L&T launches final offshore patrol vessel for Indian Coast Guard

by Editorial

In an impressive ceremony held at L&T Shipbuilding, Kattupalli, near Chennai, 7th Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) (Yard45007) was launched by Hema Somanathan, spouse of T.V. Somanathan, Secretary (Expenditure), Ministry of Finance, on Tuesday. T.V. Somanathan, Secretary (Expenditure), Ministry of Finance, Government of India, was the chief guest for the ceremony, which was witnessed by DG K. Natarajan, Director General Indian Coast Guard, and Inspector General S. Paramesh, Commander Coast Guard Region (East).

 The OPV launched is the last of the series of 7 OPVs being built by L&T shipbuilding under the contract signed between Ministry of Defence and L&T Ltd on 30 March 2015. It was the first time that the contract for building an OPV class of vessel was awarded to a private shipyardin line with the government’s policy of Make in India. 

The 7th OPV launched is likely to be inducted into Indian Coast Guard in Mar 2021 after completion of extensive trials and testing for the equipment and machineries fitted onboard. The length of the OPVs is 98m and breadth 14.8m with gross tonnage of 2100 tons. The endurance of the vessel is 5000 Nautical miles at cruising speed. The cruising speed of the ship is 12-14 knots and maximum speed of 26 knots can be achieved. 

The ship will be fitted with indigenous 30 mm 2A42 gun and two 12.7 mm gun. The ship has been designed to carry integral Twin Engine Helicopter which will enhance its operational, surveillance, search and rescue capability. 

The OPV would be utilised for day and night patrol/ surveillance along with anti-terrorist/ anti-smuggling operations in Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Coastal Security. The vessel will have two navigation radars and ultra-modern technology including sophisticated navigational and latest communication system capable of operating in tropical conditions. The expected life span of the ship is more than 25 years. The ship would be manned by 102 crew, including 14 officers and 88 subordinate officers and enrolled personnel.

 Numerous benchmarks were set during execution of the programme including the following: 

1. For the first time, entire design and construction of the OPV class of ships undertaken by an Indian private sector shipyard.

 2. Delivery of ‘First of Class’ OPV ‘ICGS Vikram’ ahead of contractual schedule. 

3. Achieving the build period of mere 19.5 months, clearing all Sea Acceptance Trials in a single sea sortie for 5th OPV ‘ICGS Varad’.

 4. Delivery of five OPVs of the series so far, all ahead of contractual schedule.

 In just over a decade from the receipt of L&T’s first defence shipbuilding order in March-2010, L&T has in-house designed, constructed and delivered 59 defence vessels exemplifying its ‘Made in India’ resolve to make India Selfreliant and Stronger. These include 5 Offshore Patrol Vessels, a Floating Dock and 53 Interceptor Boats with the remarkable achievement of delivering on all contracts either ahead or on schedule.

 Commenting on the launch, S.N. Subrahmanyan, CEO & MD, Larsen & Toubro, said, “L&T resolutely stands with Indian armed forces to equip them with cutting edge defence technologies. Ahead of schedule launch of ‘ICGS Vigraha’ in these challenging times will pave the way for her early deployment by the Coast Guard, which has assumed greater significance in current geopolitical situation.” “L&T has affirmed its commitment to ‘Make in India’ in defence with largest spectrum of defence solutions on offer through decades of in-house R&D, huge investments in setting up state-of-the-art defence production facilities and development of competent human capital. L&T’s capabilities in defence are able to provide much needed impetus to ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ in defence,” added Subrahmanyan.

 Jayant Patil, Whole-time Director and Sr. Executive Vice President (Defence & Smart Technologies), L&T said, “L&T has accomplished this launch through innovative ways to overcome unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19 over the past 6 months. Our pursuit of technology, continuous innovation, attention to inbuilt quality, and adoption of Modular Construction philosophy combined with Shipbuilding 4.0 processes enables unmatched speed of execution to deliver defence ships on time.”

 “L&T continues to raise the performance bar by consistently delivering defence vessels ahead of schedule under all MoD programmes. With unparalleled execution track record and robust financial strength, L&T is uniquely positioned to play a leading role in augmentation and modernization of Indian Navy and Coast Guard fleets and consistently deliver ‘Make in India’ in defence in true sense” added Patil.

 L&T is also richly contributing to the upkeep of Indian Naval and Coast Guard fleets by routinely undertaking their repairs/refits and upgrades including emergency repairs and inspection with exemplary delivery performance. Besides the Launch the Yard is readying for Delivery of the 6th OPV and the 54th Interceptor Boat during the current month.

 Despite the restriction and constraints faced by Industries across the world due to Covid-19, the coordinated efforts of ICG overseeing team with L&T Shipbuilding have resulted in timely launching of the Vessel. This milestone will ensure timely delivering of the Vessel to ICG which is the need of hour in today’s existing security scenario. 

The Chief Guest brought out in his speech that, the Indian Coast Guard is on the path of rapid expansion which requires large number of state of art ships and aircraft to strengthen the maritime security mechanism. Assets requirement are being met by adding new ships and replacement of ageing existing OPV class of ships in phased manner which have been inducted 30-35 years ago. The Chief Guest also acknowledged the timely delivery of OPVs by L&T to ICG.OPVs are long-range surface ships, capable of operation in maritime zones of India, including island territories with helicopter operation capabilities. Their roles include coastal and offshore patrolling, policing maritime zones of India, control and surveillance, anti-smuggling and anti-piracy operations with limited wartime roles.

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