Sunday, November 27, 2016

INS Sumitra of the Indian Navy

Next up after the Otago I was hoping to jump on board the KRI Banda Aceh (a Makassar class Landing Platform Dock ship designed for the Indonesian Navy) or the RSS Resolution (an Endurance-class Landing Platform Dock ship from the Republic of Singapore Navy). Unfortunately the lines for the Banda Aceh were long, and the Resolution were huge (rumoured to be upto 3 hours long!).

Instead I headed further down and too a look at the INS Sumitra of the Indian Navy. The Sumitra is a  Saryu class patrol vessel, launched in 2010 and commissioned in 2014 making it a relatively new ship. Boarding the ship I was a little underwhelmed after visiting the Chunbuk and Otago as we saw relatively little of the interior, a couple of passageways, the hangar, the medical bay and that was it. On the positive side the line was relatively short and it turns out that thanks a little reading after the fact it is quite an interesting ship.
I didn't grab a decent bow on shot of the INS Sumitra so "thanks Google".
A view from the stern. The landing pad as been covered - it was a mightily sunny day so a break from the sun was welcome.
Another view from the stern, a little further along in the queue. The hanger door is partially open.
The midships area. Note the unit citation marking - presumably this was the Sumitra's efforts during Operation Raahat where it helped to rescue 350 Indian citizens stranded in Yemen.
On the ship now, looking into the hanger space. One (fairly minor) note that I found interesting. On the Otago the hanger was well lined with (presumably) heat reflective or fire retardant fabric whereas the Sumitra was just "clean".
A HAL Chetak helicopter parked up in the hanger. Walking past it I thought it had really jumped out of the 60's and was surprised to see such an old looking airframe.
Turns out the Chetak is a pretty iconic piece of history (at least in my books) as it is an Indian built (under licence) version of the Aérospatiale Alouette III. Looking back I wish I had paid more attention to it at the time.
After a brief trip down two passageways we found ourselves at the bow of the INS Sumitra, looking down on us was the bridge.
An OTO Melara 76mm SRGM (Super Rapid Gun Mount) up front.
Another view of the gun. Keen eyes and those with an excellent memory will notice that it is not the same turret mount found in the first picture? The Sumitra now has this very rounded turret exterior whereas it appears to have a more angled version when launched? From a brief Internet search it seems like they are the same gun but who knows?
This image, once again, stolen from Google shows the mounting system. It is a compact system designed for smaller ships and it's high rate of fire and availability of specialised ammunition make it well-suited to varied roles such as short-range anti-missile point defence, anti-aircraft, anti-surface, and ground support.
Member of the Sumtra's marines/boarding party. He was a popular lad with a queue of people lining up for photo opportunities. He appears to be armed with an INSAS (an abbreviation of Indian Small Arms System) Rifle. A locally produced AK/FN FAL cross-breed that is not a reliable as either of the rifles that inspired it.
One final shot from the bow of the INS Sumitra.
I wasn't sure what this little "turret" was so had to hit the digital books again. Turns out it is an AK-630, the Soviet/Russian designed version of the US Phalanx CIWS (Close In Weapons System). Designed to destroy incoming missiles and aircraft as well as other small "on water" targets, the INS Sumitra has a pair of these a six-barreled 30 mm rotary cannons. Google it, there are some cool videos!

After the Sumitra it was time to meet the family and head over to the Japanese ship, the JDS Takanami and one of the New Zealand ANZAC frigates, the HMNZS Te Mana. Little did we know it was also time for an hour long wait...

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