The Indian Navy is set to induct the first of two Italian-made tanker ships, INS Deepak, into its fleet by the end of January 2011.

The tankers will be used to send supplies to its sailing warships instead of the warships needing to visit ports for replenishment.

The two 175m-long tankers have a displacement capacity of 27,500t at full load and propelled by two 10,000kW diesel engines and can cruise at a speed of 20kt.

The ships can carry fuel for four warships simultaneously and can accommodate 250 crew members and have the capacity to carry troops as well as 10t helicopters on its flight deck.

The second ship, INS Shakti, is currently in the final stages of trials and is scheduled for induction into the navy before the end of 2011.

Fincantieri, the Italian shipbuilder, had signed a contract with the navy to build two tankers in October 2008, according to the Times of India.