New Delhi: India's blue-water strategy adds some extra muscle on Friday when the Indian Navy inducts INS Deepak, a new fleet tanker into its fleet.
The tanker is part of a twin, 159 million euro order for tankers awarded to Italian ship designer and construction firm Finacantieri Cantieri Navali. Its sister ship, INS Shakti, will be inducted by the middle of the year, navy officials said here.
INS Deepak and Shakti join two older fleet tankers, INS Jyoti and INS Aditya, currently being operated by the navy.
Fleet tankers replenish fuel and stores on warships out on extended patrol. By allowing ships to patrol at great distances for home shores they extend the 'blue-water' capabilities of the navy and impart strategic reach to a country.
With a full-load displacement of 27,500 tonnes, the175-metre long INS Deepak will be able to carry 17,900 tonnes of cargo, including 15,250 tonnes of fuel. Equipped with four AK-630 guns, the tanker has an endurance of 10,000 nautical miles at a speed of 16 knots.
The Indian Navy is already embarked on a major modernisation programme and currently has over 40 warships on order with Indian shipyards. These include orders for six Scorpene submarines and an Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC).