Indian Navy Builds Carbon Fiber Warships

One of the largest navies in the world, the Indian Navy is composed of over 200 warships and 67,000 active personnel. They are considered to be the pride of our nation and are responsible for safeguarding our seas from all internal and external threats. To further upgrade their defense, the India Navy along with the help of Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd (GRSE), has built two anti-navy corvettes using carbon fiber composites from Sweden. Warships are traditionally always built using stainless steel materials but with the introduction of carbon fiber composite in the construction, the navy has built warships that are lighter, faster, and stealthier.

Carbon fiber is a polymer that is made of thin, strong, crystalline filaments of carbon and is used to strengthen materials.  It is five times stronger than steel and twice as stiff.  Let’s have a brief look at why carbon fiber was chosen by the navy to build the warships.

  • Lightweight: It is a low-density material with a very high strength to weight ratio. This not only makes it light but it also doesn’t get bogged down, unlike steel or aluminum. Due to this, the weight of ships has been lowered by about 100 tonnes.
  • Superior Design Flexibility: It can be easily molded and shaped in ways that traditional materials like steel cannot. This has proven to be beneficial for coming up with new innovative designs for the warships.
  • Corrosion Resistant: It is naturally resistant to oxidization. This makes it well suited for warships because they are constantly exposed to salt water or corrosive chemical agents.
  • Low Thermal Conductivity: It has low thermal conductivity, which will help make the warships heat-resistant. This would enhance the ship’s stealth and impede thermal visual detection.
  • Sound Reduction: Carbon fiber can easily absorb sound waves and reduce noise. This is a major advantage when the navy wants to retain its element of surprise.

Due to the numerous benefits, that carbon fiber has to offer, it has become a popular choice among many industries such as aerospace, military, and recreational applications. GRSE’s Chairman and Managing Director Rear Admiral (Retd) A K Verma has said that they are now on the lookout for companies who can make such types of composites in India and are also planning towards training people to do the same.

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