VESSEL REVIEW | Vigraha – Long-range patrol vessel enters service with Indian Coast Guard

Photo: Indian Coast Guard
Photo: Indian Coast Guard

The Indian Coast Guard recently commissioned a new offshore patrol vessel (OPV) into service.

Named after the traditional Hindi term that denotes freedom from any kind of bondage, ICGS Vigraha is the final one of seven Vikram-class patrol vessels that were built by local shipyard Larsen and Toubro for the Indian Coast Guard under a contract awarded by the country's Ministry of Defence in 2015. The design of the Vikram-class OPVs, which are also the first vessels of their kind to be built entirely in India, was done in compliance to the class rules of both the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and the Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass).

The new OPV will be used on missions that include maritime law enforcement patrols, surveillance, search and rescue (SAR), limited oil spill response, firefighting, fisheries enforcement, and anti-piracy operations in the waters within India's exclusive economic zone, particularly in the offshore and coastal areas.

Vigraha has a length of 97 metres, a beam of 15 metres, a draught of 3.6 metres, and a displacement of 2,140 tonnes. The crew complement consists of 11 officers and 110 enlisted personnel.

The vessel can reach speeds of up to 26 knots while a cruising speed of 12 knots will yield a range of 5,000 nautical miles. Main power is in the form of twin diesel engines that each produce 9,100 kW while a bow thruster provides added manoeuvring power for berthing/unberthing and navigating in close quarters.

The flight deck is capable of accommodating a utility and SAR helicopter while onboard space is also available for four small rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) for use in at-sea interceptions and boardings. The armament consists of a locally-built CRN-91 30-millimetre naval gun and two 12.7-millimetre heavy machine guns mounted on stabilised remotely operated weapon stations.

The OPV's comprehensive suite of electronics includes locally built communications and navigation equipment, an integrated bridge management system similar to what is fitted on some of the larger frigates and destroyers of the Indian Navy, and an automated power management system to help ensure the optimum performance of the engines and thus allow for the proper scheduling of downtimes for their maintenance. A high-power external firefighting system is also available to expand the vessel's ability to respond to emergencies at sea.

Following its commissioning in late August 2021, Vigraha has been operating out of its homeport at Vishakapatnam in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The OPV's current area of operations encompasses India's eastern seaboard, a region that also includes the Bay of Bengal.

Type of vessel:Offshore patrol vessel
Classification:Indian Register of Shipping; American Bureau of Shipping
Owner:Indian Ministry of Defence
Operator:Indian Coast Guard
Builder:Larsen and Toubro, India
Length overall:97 metres
Beam:15 metres
Draught:3.6 metres
Displacement:2,140 tonnes
Main engines:2 x 9,100 kW
Maximum speed:26 knots
Cruising speed:12 knots
Range:5,000 nautical miles
Other electronics:Bridge management system; power management system
Armaments:CRN-91 naval gun, 30 mm; 2 x machine guns, each 12.7 mm
Tenders:4 x RIBs
Type of fuel:Diesel

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