New Delhi: Indian government’s decision to beef up coastal security by strengthening the fleet of ships and aircraft operated by the Indian Coast Guards. The Indian Coast Guard aims to add 70 ships & 40 aircraft by 2022 in a bid to bridge the gap in the 7500-kilometer long coastal area.
India’s private shipyard L&T has launched the first of seven 2,100 ton offshore patrol vessels (OPV) in Chennai which is scheduled to be inducted into the Indian Coast Guard by April 2018 after completion of sea trials on equipment and machinery.
The 98 meter long OPV has an endurance of 5,000 nautical miles at a cruising speed of 12-14 knots. Its maximum speed is 26 knots. The ship is fitted with one 30 mm automatic gun and two 12.7 mm gun with fire control system. The vessel can operate twin-engine helicopters which would be used mainly for surveillance, search, and rescue operations. The remaining six vessels will be delivered in next three years by the shipyard. This is the first offshore patrol vessel for the Indian Coast Guard that has been built by a private sector yard.
“Seventy ships are under construction in six shipyards. The Indian Coast Guard currently has 130 ships and 62 aircraft which will go up to 200 ships and 100 aircraft by 2022,” VST Murthy, Additional Director General, Indian Coast Guard said.