The eighth and last in the series of Mark-IV Landing Craft Utility (LCU) Class ships was launched at the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Ltd in Kolkata on 21 July 2017 . This was the 109th ship to be launched from the premier defence shipyard since it was turned into a PSU. The shipyard plans to deliver its 99th ship to the Navy. No other shipyard in the country has built so many ships.
This is the 20th launch in the last five years. The Mark-IV LCU, that was designed at GRSE, is the largest of its class in the world. It is 63 metres long and 11 metres wide with a displacement of 830 tonnes. It is designed for multipurpose amphibious operations that are jointly carried out by the Army and Navy in the Andamans and Lakshadweep. It can beach at distant islands to deploy tanks, guns and troops. It is also armed with two CRN-91 30 mm guns to provide artillery support during such operations.
According to him, the Kolkata shipyard is steeped in history. During World War II, nearly 4,000 ships docked there for repairs. This is more than any shipyard in the world handled during the war. “After modernisation, GRSE has turned into one of the best in the world. We can now build 14 ships at the same time. Our turnover for 2015-16 was Rs 1,700 crore. Due to our performance, the Navy has entrusted us with building stealth frigates under Project 17A.
Union minister of state (independent charge) for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy, who was chief guest at the programme, appreciated the skill levels of workers at GRSE. Our government has already started the process to improve the situation. We have also realised that not all people with skills get captured when such national surveys are conducted. We are building a mechanism to include everybody with skills in the data.