Asia Defense

India’s Navy Commissions Fast Attack Craft

The new vessel will be deployed for coastal and offshore surveillance as well as patrol India’s exclusive economic zone.

India’s Navy Commissions Fast Attack Craft
Credit: Indian Ministry of Defense via Twitter

The Indian Navy has commissioned a new Car Nicobar-class high-speed offshore patrol vessel, the INS Tillanchang, at a naval base near the city of Karwar in the South Indian state of Karnataka, Indian Ministry of Defense (MOD) announced on March 9.

The INS Tillanchang is the third of four improved Car Nicobar-class boats high-speed offshore patrol vessels, referred in the Indian Navy as Water Jet Fast Attack Crafts (WJFAC), to be commissioned by the service.  The Indian Navy operates ten regular Niconbar-class ships commissioned from 2009 to 2011.

The production of the Car Nicobar-class vessels was sped-up following the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The INS Tillanchang is the third WJFAC built by Kolkata-based shipbuilder Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE). Construction of the craft kicked off in 2013 following the conclusion of a contract with the Indian defense ministry. It was launched along with two other WJFACs in June 2015.

The other two vessels of the class, INS Tarmugli and Tihayu, were commissioned in 2016 and are currently based at Naval Dockyard Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. The last of the four improved Car Nicobar-class ships, the INS Tarasa, was launched in June 2016 and is expected to be commissioned this year.

“Speaking on the occasion Vice Admiral Girish Luthra said that these ships play a vital role in light of security environment in the country and are designed to take on both conventional and asymmetric threats,” the Indian MoD noted in its statement. “He apprised the gathering that Tillanchang was able to achieve the fastest speeds among all WJ FACs during the speed trials.”

Unlike, similar sized U.S. Coast Guard cutters of the Sentinel-class, the Car Nicobar-class offshore patrol vessels are propelled by water jets and can reach top speeds of over 35 knots (65 km/h). The ship’s propulsion system consists of three Hamilton waterjets driven by three MTU 4000 series engines through ZF gearboxes monitored and controlled by a MCS-5 machinery control system.

The ship is armed with a 30 mm CRN 91 gun manufactured by Ordnance Factory Medak as well as two 12.7 mm heavy machine guns (HMG) and multiple medium machine guns, besides shoulder-launched Igla surface-to-air missiles for low altitude anti-air warfare. The ship’s crew consists of 40 to 50 officers and sailors.

Tillanchang, commanded by Commander Adit Patnaik, is an ideal platform for a number of missions like Coastal and Off-shore Surveillance, EEZ Control, Law Enforcement as well as non-military missions such as Search and Rescue, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief,” the press statement notes.

The fast attack crafts of the Car Nicobar-class are named after an island in the Andaman group.