Indian Navy Ships Cheetah, Guldar and Kumbhir decommissioned after 40 years of glorious service

Indian Navy Ships Cheetah, Guldar and Kumbhir were decommissioned on 12 Jan 2024 after rendering four decades of glorious service to the nation.

The decommissioning event was conducted at Port Blair in a traditional ceremony wherein the National Flag, the Naval Ensign and Decommissioning Pennants of the three ships were lowered for the last time, at sunset.

Noteworthy, Cheetah, Guldar and Kumbhir were built at Gdynia Shipyard, Poland as Polnocny class Landing Ships and were commissioned into the Indian Navy in 1984, 1985 and 1986 respectively, in presence of Shri S K Arora (Cheetah and Guldar) and Shri A K Das (Kumbhir) then Ambassadors of India to Poland.

The Commanding Officers of the three ships were Cdr V B Mishra, Lt Cdr SK Singh and Lt Cdr J Banerjee respectively.

During her initial years, Cheetah was based at Kochi and Chennai for brief periods, and Kumbhir and Guldar were based at Visakhapatnam.

The ships were subsequently re-based at Andaman and Nicobar Command, where they served till their decommissioning.

These ships were in active Naval service for nearly 40 years, and collectively traversed about 17 lakh nautical miles whilst being at sea for over 12,300 days.

As the amphibian platforms of the Andaman and Nicobar Command, these ships have conducted over 1300 beaching operations for landing of army troops ashore.

During their illustrious journeys, these ships participated in numerous maritime security missions and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations.

Notable amongst them are their role during Operation Aman as part of IPKF operations and Operation Tasha a joint operation carried out between Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard in May 1990.

This operation was basically to control smuggling of arms and ammunition and illegal immigration across Indian and Srilankan border and made stellar contributions in relief operations post 1997 cyclone off Sri Lanka and the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.

Indian Naval Ships Cheetah, Guldar and Kumbhir have left an indelible mark on the maritime landscape and their decommissioning marks the end of a significant chapter of the Indian Navy’s history.

Air Marshal Saju Balakrishnan, AVSM, VM, Commander-in-Chief Andaman and Nicobar Command (CINCAN), Vice Admiral Tarun Sobti, AVSM, VSM, Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, Flag Officers, former Commanding Officers and commissioning crew of the three ships attended the ceremonies at Port Blair.

The event was also unique since three warships of the same class were decommissioned simultaneously on a single day.