INS Jalashwa, the latest induction into the Indian Navy, arrived at Visakhapatnam on PM 12 Sep 07 after being commissioned at Norfolk, USA on 22 Jun 07. ‘Jalashwa’, (a Sanskrit name of the Hippopotamus), with its Motto ‘The Fearless Pioneers’, is an amphibious assault ship that can embark, transport and land various elements of an amphibious force to support operations ashore. This is the 1st ship to be transferred from the US besides being the 1st Landing Platform Dock (LPD) to be acquired by the Navy.
The second largest ship in the Navy’s inventory, INS Jalashwa is equipped with a Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM-8) along with Seaking helicopters, Radars and rapid firing guns to undertake amphibious operations, Maritime surveillance, Special operations, Search and Rescue, Medical support and also Humanitarian relief.
The specialty of this ship is the ‘Well Deck’ housing the LCM-8 which can be launched by flooding the ‘Well deck’ and operating the hinged gate at the rear end of the ship. The ship’s cargo space enhances the equipment carrying capability.
Unlike regular warships, this ship has a flight deck for helicopter operations from which four medium helicopters can operate simultaneously. This deck can also be used to operate vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft like the Sea Harrier, in special circumstances.
Since the ship is capable of embarking over 1000 troops, she is fully equipped with extensive medical facilities including four Operation Theatres, 12-bed ward, Laboratory and a Dental centre to ensure the health care of the embarked personnel.
INS Jalashwa is commanded by Captain BS Ahluwalia, a helicopter pilot and manned by a crew of about 27 Officers and 380 sailors. With a length of about 175 metres and width of 32 metres, the ship is capable of doing speeds of 20 Knots.
On arrival at Visakhapatnam, the ship was accorded a warm reception by senior officers of the Command and families of the crew. The Navy Band was in attendance. INS Jalashwa will now form part of the Eastern Fleet under the Eastern Naval Command.