Earlier today, the Indian Navy (IN) commissioned the third ship being built as part of the Landing Craft Utility (LCU) Mk-IV project by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata. The ship, designted INLCU L53, was commissioned by Vice Admiral Bimal Verma, AVSM, ADC, Commander-in-Chief Andaman & Nicobar Command (ANC) at Port Blair. The LCU Mk-IV is an indigenous design and has a high degree of indigenous content, with the hull built from domestically developed DMR 249A steel. As such, the induction of vessels of this class is very much in consonance with the IN’s commitment to the ‘Make in India’ paradigm.
Image: A LCU MK-IV Class Vessel At Sea. Source: GRSE
INLCU L53 is currently commanded by Lt Cdr Vikas Anand, and has a complement of five officers and 45 sailors. It will be based in the ANC, bolstering the Command’s capability to undertake a range of missions such as beaching operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) , search and rescue (SAR), and supply and replenishment of distant islands in the Andaman & Nicobar (A&N) archipelago. The LCU MK-IV is an amphibious ship with the primary role being the transport and deployment of armoured vehicles, including main battle tanks, troops and their associated equipment from ship to shore.
The LCU MK-IV design has a displacement of 830 Tons has a length of 62.8 metres (m) , beam of 11.0 m and a hull draught of 1.7 m. It is capable of transporting either one Arjun Class MBT or four BMP-2 class infantry combat vehicles (ICV) (as depicted below) to shore from sea. The design can also host some 160 troops and their associated equipment in addition to a maximum complement of 10 officers and 46 sailors.
Image: LCU MK-IV with four ICVs on deck. Photo Credit: Sriram Thiagarajan
The ship is powered by two MTU 16V 4000 M53 marine diesel engines (each rated at 1840 kilowatts), which drive two controlled pitch propellers through a reversible reduction gearbox. This propulsion scheme provides the ship with an endurance of around 1500 nautical miles at 12 knots. The ship utilizes the latest advances in shipborne enterprise management via an Integrated Bridge System (IBS) and the Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS) which allows the remote control of propulsion, auxiliary and power generating equipment.
Image: Vice Admiral Verma Greeting Crew Members of INLCU L 53. Source: Indian Navy
As far as weaponry is concerned, the LCU MK-IV is outfitted with two indigenous 30 mm CRN-91 guns with a stabilized optronic pedestal for offensive capability during patrol missions. In addition to the CRN-91s, the ships are also equipped with two heavy machine guns (HMG’s), four medium machine guns (MMG’s), and have man-portable air-defence systems (MANPADS) such as the Igla, on board.
Overall Project Status
The remaining five ships of the project are at an advanced stage of construction and are scheduled to be inducted into the IN over the next year and half. Since the second ship of this class, all units are being delivered to the IN after having successfully completed their weapon & sensor trials. They are also being delivered with zero shipbuilders’ liabilities.
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