Chai Bisket Brings You… A Beginner’s Guide To The Indian Navy!
I’m no expert by any means in this field, but having quite a keen interest in the defence forces(my dad was a National Gold Medallist in the NCC Naval Wing) I feel I should share what I’ve learnt with you guys.
So just how important, and awesome, is our Navy?
Since we got our Independence, our Naval forces have been more than just instrumental in guarding the nation, which is covered on three sides by water. They played a crucial role in the liberation of Goa from the Portugese in 1961. Then again in the 1971 Indo-Pakistan War, they blocked off any further Pak attacks by totally destroying several ships at Karachi Port in Operation Trident (mana Baahubali lo Trishula Vyuham la annattu). This feat is celebrated now as Navy Day. Quite deserving, we must admit. And to this day, they continue to defend our waters very effectively.
Coming to the ships themselves, most of the fleet we currently possess have been imported from Russia. While we also have our indigenous programs in place (a baby of which is the nuclear-powered INS Arihant), we still have to improve in areas like cutting on R&D time and costs. Let’s look at the different kinds of IN vessels that were on display at Vizag.
1. Aircraft Carriers : We have one Fleet Carrier in INS Vikramaditya and one Light Carrier in INS Viraat, which is going to be decommissioned and made into a tourism attraction soon. An aircraft carrier is basically a seagoing airbase, it allows a country to project air power outside of its own territory. In most cases it serves as the Capital Ship. It usually isn’t alone like this. Let’s zoom out a bit.
This is more like it! 😀 The INS Vikramaditya in its full glory, ladies and gentlepeople!
2. Attack Submarines : A submarine specifically designed for the purpose of attacking and sinking other submarines, surface combatants and “rogue” merchant vessels. They could be deployed in groups/alone or assigned to protect other ships (like aircraft carriers). India has 15 attack submarines out of which 14 are conventional diesel-electric ones and one is nuclear (INS Arihant), which is still undergoing trails and will be inducted shortly. Ex: INS Arihant
3. Destroyer : A fast, manoeuvrable, long-endurance warship, it is used to escort bigger ships (like aircraft Carriers) and engage in anti-submarine, anti-aircraft and anti-surface warfare, they are the heart of a modern naval battle. The name is said to have come from the term “torpedo boat destroyers”, used originally by the Japanese. We have 10 destroyers. Ex: INS Kolkata
4. Frigate : A warship intended to protect other warships and merchant marine ships, it can also be used in anti-submarine, anti-aircraft and anti-surface roles. It is used to protect amphibious expeditionary forces, replenishment groups and merchant convoys. Frigates are smaller than destroyers. India has 15 Frigates. Ex: INS Sahyadri
5. Corvette : A corvette is a highly fast, manoeuvrable, lightly armed warship. It is smaller than a Frigate. It usually considered the smallest vessel to be called a proper warship. Some corvettes may reach the size of a small frigate. India has 26 Corvettes. Ex: INS Kamorta
6. Patrol Vessel : A ship that looks much like a Corvette, they could almost be twins. But they are commonly found engaged in various border protection roles, including anti-smuggling and anti-piracy. They are also often called upon to participate in rescue operations, like the 26/11 attacks. They may be operated by either Navy or Coast Guard. India has 53 Patrol Vessels, with 15 more under Indian Coast Guard. Ex: INS Saryu
7. Amphibious Warfare Ships: These are used to deploy ground troops during an amphibious assault. Like if you wanna go to the enemy coast and start firing right away, these will come in handy. India has 10 Amphibious Warfare Ships. Ex: INS Jalashwa, meaning Hippopotamus (Probably the only vessels in our fleet to be built by the US).
8. Minesweeper: A minesweeper is a small naval warship designed to engage in mine-sweeping, it uses various mechanisms to counter the threat posed by naval mines and make sure waterways are maintained clear for safe shipping. Ex: Pondicherry-class minesweeper
9. Aircraft and Helicopters: The Indian Naval Air Arm has quite a few kickass aircraft in its fleet, like the MiG 29K, the Sea Harrier, and the Ilushyin Il-38. There are also a number of helicopters like the HAL Dhruv and Sikorsky Sea Kings which are used in rescue missions and Coast Guard activities. A squad of MiG-29s is shown here.
Other than these, we also have a few ships which do not directly engage in combat, like replenishment oilers, hospital ships, and research vessels.
So that was essentially about the different kinds of vessels and aircraft you saw in those “kallu abburapariche pradarsanalu”.
An interesting note here should concern the MARCOS, or the Marine Commando Force, who performed a series of orchestrated high altitude jumps during the IFR. They are one of the world’s most elite commando groups, expertly trained in everything from combat diving and counter-terrorism tactics, to martial arts and unconventional warfare. I couldn’t find a video of their performance, so maybe we should make do with this one.
Thanks for bearing with me through this rather long article. I’ve sourced the info from the world wide web, and my merchant navy cousin who knows stuff. 😛 In case you happen to come across a mistake, please let us know in the comments. Jai Hind! 🙂
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