The bedrock of overhauling activities of the Eastern Naval Command: INS Eksila

By Ms Sadaf Khan, Archive and Collection Associate, Maritime History Society

The requirement to create an indigenous marine gas turbine overhaul facility was realised in the Indian Navy during the early eighties. An idea was laid out to create a composite and self-contained gas turbine overhauling facility. This independent facility was to be operated by service personnel which would cater to contemporary Gas Turbines and the ones acquired in future as well. As the government sanctioned for the same in September 1984, the foundation stone was laid by Vice Admiral SC Chopra PVSM, AVSM, NM, the then Flag Officer Commanding–in–Chief, Eastern Naval Command on 25 Aug 1988. On 22 October 1991, the facility was established at Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh as the Marine Gas Turbine Overhaul Centre (MGTOC) and inaugurated by Admiral L Ramdas PVSM, AVSM, VrC, VSM, ADC, the then Chief of Naval Staff.1

On 26 August 2000, the establishment was named Eksila and commissioned as an independent naval establishment by the then Governor of Tamil Nadu Her Excellency Justice Ms. M. Fatima Beevi.2 The establishment of INS Eksila was a milestone in Indian Navy’s efforts towards AatmaNirbhar Bharat, a government of India initiative for a more self-reliant India.

The name of the unit Eksila was obtained from the sankritised name of the present-day city of Warangal called “Ekasila Nagaram“. The word Ekasila means one rock which, was the ancient capital of the Kakatiya Dynasty. The fort of Warangal was built during the reign of King Prataparudra Deva who ruled from 1289 to1323 AD.3

INS Eksila is distinguished for being the only naval establishment of its kind in India where uniformed personnel undertake capital repairs of the marine Gas Turbines powering their own naval ships. Since its inception, the establishment has put in joint efforts towards infrastructure augmentation, consolidation of expertise, self-reliance through indigenization and partnership with Indian industries in the field of Gas Turbine maintenance. It has optimized innovative measures to keep vintage equipment operational, judiciously used available resources to maximize the production capacity and sustained development of its infrastructure. Utilizing the management of its knowledge capital have been the forte of this establishment. INS Eksila has an aggregate experience of overhauling more than 70 gas turbine engines and generators (hence forth called as GT and GTG). Over the years it has been entrusted with building expertise for overhaul of gas turbine aggregates of the 1241 RE class, P-15/P-15A-class, and Talwar/Teg-class ships. INS Eksila also undertook intermediate level maintenance of M/s General Electric-make LM2500 GTs fitted on board the P-17-class ships.4

Through the years, the infrastructure and proficiency at Eksila have been built brick by brick, to keep pace with times, and meet the challenges of overhauling GT engines of all variants. A Chemical Bay, Auxiliaries and Support Services Bay, Gas Turbine Testing Bay, a modern Machine Shop, and non-destructive testing or NDT Section, a comprehensive Bearing Testing Lab, Standards Lab, a well-equipped Assembly Bay, customized containers and special vehicles for safe storage and transportation of overhauled engines are some of the vital assets at INS Eksila.5

INS Eksila has been a competent force for the Indian Navy in terms of self-reliance in maintenance. The Unit allows the Indian Navy to rely on its in-house infrastructure and skills and stand true to India’s principle of AatmaNirbhar Bharat. The pace at which technology has been advancing throughout the world, the organization has kept itself abreast of the same while assuring the nation of the operational reliability of its Navy. It is also interesting to note that INS Eksila has been the flag bearer of a greener environment. The CNS Trophy for Best Green Practice 2021 was awarded to INS Eksila in the industrial category.6 INS Eksila with its long and illustrious journey continues to fulfil its entrusted mandate to undertake capital repairs/overhaul of marine GTs and GTGs of the Indian Navy.

Endnotes

    1. Singh Anup, Blue Waters Ahoy! The Indian Navy 2001-2010, HarperCollins Publishers India, 2018. pp70-71
    2. Ibid pp70-71
    3. Talbot, Cynthia. Precolonial India in Practice: Society, Region, and Identity in Medieval Andhra. United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, 2001. pp184
    4. Singh Anup, Blue Waters Ahoy! The Indian Navy 2001-2010, HarperCollins Publishers India, 2018. pp70-71
    5. Ibid pp70-71
    6. “Navy Chief Presents Gallantry, Distinguished Service Awards | Kochi News – Times of India.” Accessed August 29, 2022. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/navy-chief-presents-gallantry-distinguished-service-awards/articleshow/91329086.cms.

 

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