Old Soul in a New Body: The Story of INS Kiltan

Kajal Gautam, Research Intern, Maritime History Society

INS Kiltan

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/INS_Kiltan_(P30)#/media/File:INS_Kiltan_departs_Sihanoukville_Autonomous_Port_port.jpg

Indigenously built, INS Kiltan is one of the four Kamorta class Corvettes designed by Indian Navy’s in-house organisation, Directorate of Naval Design under Project 28. As a part of Project 28, INS Kiltan was built as an anti-submarine warfare corvette by Garden Reach Shipbuilders in Kolkata. The ship is named after a coral island that is a part of the Aminidivi archipelago which is located in the Lakshadweep and Minicoy group of islands. Launched on 26 March 2013, the ship was finally commissioned on 16th October 2017 by the Indian Navy in an impressive ceremony by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman[i].

Kiltan is India’s first major naval ship to contain a superstructure of carbon fibre composite material. This feature leads to a lower cost of maintenance while permitting more enhanced stealth features. The warship showcases the usage of advanced engineering materials and the significant improvement it has led to, as evident by its enhanced stability parameters and top speed. The vessel is 80% indigenous and equipped with cutting-edge, state of art weapons and systems, making it effective against chemical, biological and nuclear warfare conditions. The warship also hosts a variety of weaponry like the heavyweight torpedoes, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) rockets, 76 mm calibre Medium Range gun and two multi-barrel 30 mm guns as a close-in-weapon system (CIWS) with dedicated fire control systems and missile decoy rockets (Chaff). The ship also contains an integrated communication system and an advanced Electronic Warfare Support Measure system with the most advanced bow-mounted sonar and air surveillance radar Revathi[ii].

INS Kitlan is a part of the Eastern Naval Command and as such, acts as a fragment of the Bay of Bengal Naval Forces that make up the naval establishments on the east coast of India. The vessel has proved itself to be an important component in India’s strategic outreaches in the eastern waters, made evident by its involvement in a myriad of mapping operations and maritime exercises in East Asia. Quite recently, the warship was enshrined in SAGAR (Security and Growth for all in the Region) III as a part of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) initiative towards its eastern neighbours[iii].

Other than being a modern powerhouse on its own, INS Kiltan also shares a proud legacy with the former Arnala-class (Petya class) corvette of the same name, Kiltan (P79), which played an important part in Operation Trident as an anti-submarine corvette during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971.

INS Kitlan is regarded to be one of the most potent warships to be constructed in India. The vessel, and the Kamorta class of Corvettes as a whole, shows India’s quest of turning and developing its Navy into a self-sufficient sector as exhibited by the efforts of indigenization, by involving itself in the process of seamlessly transforming the armed the maritime branch from a Buyer’s Navy to a Builder’s Navy.

Endnotes:

[i] 7, Vinay KumarNEW DELHI:March, and Vinay Kumar. “Third Anti-Submarine Warfare Corvette Launched in Kolkata.” Return to frontpage, November 16, 2021. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/third-antisubmarine-warfare-corvette-launched-in-kolkata/article4551845.ece

[ii] Desk, Express Web. “What Is INS Kiltan?” The Indian Express, October 16, 2017.  https://indianexpress.com/article/what-is/what-is-ins-kiltan-indian-navy-4892606/

[iii] Gill, Don McLain. “How INS Kiltan Has Become the Strategic Flag-Bearer of India’s ACT East Policy.” The Print, July 9, 2021. https://theprint.in/opinion/how-ins-kiltan-has-become-the-strategic-flag-bearer-of-indias-act-east-policy/692769/

INS Dega: Quintessence of Might and Power

By Ms Bhavyashree GNS, Research Intern, Maritime History Society

   

Crest of INS Dega (L), INS Dega, Visakhapatnam (R)

INS Dega is a Naval Air Station of the Indian Navy in Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. Naval Aviation is one of the crucial elements which makes the use of manned air power in armed conflicts by a sea-based military force. The Naval Aviation wing of the Indian Navy plays a significant role in not only harnessing the naval capability, but also contributes in the comprehensive understanding of defence consciousness of the navy. Thus, the Naval Air Arm facilitates aspects like combat capability in areas that are beyond the range and jurisdiction of the land-based Air Force Aircraft. Being equipped with the provision of aircraft carrier-borne strikes, it is relatively easier to engineer accessibility against maritime targets, while also maintaining air defence of the fleet. The Wing also performs different roles of survey, examination, patrol, and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) by making use of a variety of manned and unmanned aircraft and helicopters which are shore and/ or ship-based.[i] Continue reading “INS Dega: Quintessence of Might and Power”

Royal Charter: The Beginning of a Saga

By Ms Sundari Khargonkar, Research Intern, Maritime History Society

Mumbai, (erstwhile Bombay) has been a treasure trove for several rulers whose influence has led to political changes in the region. In 1661, the then seven islands of Bombay were given as a gift to King Charles II of England on his marriage to the Portuguese Princess Infanta Catherine of Braganza. The British Crown then rented the islands to the English East India Company (EEIC) who significantly contributed to Bombay’s development. The blog throws light on the aftermath of the Royal Charter signed between the British Crown and EEIC on 27 March 16681. Continue reading “Royal Charter: The Beginning of a Saga”

Salt Politics: A Maritime Perspective

By Janhavi Vilas Lokegaonkar, Research Associate, Maritime History Society

Imagine a plate of delectable food in front of you that turns out to be an unpleasant experience on your palate due to inappropriate use or rather absence of salt! Even in our imagination, food without salt paints such a bland picture. That’s the power of salt. In the Indian independence struggle, salt had a significant role to play.

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Asserting the Importance of Maritime History and the Need for Maritime Perspectives in Indian Historical Narratives

By Janhavi Lokegaonkar, Research Associate, Maritime History Society

Maritime history is a broad, interdisciplinary theme while studying global history encompassing the multidimensional study of human interactions.  Arthur C. Clarke has captured the enormity of the maritime expanse as he has rightly put “How inappropriate to call this planet ‘Earth’, when it is clearly Ocean.”

Indians have been seafarers with a history of their maritime ventures that can be traced back to two to three millennia. There is substantial evidence to prove this. Indian Maritime History outlines the traditional themes developed around separate and isolated subjects like the history of maritime trade, ventures, of conquests, colonisation and culture, historical analysis, and discourse on naval warfare and on the economic affairs that encapsulates nautical traditions and practices that include (but are not limited to) shipbuilding, overseas trade, and commercial fishing.

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