Defence Minister AK Antony on Wednesday commissioned a new landing ship tank (LST), INS Shardul at the naval base in Karwar, packing more punch for the force's amphibious assault capabilities. The ship would form an important auxilliary warship capable of transporting combat equipment for beaching operations.
Her military lift includes 10 main battle tanks, eight army vehicles and 500 troops.The ship has been built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE), which will deliver the second and third ships of the Shardul class by the end of this year.
The Shardul class has been based on the design of INS Magar and Gharial, which are also LSTs but of smaller size. GRSE Chairman and Managing Director Rear Admiral TS Ganeshan (retd) said substantial design changes have been affected in the Shardul class to suit fitment of major equipment and systems.
Amphbious vessels like Shardul can be configured and deployed to operate at various levels of conflict in diverse role due to large accommodation and storage space, ability to operate in shallow waters and capability of carrying vehicles, cargo and landing troops directly onto an unimproved shore.
Antony said the ship marked an important milestone in the navy's journey towards self-reliance. He said the ship-building industry should scale up infrastructure to cut down on construction time. Built in a little over four years, Shardul is the first ship to be commissioned at the Karwar naval base.