INS Jalashwa’s mettle to be tested in naval exercise

May 9th, 2008 - 7:39 am ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 8 (IANS) In the first test of strength of INS Jalashwa, the first warship the Indian Navy has acquired from the US, the vessel will be pitted against the French Navy’s largest amphibious assault ship Mistral in the 10th bilateral naval war games starting Friday on the Eastern Sea Board. “France will be showcasing Mistral and it will be the first time the newly acquired INS Jalashwa will be participating in a bilateral exercise,” a navy spokesman said here Thursday.

INS Jalashwa has come under fire after five sailors were killed and three injured in an accident on it this February.

This is the first ship to be transferred from the US, besides being the first Landing Platform Dock (LPD) to be acquired by the Indian Navy.

INS Jalashwa is equipped with a Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM-8), as also six Sea King helicopters, radars and rapid firing guns to undertake maritime surveillance operations, special operations, search and rescue missions, and medical support and humanitarian relief operations.

Mistral, the 32,300-tonne warship, is capable of deploying 16 NH-90 medium helicopters. It also has reinforced forward pods to accommodate 30-tonne helicopters such as the CH-53E Super Stallion.

The warship is capable of ferrying a whole armed battalion with 13 heavy tanks and 70 vehicles and has four landing barges.

French Navy’s flotilla comprising of the Guided Missile Destroyer Dupleix and an embedded Royal Navy Frigate Westminster Thursday arrived in the Bay of Bengal to participate in the eight-day-long bilateral exercise - Varuna2008.

Amphibious landing will be an important component of the exercise as the Indian Navy has expressed interest in the design of the Ship Landing Dock.

“The Indian Navy will be represented by INS Jalashwa, guided-missile destroyer Ranjit, guided missile Corvette Kirch and the submarine Vagli,” the spokesman said.

This edition of the exercise will, in addition, provide an opportunity to build on the Indian Navy’s cooperative capability for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, he added.

France was part of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) held in New Delhi this year. Despite being a European country, France was invited for the symposium since some Indian Ocean islands, including the Reunion Island, are still part of France.

The Varuna series of joint exercises between the Indian and the French navies commenced in 2001 and have grown in scope and complexity over the years.

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