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India Navy to induct new fleet tanker on Friday

Italian shipyard Fincantieri Cantieri Navali has built two fleet tankers, INS Deepak and INS Shakti, for the Indian Navy.

NEW DELHI (PTI): Expanding its strategic reach, Indian Navy will induct a new Italy-made fleet tanker on Friday in its inventory boosting its blue-water capabilities.

The tanker, christened INS Deepak, is being inducted under a 159 million Euros contract for procuring two fleet tankers, of which the second one would be inducted by the middle of this year, Navy officials said here.

INS Deepak and Shakti have been built in Italy by European defence major Fincantieri Cantieri Navali and will join the two older fleet tankers, INS Jyoti and INS Aditya, being operated by Navy.

Fleet tankers help in extending the operational range of naval warships including destroyers, frigates and other warships to operate away from shores for longer periods without returning to harbour for replenishment.

With a full-load displacement of 27,500 tonnes, the 175-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 large ship has an endurance of 10,000 nautical miles at a speed of 16 knots.

Under its doctrine, the Navy has cleared its intent to develop a maritime force with capabilities to protect its interests and assets in its area of influence.

The Navy has embarked on a major modernisation programme as it has placed orders for over 40 warships with Indian shipyards, which include the six Scorpene submarines and the indigenous aircraft carrier.

Its biggest warship, aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, is also undergoing refit at a Russian shipyard and three more Talwar-class stealth frigates are being built in Russia.

The Navy is also working on a programme for acquiring six submarines under Project-75 India and also plans to procure Landing Platform Decks (LPDs) in near future.

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