L&T launches final offshore patrol vessel for Indian Coast Guard - The Daily Guardian
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L&T launches final offshore patrol vessel for Indian Coast Guard

Ashish Singh

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Coast Guard
Coast Guard

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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Defence

Two Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists killed in the J&K encounter

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Ansar Ghazwatul Hind (AGH), an Al-Qaeda-linked terror outfit in Kashmir, has suffered a major setback. In an encounter on the outskirts of Srinagar, security forces killed two more AGH terrorists.

The AGH terrorists were apprehended after the army and police received specific information about their presence.

During the exchange of fire, forces killed two local Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists from AGH. Both terrorists are Pulwama residents who have been involved in a number of terrorist attacks.

According to police, the terrorists were also involved in an attack on a migrant worker in Pulwama.

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Defence

N. Korea enacts law on preventive nuclear strikes, France calls “threat to peace”

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France criticised North Korea’s adoption of a law announcing its preparedness to launch preventive nuclear strikes on Friday, calling it a “threat to international and regional peace and security.”

The announcement from the foreign ministry came after North Korean state media earlier on Friday reported that Pyongyang had enacted a law authorising preventative strikes, including in the event of conventional attacks.

“This new escalation on the part of the North Korean authorities represents a threat to international and regional peace and security,” said a ministry spokeswoman.

France “notes with great concern the increasingly aggressive declarations from North Korea,” she added.

The decision by Pyongyang practically puts an end to the possibility of denuclearization talks after leader Kim Jong Un said that the nation’s nuclear status is now “irreversible.”

The announcement comes at a time when the North and South are experiencing greater conflict.

In addition to conducting a record number of weapons tests this year, Pyongyang has blamed the COVID-19 outbreak in its territory on Seoul.

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Defence

China has successfully tested its first solar-powered drone capable of acting as a satellite

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A Chinese government official informed in a tweet that China has successfully tested its first fully solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), named Qimingxing-50, which can fly for months and can function even as a satellite if required.

What is the significance of this test flight?

The Qimingxing-50, with a wingspan of 50 m, is a high-altitude long-endurance drone that is capable of high-altitude aerial reconnaissance, assessing forest fire and can also be used for communications.

This technology will bolster Chinese defences in space and at sea. It can be used in the fields of renewable energy, new materials, and aeronautical engineering. The Chinese official also asserted that this test flight is an important step towards sustainable development.

Use of the UAV as a satellite:

The UAV, whose name translates as “Morning Star-50” in English, is claimed to be capable of functioning uninterrupted for months. This capability of having a long-endurance flight gives it a use case of operating as a satellite.

Like satellites, it is fully electric-driven, powered by solar energy and can operate at 20 km above the Earth’s surface for an extended period of time continuously. It is also referred to as a “High Altitude Platform Station” or a “pseudo-satellite.”

It can be used when there is unavailability or disruption in satellite services. The report says that compared to the cost and complexity of installing a satellite in orbit, this UAV is much more cost-effective and easy to operate.

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Defence

Strict security measures have been taken at the Central Vista ahead of the inauguration by PM Modi

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As Prime Minister Nrendra Modi is going to inaugurate the newly revamped Central Vista on Thursday, over 1,500 police personnel have been deployed for security over there.

A senior official of Delhi Police who is aware of the security arrangements said that the area has been divided into eight zones, which will be manned all day by eight deputy commissioners of police (DCPs) and additional deputy commissioners of police (ADCPs).

The officer, on condition of anonymity, said, “Besides 17 assistant commissioners of police (ACPs), 43 inspectors and nearly 1,200 upper and lower-rank staff of Delhi Police will be patrolling in the areas. While ten Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) companies will patrol the area during the day, two additional CAPF companies have been deployed for security arrangements during the evening shift.As many as five patrolling teams in 10 mobile patrolling vans (MPVs) will be keeping a constant watch on all the public movement in the area.” 

Another officer said that, “The Multi Zone Door Frame Metal Detectors (DFMD) have been installed at 90 points in 25 locations in the area. Apart from one anti-drone gun, one counter-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has also been installed in the area, to detect, track, and ultimately disrupt and destroy any suspicious aerial intrusion. While five teams of spotters will keep a strict vigil in the area, another five traffic decongestion teams have been deployed there to immediately remove any traffic bottlenecks in the area. As many as five SWAT teams have been deployed in the area to avert any emergency crisis.”

The official added that drones will not be permitted near Central Vista on Thursday.

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Defence

Pakistani rangers opened fire on BSF patrolling party in J&K

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BSF apprehends Pakistani intruder from ‘Tehreek-e-Labbaik’ at Rajasthan border

As per the reports, Pakistani rangers opened fire on a Border Security Force (BSF) patrolling party in Jammu and Kashmir’s Arnia sector on Tuesday morning, prompting the BSF to respond appropriately to the “unprovoked firing”.

“Today morning the alert BSF Jammu troops gave a befitting reply to the unprovoked firing by Pak rangers on BSF patrolling party in Arnia Sector. No loss (of lives) or injury (reported) to the BSF troops,” a statement issued by a BSF spokesperson said.

On February 24, 2021, India and Pakistan agreed to strictly adhere to all agreements and understandings concerning cross-border firing along the Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir, among other sectors.

Other incidents of firing by Pakistani troops have occurred in the last year and a half, but Tuesday’s incident was “a major one” and occurred on a day when Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was in India for talks, an officer anonymously said.

According to a second officer, the Indian Army and BSF respond immediately and effectively to unprovoked firings and ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the LoC and IB.

Before the agreement in 2021, there were 5,133 ceasefire violations in 2020, 3,479 in 2019, and 2,140 in 2018. However, this number dropped to around 700 last year. Statistics for 2022 are not yet available.

The Indian government has maintained that it is Pakistan’s responsibility to create a conducive environment by taking credible, verifiable, and irreversible action to ensure that no territory under its control is used for cross-border terrorism against India in any way.

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Defence

India sends the body of Lashkar terror operative via LoC in Poonch

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Pakistan accepted the body of Tabarak Hussain, Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist operative via Chakan Da Bagh on the Line of Control in Poonch district on Monday.

“Officials of the Indian Army and civil administration took the body of slain terrorist in an ambulance to Chakan Da Bagh where it was handed over to Pakistani army officials,” said a senior official.

Tabarak Hussain, son of Mistri Malik of Sabzkote in PoK, was apprehended in an injured state by the army on August 21 in the Jhanger area of the Nowshera sector in Rajouri.

Tabarak was apprehended while allegedly infiltrating with a fidayeen terror group to attack Indian army posts along the LoC.

However, Indian army troops noticed the movement and opened fire on the intruding terror group, injuring Tabarak while other infiltrators fled to PoK.

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