The Indian Navy inducted into service its largest offshore patrol vessel (OPV), INS Sunayna, at the Southern Naval Command here on Tuesday.
Vice-Admiral Satish Soni, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the command who commissioned the 105-metre long ship, designed and built by the public sector Goa Shipyard, told the media that the OPV added to the command’s teeth and that it would soon be deployed for anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.
Commending Goa Shipyard for delivering a state-of-the-art vessel — which displaces 2,200 tonnes and is fitted with the most advanced communication, navigation and electronic warfare equipment besides a 76-mm SRGM (Super Rapid Gun Mount), and close-in weapon system (CIWS) — the Vice-Admiral said with an endurance of 6,000 nautical miles, the vessel was ideal to carry out a range of maritime security operations including anti-piracy patrol, anti-poaching campaigns and monitoring of the vital sea lines of communication along the Indian Ocean. It was to the yard’s credit that the vessel was delivered with zero work pending, he said.
The mandate of the Navy was to secure national interest in the Indian Ocean Region, a vital theatre of strategic importance, and INS Sunayna would strengthen the force’s capability to attain this, he said, adding the vessel would see extensive deployment around the Lakshadweep archipelago as well.
Commander Aftab Ahmed Khan will be the commissioning commanding officer of INS Sunayna, which will have a complement of eight officers and 105 sailors.
The NOPV — the second in the class after INS Saryu was added to the naval inventory in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands earlier this year — is expected to bridge the crucial gap in the Southern Naval Command’s long-endurance patrol capability in the wake of the conversion of OPV INS Sujata into a cadet training vessel over a year ago. The vessel can embark an advanced light helicopter (ALH) or a Chetak search and rescue helicopter.
Two more vessels of the class, under construction at Goa Shipyard, would be delivered to the Navy between this year-end and mid-2014, said Commodore (Retd) Prabhat Shrivastava, Director (Corporate Planning, Projects and Business Development) of Goa Shipyard.