Kajal Gautam, Research Intern, Maritime History Society
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.
[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/