Sprint Like A Stallion...
...STING LIKE A BEE!!!
The Indian Navy inducted its latest Extra Fast Attack Craft (XFAC), pennant number T-82 on 09 October 2003. The T-82 is the combat proven Israeli Super Dvora Mk II (Dvora means Bee in Hebrew) design, built by Israel Aircraft Industries' Ramta Division. Two other ships are already in service, the T-80 and the T-81. Both belong to the Sea Horse Fast Attack Craft Squadron of the Indian Navy and with T-82, will come under the FOC-IN-C West's operating authority. This class of vessels has a crew of 2 officers and 12 sailors. The Commanding Officers of such ships are young Lieutenants who are given such a prestigious command and responsibility before even doing their Long Specialisation Courses. India has a long meandering coastline which presents its own challenge to its maritime security forces. Such a coastline has facilitated outlaws, smugglers and the like to infiltrate men, munitions and contraband in the past. To be truly effective in securing one's coast, a defending fleet needs the ability to mount constant surveillance as well as the wherewithal to respond rapidly and quickly with flexible precision. Also, such boats need to have a minimal draft for shallow water operations. The T-82 can be used as an effective platform for the insertion and extraction of small special forces teams as well as for intelligence gathering. This is facilitated by her small size and shape which is similar to that of a fishing trawler. The T-82 has been designed to be put to sea in the shortest possible time and respond to any threat observed in its area of operation. With it's top speed of 40+ knots permits it to intercept any target, most ships will be slower than the XFAC.
However, if an aggressor ship has a long lead on the XFAC, the FAC simply has to get into engagement range after planning a suitable interception profile and getting into an advantageous position to decimate the target itself or call upon its interoperable air and naval assets for a joint operation. Understandably such chases require the quality of persistent speed rather than a burst mode. In this feature, the XFAC can sustain speeds in excess of 40 knots for over 550 nautical miles. Her articulating surface drives provide her with the required balance at such high speeds. The T-82's punch consists of the proven Typhoon Weapon System from Rafael. This system, comprising of a 30mm gun, is stabilized to engage targets at high speeds and is remotely operated from a dedicated console at the bridge. An additional 20mm Oerlikon gun is mounted aft and two pedestal mounted 0.50 calibre machine guns complete the weapons fit. The T-82 is fully functional at night, being equipped with an advanced optical and thermal surveillance system and can reportedly pick up a human being at 5 miles on a pitch dark night! While the Goa Shipyard is building two more XFACs for the Indian Navy, the Navy's periodic review of its force levels suggested an immediate induction of one such boat. The Israelis readily offered to build one quickly and T-82 was built in their plant in the Negev Desert and brought to India by commercial freighter where she underwent her pre-commission trials. The ship's commissioning pennant was broken to the last bar of the National Anthem at 0918 hours on 09 October 2003. Vice Admiral Arun Prakash, the chief guest on the occasion then exhorted the ship's company to live up to the ethos of the Indian Navy. He told the CO, Lieutenant Sharad Aggarwal, that while he has been given charge of a small ship, it also happens to be the fastest in the Indian Navy and he should handle his command accordingly. He then unveiled the ship's plaque by remote control and this 'Stinger' became a part of the Indian Navy! Teen Jai To That!
Images © Kapil Chandni