Indian Navy Warships Deployed To Deter Pirates In Arabian Sea, Gulf Of Aden

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January 12, 2024

New Delhi:
Stepping up its presence to show the flag and deter piracy and drone strikes, the Indian Navy has now deployed almost 10 frontline warships with marine commandos in the region stretching from the north and central Arabian Sea to the Gulf of Aden, the officials said on Friday.

"6-10 major indigenous Indian Navy warships, including sestroyers, frigates and offshore patrol vessels, are deployed in the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden with a special focus near the coast of Somalia to prevent piracy and drone attacks on merchant vessels," the navy officials said.

According to the officials, the Indian warships are keeping an eye on the situation to deter any incidents at sea.

Amid the recent spate of attacks on Indian merchant ships in the Arabian Sea, the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral R Hari Kumar, on Wednesday said that the Indian Navy was proactively deploying its fleet to keep pirates at bay.

Addressing media persons after unveiling the first indigenously manufactured Drishti 10 Starliner Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in Hyderabad on Wednesday, the Navy chief said, "Over the past 42 days, as many as 35 such attacks (approximately) have taken place, primarily targeting Israeli-owned vessels. However, no India-flagged vessel has been attacked so far."

"We are now, very proactively, deploying our units there to ensure that the pirates at kept at bay. If you look at the last 40-42 days, about 35 such attacks have taken place, largely on Israeli-owned shipping assets. No India-flagged vessel has been attacked so far," the chief of the Naval Staff said.

The Navy chief added that there have only been two incidents, so far, which prompted the marine warriors to conduct anti-piracy operations.

"Both incidents involved non-Indian-flagged vessels. In the second incident, an Indian crew was aboard the vessel, prompting the Navy to respond," he added.

"Anti-piracy operations were conducted in the wake of only two such incidents. In both cases, the vessels were not India-flagged. However, in the second incident, there were Indian crew members on board the ship because of which we had to respond. We got the necessary consent from the owners of the vessel and rescued the distressed crew," the chief of Naval Staff said.

"We have not yet been able to identify from where all these attacks are being directed. We have collected debris of drones collected from three ships and are analysing it," the Navy chief said.
 

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INS Visakhapatnam - MV Marlin Luanda

INS Sumitra - Somali Pirates
 
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Ready To Protect Ships From Houthi Missiles: Navy Chief Exclusive
The Navy, which is in the middle of its largest-ever deployment in the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea, has at least 12 warships deployed in the area, including its latest Visakhapatnam class destroyers.
New Delhi:

Indian Navy warships deployed off the coast of Yemen have been tracking the launch of anti-ship ballistic missiles and cruise missiles and stand ready to intercept them if required.

''We have been keeping track of these drones and missiles which are being launched. Our ships have very powerful and capable sensors helping us remain prepared in a combat zone. The deployed ships are very capable and potent, ready to respond if threatened," Admiral R Hari Kumar, the Navy Chief, has told NDTV in an exclusive interview.

The Navy, which is in the middle of its largest-ever deployment in the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea, has at least 12 warships deployed in the area, including its latest Visakhapatnam class destroyers, which can detect and engage incoming threats using Israeli-designed Barak 8 medium range surface to air missiles (MRSAM).

Captains of warships deployed in the area have been given robust rules of engagement and will launch both in self-defence and, if required, to protect merchant shipping in the area that may have been targeted. Houthi rebels have launched dozens on attacks on US flagged vessels or ships with any association with Israel. ''The orders are very clear. In case of being targeted, they will act in self-defense and protect both the cargo and the ships. However, so far, we've not had any such incidents. We have seen that the Houthis are largely carrying out these missile attacks.''

Significantly, the Navy is now veering around to the impression that MV Chem Pluto, a Monrovia-registered tanker bound for New Mangalore Port, was attacked by a combination of two drones in December last year.

