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/

Iconography of Maritime Machinery in Ancient India

By Bhavyashree GNS, Research Intern, Maritime History Society

According to the Cambridge dictionary, the term ‘iconography’ refers to the use of images and symbols to represent ideas or the particular images and symbols used by a religious or political group. In simple words, iconography is concerned with the visual aspect of the study in regard to ideas, cultures, and the study of these. Iconography is considered as an important aspect as it makes use of various symbols, themes, and subject matter to convey meaning of the work.[1] Continue reading “Iconography of Maritime Machinery in Ancient India”

Three Stories of Sea Voyages from the Buddhist Jatakas

By Mr Dennard H D’Souza, Senior Research Associate, Maritime History Society

Stories act as a conduit through which the complexity of human expression can be transmitted through simple narratives. They are also used as a medium to project broad contours of metanarratives that can be barely reproduced through other modes of communication. India has a large repository of stories that fall in this genre of literature. At face value, they appear to be fantastical in their composition but beneath the surface, they tell a story which is embedded in the cultural, political and social milieu of the Indian past. Continue reading “Three Stories of Sea Voyages from the Buddhist Jatakas”