baqir during this operation. In the present avatar, Kavaratti is equally powerful and packs an even more deadly punch.
The ship is manned by a team comprising twelve officers and 134 sailors with Commander Sandeep Singh at the helm as her first Commanding Officer. The ship would be an integral part of the Eastern Fleet under the Eastern Naval Command.