INS Sagardhwani

INS Sagardhwani at the International Fleet Review, 2001. Note the two cranes, painted in bright orange. Image © Mrityunjoy MazumdarINS Sagardhwani at sea. Note the large helictoper platform, front of the bridge. Image © Indian NavyAnother shot of INS Sagardhwani. Image © Mrityunjoy Mazumdar 

Vessel Type: Research Ship.

Name & Pennant Number with commission date:
INS Sagardhwani A74 (30 July 1994)

Displacement: 2050 tons full load.

Main Machinery: Two diesel engines with 3860 hp sustained. Also has two shafts and two auxiliary thrusters.

Maximum Speed: 16 knots.

Maximum Range: 6000 at 16 knots.

Complement: 80 sailors (10 officers) plus 16 scientists.

Radar: Navigation; One Racal Decca 1629 radar at I-band frequency.

Helicopters: One HAL Chetak.

Comments: INS Sagardhwani is a Marine Acoustic Research Ship (MARS) launched in May 1991. The hull and machinery are very similar to the Sandhayak Class survey vessels, but there are marked superstructure differences with the bridge positioned amidships and a helicopter platform forward. The vessel has been configured as a research vessel for the Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory, Kochi. The vessel is also based there. Aft there are two large cranes and a gantry for deploying and recovering research equipment.

There are a total of eight labs to permit conducting acoustic, geological, meteorological, chemical and physical oceanography. Most of the laboratories are acoustically isolated from the ship's structure. Among the first vessels in the Indian Navy with accommodations for female personnel. Carries 116 tons fresh water. The vessel is painted white except for the lift equipment and two rescue boats which are painted in orange. The vessel was employed in advanced torpedo trials and missile range support.

INS Nireekshak

A HAL Chetak hovers overhead INS Nireekshak. She serves in the submarine SAR role. Image © Indian Navy

Vessel Type: Diving Support Ship

Name & Pennant Number with commission date:
INS Nireekshak A15 (08 June 1989)

Displacement: 2160 tons full load.

Main Machinery: Two diesels with 4410 hp sustained, two shafts, cp props, two bow thrusters, two stern thrusters with 990 hp.

Maximum Speed: 12 knots.

Complement: 63 (incl. 15 officers).

Comments: Acquired on lease with an option for purchase, which was taken up in March 1995, and the vessel was formerly re-commissioned on 15 September 1995. The vessel was built for offshore support operations but has been modified for naval requirements. Two DSRVs (Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle), capable of taking 12 men to 300 meters, are carried together with two six-man recompression chambers and one three-man bell. A Kongsberg ADP-503 Mk.II dynamic positioning system is fitted. The vessel is used for submarine SAR (Search & Rescue).


Image © Mrityunjoy Mazumdar

The training ship Tir, enters the water for the first time, during her launch at Cochin SY. Image © MoD Annual Report, 1985-86 via Titash Sridharan

A spectacular bow shot of INS Tir at the International Fleet Review 2001. Image © Mrityunjoy Mazumdar

A detailed shot of INS Tir. Note the helo-landing assist system to the upper left of the picture and the armed sentry in the centre. Image © Mrityunjoy Mazumdar

An excellent shot of INS Tir, taken from astern. Location Unknown. Image © H&L Van Ginderen


Vessel Type: Training Ship.

Name & Pennant Number with commission date:
INS Tir A86 (21 February 1986)

Displacement: 3200 tons full load.

Main Machinery: Two diesel engines with 7072 hp sustained and two shafts.

Maximum Speed: 18 knots.

Maximum Range: 6000 at 12 knots.

Complement: 293 (incl. 35 officers) + 120 cadets.

Radar: Navigation; One Bharat/Racal Decca 1245 radar at I-band frequency.

Weapons: 2 Bofors 40mm/60 (twin) guns with launchers for illuminants and four saluting guns.

Countermeasures: ESM; One Telegon IV system at D/F-band frequency.

Helicopters: Platform for one HAL Chetak.

