On January 4, the Navy will induct its third landing ship INS Shardul, capable of carrying 11 main battle tanks, 10 army vehicles and 500 troops for amphibious operations and traveling at 15.8 knots to land forces directly on beaches. Slated to be commissioned from the naval base INS Kadamba at Karwar, INS Shardul will be the first ship to be commissioned from India's most modern and state-of-the-art operational base.
Breaking from its earlier practice of basing such transport ships on the eastern seaboard at Visakhapatanam, the Navy will base this ship on the Western seaboard for the first time. INS Shardul is the third landing ship capable of carrying tanks and adds to be the capabilities of INS Magar and INS Gharial acquired in 1987 and 1997 respectively.
Like the others, INS Shardul can also support amphibious operations, carry equipment, cargo, and troops. It can also accompany expeditionary force assaults on beaches. Unlike the others, it has helicopter landing facilities and can accommodate either the US-made Sea King MK42 or Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) built Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv.
The INS Shardul was built by Kolkata-based Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers and has successfully completed harbor acceptance trials (HATS) and sea acceptance trials (SATS) and will be the fifth ship based at INS Kadamba.