Eye on Pakistan, Army seeks to buy Fast Patrol Boats for Sir Creek area
The Indian Army is enhancing its coastal operational capabilities with the procurement of Landing Craft Assaults and Fast Patrol Boats to safeguard strategic regions, including Sir Creek and the Brahmaputra river basin
Months after the tensions between the forces of India and Pakistan brewed in the strategically important Sir Creek area, the Indian Army has issued two separate requests for information (RFI) for procurement of Landing Craft Assaults (LCA) and Fast Patrol Boats (FPB) to further strengthen its off coast operational capability along Sir Creek Area of Gujarat and Brahmaputra river basin, including the Sundarbans. Sources in the defence establishment told Asianet Newsable: "We intend to buy eight Landing Craft Assaults and six Fast Patrol Boats.
According to the RFI, the Landing Craft Assaults will be used for the transportation of vehicles and material, random boat patrol and limited search and rescue in the Sir Creek area, Brahmaputra River, Sunderban delta of West Bengal. The Fast Patrol Boats will be deployed for surveillance, patrolling and interception at sea and over water bodies, including the Sir Creek area.
Earlier this year, India’s Border Security Force and Pakistan Marines had tensions in the Sir Creek area after the adversary adopted an aggressive posture. Then, the BSF mobilised its resources in commensurate strength.
The Creek is a 98-km-long narrow strip of water between India and Pakistan in the marshy areas of Rann of Kutch and opens up into the Arabian Sea. The area not only has inhospitable weather and terrain but is also home to poisonous snakes.
According to the RFI, the LCA and FPB must be "designed to drive in and out of water bodies without the need for any jetty". They should be operable in water at minimal draughts, in unknown or varying terrain conditions and also at high speeds.
Landing Craft Assaults
According to the RFP, the LCA should be rugged and versatile, so as to facilitate seamless execution of operations such as patrolling, and fast attack/ interception, across a varying matrix of terrain and operating conditions.
The LCA should be designed to ensure the safety of the operator and reduce operator fatigue whilst achieving the standards for rugged military use. It needs to have a capacity of 35 personnel, including crew along with personnel, weapons and equipment.
It should have sailing endurance of eight hours at a speed of 14 knots with the capability of operating up to sea state 4.
Fast Patrol Boat
The RFP for the Fast Patrol Boat states that the boat shall possess good manoeuvrability up to sea state 4 at a maximum speed in full load condition. The boat shall be very stable and resistant to capsizing.
It should be rugged and versatile, so as to facilitate seamless execution of small team insertion, surveillance, reconnaissance and patrolling such as the operational role of a small team task force or MOTF (Mission Orienting Task Force) etc across a varying matrix of terrain and operating conditions.
The Fast Patrol Boats are required to operate at a speed of a maximum of 35 knots at sea state 2 with four persons on board, including crew (total payload of 500 kg i.e. personnel weight plus battle load).
It should be able to operate at max 29 knots at sea state-2 with eight people on board, including the crew at full load displacement (total payload of 1000Kg i.e. personnel weight plus battle load).
Integrated Surveillance and Targeting Systems
The Army has also put an RFI for the procurement of 118 Integrated Surveillance and Targeting Systems (ISAT-S) with a minimum of 60 per cent indigenous content. The surveillance drone and loitering munitions should be capable of being launched from altitudes up to 4500 metres (14500 ft) mean sea level. It should be capable of functioning using major navigation systems and even in a denied environment.