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Indigenously designed Fast Attack Crafts commissioned

Special Correspondent

— Photo: R. Ragu

STRENGTHENING SECURITY: The INS Chetlat at the Chennai Port on Monday.

CHENNAI: Two indigenously designed Fast Attack Crafts built to augment coastal security were commissioned by Governor Surjit Singh Barnala here on Monday.

INS Car Nicobar and INS Chetlat, the first water jet propelled Fast Attack Crafts (FAC) in the country, would add to the Navy’s 51-strong fleet and also provide additional capabilities to combat sea-based threats, said Vice Admiral Nirmal Kumar Verma, flag officer commanding-in-chief, Eastern Naval Command. He said the third generation of FACs would be permanently based on the eastern seaboard to enhance vigil and surveillance in the coastal areas, and also provide security to fishermen.

K.C. Sekhar, chief managing director, Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, said these two were the first of ten such ships to be built by the company for the Navy. These ships included the latest in communication and weapons technology and were capable of day-night surveillance, he said.

The 48.9-metre-long FACs could reach speeds of up to 35 knots (around 65 kmph) and were highly manoeuvrable. With a 30-mm CRN 91 gun and 11 machine guns and shoulder-launched Igla surface-to-air missiles on board, they were capable of countering both surface and air threats and rapid interception deployments, he said.

Mr. Sekhar said the company had received the Raksha Mantri Award of Excellence for the design of these ships in 2007. Besides, 78 FACs (without water jet propulsion) would be built and 12 were ready to be commissioned in March this year, he said.

Mr. Barnala, who released a postal cover to commemorate the commissioning, said the FACs had been built almost completely in India.

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