What started in 1961 with the delivery of Seaward Defence Boat (Mk-I) is seeing a splendid culmination with the commissioning of 100th Warship, built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited (GRSE), Kolkata, a Mini Ratna Category 1 & leading shipyard of the country. GRSE was recently recognised as one of the “Next Fortune 500 Companies of India” at an Event Celebrating ‘India’s Largest Midsize Companies and Value Creators’.
The Sixth of the Class of Eight Landing Craft Utility (LCU) was commissioned today at Visakhapatnam by Vice Admiral Atul Kumar Jain, AVSM, VSM, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command. The ceremony was attended by Rear Admiral VK Saxena, IN(Retd), Chairman & Managing Director, GRSE and other senior officials of the Indian Navy and GRSE.
GRSE’s association with the Indian Navy is long and strong as over the last six decades the shipyard has been building warships and other vessels for the country’s Navy and Coast Guard. Over last 59 years, GRSE has built around 780 platforms which include 100 warships to Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard & Government of Mauritius which is highest number of warships built & delivered by any shipyard in the country. From building 05 ton boats to 24600 ton Fleet Tanker, GRSE has done it all and has proved its mettle as a pioneer warship builder of the nation. 67 of the 100 warships were for the Indian Navy and are varied in their range and scope. From Anti Submarine Warfare Shallow Water Crafts, Frigates, Missile Corvettes, Anti-Submarine Warfare Corvettes, Fleet Tankers, Landing Ship Tank, Landing Craft Utility to Survey Vessels, Offshore Patrol Vessels and Fast Attack Crafts – the repertoire is rich and varied. GRSE has embraced infrastructure modernisation over past decades with Rs 605 Crore investment towards creating an integrated shipbuilding facility enabling concurrent construction of 20 ships.
The entire design of these LCU Mark IV ships has been developed in-house by GRSE as per requirements specified by Indian Navy. The construction of the balance two ships is progressing as per the schedule. LCU Mk-IV ship is an amphibious ship with its primary role being transportation and deployment of Main Battle Tanks, Armored Vehicles, troops and equipment from ship to shore. These ships based at the Andaman and Nicobar Command, can be deployed for multirole activities like beaching operations, search and rescue, disaster relief operations, supply and replenishment and evacuation from distant islands. The LCU is 63 m in length and 11 m wide and has a displacement of 830 T with a low draught of 1.7 m. It can achieve speed of 15 knots. The LCU is designed to accommodate 216 personnel and is equipped with two Indigenous CRN 91 Guns to provide artillery fire support during landing operations. The ship is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment and advanced systems like Integrated Bridge System (IBS) and Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS).
The LCU Mark IV Class of ships are fitted with close to 90% indigenous content in line with the Govt. of India’s ‘Make in India’ initiative towards achieving self-reliance and indigenisation. The ships are equipped with Bow Ramps to enable loading/unloading of combat equipment and vehicles upon beaching. The ships are designed with ballasting and de-ballasting arrangements to achieve the desired trim for smooth beaching operations. Two guns are also installed to provide Artillery fire support during landing operations.
Substantial modifications to improve the ergonomics, habitability and layout of critical compartments have been implemented on this ship. The Mark IV LCU Vessels are a further improved version of the Mark III LCU Vessels presently being used by the Indian Navy. The first ship of the Mark IV LCU Vessels IN LCU L-51 was commissioned into Indian Navy during March 2017.
With this GRSE once again proves its ability to provide end-to-end solutions to their customers ranging from product conceptualization, design, system integration and project management, thereby enhancing the capability to meet customer demands. Key areas of strength of the shipyard include a strong, multi-disciplinary design expertise, production acumen and focused project planning & execution approach. These are traits that have helped the shipyard create strong differentiators in its path of growth.
Currently GRSE has a strong order book of over Rs.27500 Crore equipping the shipyard with a deep pool of revenue-generating projects 22 ships which include 08 ASWSWC, 03 P17A, 01 ASWC, 04 Nos. Survey Vessels (Large), 02 LCUs, 04 FPVs are in various stages of construction and are expected to be delivered to the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard accordingly. Three ships of Project P17A Advanced Stealth Frigates are being constructed using Modular Construction Technology, 3D Modelling concepts and latest software like Aveva Marine and NAPA. The first ship is progressing at a rapid pace with production being ahead of schedule while production of the second frigate is slated to commence shortly.
Delivery of 8 warships in 22 months (June 17 – Mar 19) is no mean feat which the shipyard has achieved. Shipyard’s R&D Department has been recognized by Department of Scientific & Industrial Research (DSIR), Ministry of Science & Technology. A multidisciplinary strong design team of 100 plus design engineers is working continuously towards developing concept designs for ships that can cater to current & future requirements of Indian Navy & Indian Coast Guard, GRSE continues to raise its bar higher in the sphere of maritime engineering excellence.
The ace shipbuilder has set sail towards a growth trajectory in line with its vision to be a world leader with focus on four fold increase in VOP, in next 4-5 years, increased thrust on export of warships, incorporation of latest technologies (Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Analytics) in various areas of operations to improve internal efficiencies & profit margins. Continuous research and innovation, excellent product quality, lean thinking and a strong corporate structure powered by an outstanding human capital promise a great future for GRSE.