India commissions Vikram-class OPV Vajra

According to information published by The Pioneer on March 24, 2021, Indian Coast Guard ship Vajra, the sixth offshore patrol vessel to enhance coastal security, was formally commissioned into service.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 6th Vikram-class Offshore Patrol Vessel Vajra (Picture source: Twittert account of Defence Decode)

At an event to mark the commissioning of the ship, Chief of Defence staff General Bipin Rawat formally unveiled a 'plaque' and the ship's name board 'Vajra' meaning 'Thunderbolt' at the Chennai Port Trust.

The ship was indigenously designed and built by Larsen and Toubro Ship building Ltd. Sixth in the series of seven offshore patrol vessels, Vajra is fitted with highly sophisticated navigation and communication systems.

The ship has a 30mm gun as main armament and equipped with 2 FCS controlled 12.7 mm SRCG (Stabilised Remote Controlled Gun) for enhanced fighting efficiency. Some of the hi-tech features of the vessel include -- an integrated bridge system, high power external fighting System, bow thruster and automated power management system.

The ship is designed to carry one twin engine helicopter with night flying capabilities and also four high speed boats, two rigid hull inflatable boats for taking up search and rescue, law enforcement and maritime patrolling.

A pollution response equipment to contain oil spills at sea is fitted in the ship, which is propelled by twin MTU 8000 series engines, capable of achieving 26 knots of top speed and endurance of 5,000 nautical miles.

Deputy inspector general Alex Thomas is the commanding officer of the ship, which would have 14 officers and 88 men. OPV Vajra would be based at Tuticorin under the operational control of coast guard eastern region.

The Vikram-class offshore patrol vessel is a series of seven offshore patrol vessels (OPV).

The class is 97 metres (318 ft 3 in) long, 15 metres (49 ft 3 in) wide, with a 3.6-metre (11 ft 10 in) draught and has a displacement of 2,140 tonnes. It is capable of maximum speed of 26 knots (48 km/h; 30 mph) with a range of 5,000 nautical miles (9,300 km; 5,800 mi) at a cruising speed of 12 to 14 knots (22 to 26 km/h; 14 to 16 mph). The class will be armed with a 30 mm (1.18 in) CRN 91 Naval Gun, two 12.7 mm (0.50 in) heavy machine guns with fire control system, a helicopter for various operational, surveillance, and search and rescue missions. It also has modern radar; navigation and communication systems; front propulsion pods providing high maneuverability. It has been indigenously designed and has undergone dual certification from the American Bureau of Shipping and Indian Register of Shipping. The ships would be tasked with the roles of policing maritime zones, control and surveillance, search and rescue, pollution response, anti-smuggling and anti-piracy in the economic zones of the country.