The Indian Navy will induct two new Italian-built fleet tankers this year to boost its blue-water warfare and strategic reach capabilities.

The first tanker, INS Deepak, will be commissioned on 21 January while the second tanker, INS Shakti, will be inducted by July.

The two fleet tankers will allow destroyers, frigates and other warships to operate for prolonged periods on the high seas without returning to harbour for replenishment.

The 175m-long INS Deepak has a full-load displacement capacity of 27,500t, is equipped with four AK-630 guns and can cruise at a speed of 16kt.

The Indian Navy signed a €159.32m ($206.2m) contract with Fincantieri in 2008 for the construction of the tankers, according to the Times of India.

The fleet tankers will join the two older fleet tankers, INS Jyoti and INS Aditya, currently being operated by the navy.