Comments: INS Tir is the first dedicated Cadet's Training Ship designed by the Indian Navy and constructed by Mazagon Dock Ltd., Mumbai. She is the senior ship of the First Training Squadron of the Indian Navy. The Ship's Crest has an eagle with an arrow; the eagle depicts majesty and might, while the arrow (in Hindi called Tir) signifies pursuit of professional competence. The vessel has been built to commercial standards. Has Decca collision avoidance plot and also a SATNAV (Satellite Navigation) system. Can carry up to 120 cadets and 20 instructors. A second vessel was ordered in May 1986, but may have been cancelled as an economy measure. Based at Kochi.

INS Viraat

Please scroll to the bottom to view images of INS Viraat

Vessel Type: Aircraft Carrier.

Name & Pennant Number with Commission Date:
INS Viraat R22 (former HMS Hermes
R12) - 20 May 1987.

Structure: The vessel has been fitted with a 12º ski jump to operate the Sea Harrier, a reinforced flight deck, 1.2 inches of armour over magazines and machinery spaces. The magazine capacity includes 80+ lightweight torpedoes. The vessel retains commando transport capability, for around 750 troops and carries four LCVP landing craft aft.

Displacement: 23,900 tons standard and 28,700 tons full load.

Dimensions: Length - 226.5 metres.
.................Beam - 48.78 metres.
.................Draught - 8.8 metres.

Main Machinery: Has four boilers with 400 psi. Also has two geared steam turbine engines with 76,000 shp and two shafts.

Maximum Speed: 28 knots.

Maximum Range: 6500 miles at 14 knots.

Complement: 1350 (incl. 143 Officers with the air group)

Air Group: Fleet Defense; Sea Harrier Frs Mk.51 (Capacity for 30)
Airborne Early Warning; Ka-31 Helix-B (By 2001)
..............ASW/ASV; Sea King Mk.42B and Ka-28 Helix-A
..............Cdo. Assault & Vertrep*; Sea King Mk.42C
*Vertical Replinshment

Radar: Air Search; One Bharat/Signaal RAWL 02 radar at C/D-band frequency.
.........Air/Surface Search;
One RAWS 08 radar at E-band frequency.
.........Navigation; Two Bharat Rashmi radars at I-band
.........Fire Control; Refer to 'Weapons' sub-section.
.........Tacan; FT 13-S/M

Sonar: One Graseby Type 184M hull-mounted sonar, with active search & attack capability from 6-9 khz.

Combat Data System: Italian Elmar communication suites have been fitted. CAAIS action data automation; Link 10. Has SATCOM (SATellite COMmunications) systems on-board.

Weapons: The Israeli Barak SAM system has been fitted, with fire control provided by an EL/M-2221 STGR radar. Two 40mm Bofors guns are used for air defense and were accompanied by a pair of 30mm AK-230 gatling guns (for protection against anti-ship missiles) till the latter was replaced by the Barak system. Fire control for the Bofors and AK-230 guns, which were installed in 1996, were provided by a pair of Plessey Type 904 radars at I/J-band frequency. One of these radars has since been replaced with the EL/M-2221 STGR radar.

Countermeasures: A Bharat Ajanta ESM is used for intercept purposes. Two Knebworth Corvus chaff launchers are used as decoys.

Comments: INS Viraat was originally commissioned in the Royal Navy as HMS Hermes on 18 November 1959, as the last of the Centaur Class aircraft carriers. She served as the flagship of the Royal Navy's taskforce in the 1982 Falklands conflict. She served with the Royal Navy until 12 April 1984 and was then stricken from active duty in 1985. On 24 April 1986, the Indian Navy purchased the vessel and gave it an extensive refit at the Davenport Dockyard, which gave it a life-extension refit of 10 years. This refit included new fire control equipment, navigation radars and deck landing aids. Boilers were converted to take distillate fuel and the ship was given improved NBC protection. The engine room was flooded in September 1993, which put the vessel out of service for several months. By 1995, the vessel was back in service and had a new search radar.

INS Viraat completed another life-extension refit  beginning in July 1999 and ending in April 2001, which is expected to extend her serviceability till 2010. This refit included upgrading propulsion systems, a package of sensors to sound emergency alerts, a modern communication system, a long-range surveillance radar, new weapon systems, new hangar fire curtains, a revamped lift system to reduce reaction time in the event of an attack and a new flood alarm system. The vessel underwent sea trials in December 2000 and finally returned to service in early June 2001 after nearly two years in refit. The vessel also took part in the International Fleet Review in Mumbai on 17 February 2001. The vessel had to be towed back to dry dock for another refit in mid-2003 and returned to service only in November 2004, during which the vessel was fitted with the Barak SAM.

