The Indian Navy commissioned its seventh MK IV Landing Craft Utility (LCU) vessel, INLCU L57, on May 15. INLCU L57 has been indigenously designed and built by M/s Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata. The commissioning of INLCU L57 is yet another manifestation of the country’s indigenous design and ship building capability. The commissioning of INLCU L57 is yet another manifestation of the country’s indigenous design and ship building capability.
The low-profile ceremony, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, was held in Port Blair in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The ceremony was attended by Lt Gen PS Rajeshwar, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, ADC, Commanding-in-Chief of Andaman & Nicobar Command. The ship, commanded by Lieutenant Commander Harshvardhan Venugopal, has a complement of five officers. Based at the Andaman and Nicobar Command, these ships can be deployed for multirole activities like beaching operations, search and rescue, disaster relief operations, supply and replenishment and evacuation from distant islands.
Mk IV LCU class vessels are follow on class of Mk. III LCU operated by the Indian Navy. The ship is 63 metres long, overall beam of 11 metres, a hull draught of 2.2 metres and displaces around 830 tonnes. They are powered by two MTU 16V 4000 M53 marine diesel engines (each 1840 KWs). They are equipped with two 30mm CRN-91 mounted guns with a Bharat Electronics-built EON-51 electro-optic director. The LCU can carry up to 216 personnel and 145 tonnes of cargo. It is fitted with a hydraulic bow ramp.
The LCU has lift capacity for up to 216 personnel, including 160 fully equipped soldiers and 56 crew and 145 tonnes of military equipment. The vehicle lift capacity is one 65 ton main battle tank (MBT) like the Arjun or two 45 ton tanks like the T-72/80, or four 13.5 ton BMP infantry fighting vehicles (IFV). It is fitted with a hydraulic bow ramp which enables loading and unloading of combat equipment and vehicles on beaching. Ballast arrangement further ensures desired trim for smooth beaching operations.