The 12,200-tonne chemical tanker was sailing 320 km southwest of Veraval when it was struck by a drone which penetrated its hull, causing internal damage, a fire and power failure. The Navy believes that the drones were launched from Houthi-held area or by sympathisers of Houthi forces in Yemen.

''Our assessment is they came in pairs, one carrying a payload and the other carrying either an AI sensor or an IR sensor. We have yet to determine the type of sensor as when a drone gets damaged, all the parts cannot be recovered. It is definitely a kamikaze type of drone, escorted by one more, which gives the information. This is our understanding of it," he said.

Significantly, the Indian Navy, alive to the threat of both aerial and semi-submersible marine drones, has already started the process of equipping its ships with automated, quick-reaction gun systems with a high-rate of fire. These guns are designed to intercept incoming maritime drones at close ranges.

Earlier this week, video emerged of Ukrainian sea drones striking the large Russian amphibious ship Caesar Kukikov which subsequently sank. Another warship, the Ivanovets, was struck and sunk by sea drones about two weeks ago.

Yesterday, the Ministry of Defence announced the signing of a Rs.1,752 crore contract with Advanced Weapon Equipment India Ltd. (AWEIL), Kanpur, for the manufacture and supply of 463 made-in-India Stabilised Remote Control guns ''to accurately engage small targets that post a threat to ships in an asymmetric environment, both by day and night.''

''These are all weapons which are either nearly autonomous or automatic, which can detect and engage a target. They have a very high rate of fire, and they can be used at very close quarters. These weapons are now made in India. The technology was earlier brought to the country and they are now being manufactured in India. Their installation is already in progress on many ships,'' Admiral Kumar said.

The Indian Navy is also closely monitoring the movement of Chinese research vessels in the Indian Ocean, including the Xian Yang Hong 03, which was expected to dock in Male on February 8 at a time when Beijing is trying to step-up its presence in the Maldives -- a matter of diplomatic concern for New Delhi given China's growing influence in the region. While nothing stops Beijing from launching probes in international waters, the Navy is concerned that charting underwater regions ''may have military applications as well in terms of the ability to deploy submarines or operate submarines.''

In order to counter China's growing presence in the waters of the Indian Ocean, including its sale of advanced warships and submarines to Pakistan, the Indian Navy is looking closely at the induction of nuclear-powered fast attack submarines.

''We want to grow into a well-balanced force with aircraft carriers. On submarines, there is a 30-year submarine building plan which was approved in 1989. Since then, there have been some delays. But Project 75 is a part of this plan and will fit into this. Subsequently, out of the 24 submarines, we will have six nuclear attack submarines. We would like to make it ourselves. We have been learning it for some time, and are now quite confident of manufacturing it. This proposal has now been taken up and is currently under process. We are quite hopeful it will come through. These have long gestation periods. But we are quite confident of our capabilities, technology, understanding and the ability to not only build it but operate it as well,'' the Admiral said.

The Indian Navy presently operates two aircraft carriers, the home-grown INS Vikrant and the INS Vikramaditya, an older-Russia designed and built carrier which will eventually have to be replaced by a more modern platform.

The Navy chief says that he remains committed to this acquisition, particularly since China continues to build carriers at an alarming rate. ''While there is a school of thought that says aircraft carriers are history, if you see how many aircraft carriers are being built in various countries, China has got plans to build ten.''

In the meanwhile, the Navy remains focussed on new-generation Rafale-M fighters, to be deployed on the new carrier Vikrant to eventually replace its older Russian-built MiG-29K fighters which have had limited success.

The acquisition of Rafale-Ms, Admiral Kumar says, is under process. ''We are hopeful that by the middle or end of the year, once the contract is signed, 36 months from then is when the first aircraft is expected to be delivered,'' he said.


Eventually, though, the Navy is committed to a twin-engine variant of the Indian Tejas fighter which should be available for induction in the 2040s. ''We are aggressively taking forward the case for the Twin Engine Deck Based fighter (TEDBF), and that will become the mainstay of both the carriers over time,'' the Admiral said.