The Indian Navy inducted the third ship of the Landing Craft Utility (LCU) Mk-IV project at Port Blair on April 25. The ship was commissioned as INLCU L53 by Vice Admiral Bimal Verma, commander-in-chief of Andaman and Nicobar Command, of the Indian Armed Forces’ tri-service command. The command oversees India’s Andaman and Nicobar Island territories, including the strategic Strait of Malacca in the Indian Ocean.
The defence ministry in a statement said, “LCU MK-IV ship is an amphibious ship with a displacement of 830 Tons and is capable of transporting combat equipment such as Main Battle Tanks Arjun, T72, and other Armored Vehicles. The ship is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment and advanced systems such as the Integrated Bridge System (IBS) and the Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS). The indigenous CRN 91 Gun with Stabilised Optronic Pedestal provides the ship the requisite offensive capability for undertaking patrolling in addition.”
The (LCU) Mk-IV vessel can sail through the sea at a speed of 15kt besides it can also carry 145 tons of military equipment in addition to 160 troops. The ship will help the Indian Navy in carrying out multi-role activities, such as beaching operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, search/rescue, and supply and replenishment of distant islands. According to the defence ministry, the remaining five ships of the project are in an advanced stage of construction and are scheduled to be inducted into Indian Navy over the next year and a half.
The Landing Craft Utility (LCU) is a type of boat used by amphibious forces to transport equipment and troops to the shore. They are capable of transporting tracked or wheeled and troops from amphibious assault ships to beachheads or piers. India has four LCU Mk-III class ships and three LCU MK-IV ships. The first LCU Mk-IV of this class was commissioned in March 2017 as LCU L51 and the second ship of this class was inducted in August 2017 LCU L52.
The LCU Mark-IV ships have been developed in-house by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd. (GRSE) as per the request by the Indian Navy. The ships are designed for multipurpose amphibious operations that are jointly carried out by Indian Navy and Indian Army for ensuring maritime security of Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal, and Lakshadweep Islands in the Arabian Sea.