Four Fast Interception Craft (FIC) have arrived at Kochi last week. Presently they are in the process of being taken over from the ship builders. Southern Naval Command will get 12 more of these craft in the coming months. They will be deployed in Ezhimala and in the islands of Kavaratti, Minicoy, and Androth.
The FICs flying the Blue ensign signifying their auxiliary status will be manned by a crew of four. The craft will be under the operational control of Naval Officer in Charge (Kerala). Sagar Prahari Bal (SPB) – the force raised by the Navy for coastal defense- will operate the craft. Their responsibilities will include Naval Force Protection, seaward security of naval assets, and counter terrorism among others.
The FICs built at Solas Marine Lanka Private Limited, are highly capable vessels and can do speeds up to 45 Knots and have an endurance of 200 nautical miles at 15 Knots. They can carry a variety of armament from Heavy Machine Guns to Grenade Launchers. The upper deck canopies are bullet proof. The versatile vessels are fitted with modern navigational aids and communication equipment including AIS (Automatic Identification System) and LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device)- an anti piracy device. (Text & photos by Ministry of Defence)