The Press Trust of India and The Telegraph reported that INS Viraat is scheduled to go for a one year refurbishment to extend its life. Quoting Vice Admiral Jagjit Singh Bedi, the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Western Naval Command, "Virat has life in it and we will be carrying out a year-long refit starting early next year so that the ship is healthy till Gorshkov comes. It's machinery will be strengthened. It will be given a normal refit to last till Admiral Gorshkov arrives by the end of 2009 or early 2010."  Vice Admiral Bedi did indicate that no new military hardware, except a new air surveillance radar, will be installed aboard INS Viraat.

By mid August 2009, Viraat was floated in the dry docks at CSL upon completion of her latest life extension refit. She is expected to rejoin the Fleet in Sep 2009 and serve until 2015.  

INS Viraat, with her complement of personnel on deck, at Malta, 1987. Image © Indian Navy via Kapil Chandni The crew of INS Viraat proudly carries her name, as aptly shown here. Image © Indian Navy via Kapil Chandni Image © Mrityunjoy Mazumdar Image © Mrityunjoy Mazumdar INS Viraat with a complement of Sea Harriers, Sea Kings & HAL Chetaks. The Sea Harrier at extreme left is a T Mk.4(I) two-seat trainer variant (acquired from the U.K. in 2003) upgraded to the T Mk.60 standard. Image © US Navy

INS Viraat at the International Fleet Review, 2001. Units of the No.44 Ferry Boat Squadron are tied up alongside. Image © Mrityunjoy Mazumdar Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on the bridge of INS Viraat. Circa 1988. Image © Indian Navy via Kapil Chandni A key handing over ceremony on 28 January 1987, as the engineering department celebrated a milestone when the B Boiler room was flashed up. The person on right is Captain (later Vice Admiral) Vinod Pasricha. Image © Indian Navy via Kapil Chandni INS Viraat with her new electronic and radar equipment on-board. Image © Mrityunjoy Mazumdar INS Viraat lies docked in port at Kochi, Kerala. Circa 2003. A recent recipient of a life extension programme, the aircraft carrier is expected to stay with the Indian Navy till 2010. Image © Sanjay Simha

Posing for the camera, INS Viraat with her complement of Sea Harriers Mk.51s and Sea King Mk.42s on the deck. Image © Indian Navy via Kapil Chandni A bow shot of INS Viraat. A Sea King Mk.42 helicopter can be seen hovering in the background, about to land on deck. Image © Indian Navy via Kapil Chandni Staring down the very long flight deck of INS Viraat. Circa - 21 July 2005 at Changi Naval Base, Singapore. She and her taskforce were on a goodwill tour of the South East Asian region. Image © Ow Eng Tiong Amid the background sensor clutter of INS Rajput and INS Ranjit, the outline of the 40mm Bofors air defence gun looks barely noticeable. Circa - 21 July 2005 at Changi Naval Base, Singapore. Image © Ow Eng Tiong A line drawing of INS Viraat.

INS Matanga

INS Matanga at IFR 2001. She lies docked alongside a water tanker. Image © Mrityunjoy MazumdarINS Matanga. Image © Mrityunjoy Mazumdar 

Vessel Type: Ocean Tug.

Name & Pennant Number with commission dates:
INS Matanga A53; Laid Down - mid-70s, Launched - 29 October 1977, Commissioned - 02 April 1983.

Displacement: 1334 tons.

Dimensions: Length - 67.8 metres.
.................Beam - 12.3 metres.
.................Draft - 4 metres.

Maximum Speed: 15 knots.

Maximum Range: 4000 nautical miles.

Complement: 75 including 6 officers.

Weapons: Not Known.

Comments: INS Matanga, built and commissioned at Garden Reach Shipyard in Calcutta, can assist in diving operations and carries a RCC (Recompression Chamber), carry out salvage operations, conduct firefighting and render a limited amount of submarine rescue services.