India inducts L&T-built Coast Guard vessel for capability boost

Photo: Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh and Coast Guard chief K. Natarajan with Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O. Paneerselvam on the bridge of newly-inducted ICGS Varaha.

New Delhi: India today commissioned a new Coast Guard vessel at Chennai, built by the local shipyard from Larsen & Toubro. The coastal patrol vessel was christened ICGS Varaha.

Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh, speaking at the commissioning ceremony, called for a proactive coordination among all agencies and stakeholders involved in coastal security to achieve the common goal of national security.

He exuded confidence that ICGS Varaha will further strengthen the Coast Guard fleet in responding to the threats of maritime terrorism, smuggling and challenges of maritime law enforcement. He hoped that ICGS Varaha will enhance the surveillance and patrolling capabilities of Indian Coast Guard and reinforce their role as ‘Sentinels of our Seas’.

Highlighting Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s vision of ‘Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR)’, the minister said as a responsible maritime power, oceans have been the government’s foremost policy priorities.

Rajnath Singh described ICGS ‘Varaha’ as a fine example of government’s collaboration with the private industry and ‘Make in India‘ initiative, by which Larsen & Toubro shipbuilding has played a very important role in production and maintenance of India’s sea-based assets.

“The name ‘Varaha’ is taken from the puranas, who was the third incarnation of Lord Vishnu which took the form of Boar to protect mother earth by carrying her out of the sea on his tusks. It reminds us of the principle of sacrifice and rescue in the duty of saving mother earth,” the minister said.

Photo: Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh and Indian Coast Guard Director General K. Natarajan taking a tour of ICGS Varaha in Chennai today.

The minister also stressed on the need to ensure availability of world class assets, both commercial vessels and warships, in adequate numbers to achieve maritime supremacy. He said there is no other way of providing the needed numbers than having a strong and vibrant shipbuilding industry. “Great fleets cannot be just bought, they have to be built,” he said.

Appreciating the important role played by private players in the indigenisation of shipbuilding technology, Rajnath Singh urged them to develop naval equipment of stringent standards. He said the government has taken a conscious decision to encourage private yards to enter the specialised field of warship-construction. He termed the response as encouraging.

“There are not many countries in the world having capability to produce such a wide variety of warships ranging from Fast Attack Craft to Aircraft Carrier,” he added. Rajnath Singh also undertook a tour of ICGS Varaha and was briefed about the functioning of the vessel by Indian Coast Guard Director General K. Natarajan.

Rajnath Singh said an Indian Naval Indigenisation Plan from 2015-2030, as a guideline document, has been formulated in pursuance to the government’s vision of ‘Make in India’. He said the document is aimed to enable indigenous development of equipment and systems over the next 15 years.

ICGS Varaha, capable of carrying pollution response equipment, is a state-of-the-art offshore patrol vessel and only the fourth among the series of seven ships to be delivered by Larsen & Toubro with features like ultra-advanced navigation, communication sensors and machinery. It will operate from the port of New Mangalore on the western coast of India covering Exclusive Economic Zone up to Kanyakumari.

“Commissioning of ICGS Varaha at the hands of the Minister of Defence speaks volumes about the importance accorded by the government to the coastal security of our nation. L&T is proud to have designed and constructed 35 per cent of the ships in service of Indian Coast Guard fleet. On this historic occasion of inducting a L&T-built vessel for the Coast Guard into operational service, we reaffirm our commitment to deliver cutting-edge defence technology to our armed forces indigenously, innovatively and ahead of schedule,” said Larsen & Toubro Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director S. N. Subrahmanyan.

ICGS Varaha is capable of operating the indigenously-developed Advanced Light Helicopter produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The ship is well equipped with high speed boats, medical facilities and modern surveillance systems.

The vessel is the 51st defence sector asset built by Larsen & Toubro, which has indigenously designed and built ICGS Varaha. Previously, the private shipbuilder has delivered ICGS Vikram in April 2018, ICGS Vijaya in August 2018 and ICGS Veera in February 2019 to the coast guard, as part of the same order.

ICGS Varaha, launched in November 2018, was also delivered ahead of schedule – within 17 months of delivering and commissioning of the lead OPV in April 2018. The fifth Offshore Patrol Vessel named ICGS Varad was recently launched by Gargi Kaul, Secretary (Defence Finance) in August 2019 and is getting finishing touches to ready for sea trials over the coming weeks.

Larsen & Toubro was mandated by Ministry of Defence for the design and construction of seven Offshore Patrol Vessels in 2014. Larsen & Toubro became the first company in India’s private sector to deliver an in-house designed-and-built Offshore Patrol Vessel to the Indian Coast Guard.

“ICGS Varaha is the 51st vessel designed and built by L&T under the warship License granted by the government in the year 2002, renewed and later converted into perpetuity. L&T has been delivering the defence platforms consistently ahead of schedule under MoD contracts awarded till date. ICGS Varaha is yet another example of the extraordinary results of L&T’s efforts to uphold the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Design in India’ initiatives of the government,” said Larsen & Tourbro’s Senior Executive Vice President and Whole-Time Director (Defence) J. D. Patil.

“We are uniquely positioned to offer a range of critical defence technologies with single point responsibility from design to platform specific equipment and systems to life-cycle support in the true spirit of ‘Make in India’. With major defence acquisition programmes already on the anvil, we are poised and look forward to enhance L&T’s contribution to the national defence significantly,” Patil added.

The first vessel, ICGS Vikram, had taken just 25 months from keel laying to completion – the shortest for any Offshore Patrol Vessel in India – in line with global benchmarks, as Larsen & Toubro adopted Industry 4.0 practices.

The vessel is about 97-metre long and 15-metre wide, has a 3.6-metre draught with a 2,140-tonne displacement and a range of 5,000 nautical miles. The vessel can attain maximum speed of up to 26 knots. The entire design and construction process has been certified by American Bureau of Shipping and Indian Registrar of Shipping and overseen by the Indian Coast Guard’s resident team at Kattupalli.

File Photo: Larsen & Toubro is building Offshore Patrol Vessels for the Indian Coast Guard at Kattupalli in Tamil Nadu at its shipyard.

Larsen & Toubro’s globally bench-marked and modern greenfield shipyard at Kattupalli, spread over sprawling 900-acre complex, is capable of undertaking simultaneous construction and refits of multiple ships and submarines under covered workshops. With our unique capability of design and engineering in-house, Larsen & Toubro has so far delivered 46 Interceptor Boats and four Offshore Patrol Vessels to the Indian Coast Guard and one mega sized Floating Dock to the Indian Navy.

“Early deliveries of all four Offshore Patrol Vessels and other defence vessels is a testimony to L&T’s world class shipbuilding capabilities. L&T is the only Indian shipyard that has effectively implemented many of the Industry 4.0 practices encompassing complete ship design and construction processes. These practices assure quality, speed, safety and modularity in warship construction leading to early delivery of defence vessels into service. We have also built a rich pool of human resources that is at par with the global best in critical shipbuilding technologies,” said Larsen & Toubro Shipbuilding Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Vice Admiral B. Kannan (Retired).

Larsen & Toubro 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 by exploiting the largest in India – 21,500-ton class ship lift at the Kattupalli yard.

With the focus of the government on defence exports, Larsen & Toubro is currently engaged in building High-Speed Patrol Vessels for exporting to a friendly nation in South-East Asia region as per our country’s ‘Look East – Act East’ policy and to empower the recipient nation to construct latter platforms indigenously.

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