Chairman and Managing Director, GRSE Rear Admiral VK Saxena, (Retd.) in his address said that GRSE has so far delivered 105 warships to the country’s Maritime Forces.
The first of the three Stealth Frigates under Project 17A ships `Himgiri’, being built at M/s Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited (GRSE), Kolkata made her first contact with the waters of Hoogly River at 1335 Hrs at the launch ceremony on Monday.
Despite the challenges posed by the ongoing global pandemic of COVID-19, the launch of the ship was done two months ahead of the schedule, which highlights the capability of the shipyard. With the Chinese naval power rapidly growing in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), these indigenously built multi-role P-17A ships will be playing a critical role in the ever-evolving international maritime scenario.
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The ship has got the name and crest of the second Frigate of the Leander Class of ships. This incidentally was launched 50 years ago in 1970.
What is the significance of the launch?
The launch symbolizes the birth of the ship as she makes her first contact with water and it is done in true maritime traditions — with the application of vermillion, breaking of coconut on the ship’s bow and the chanting of Vedic mantras.
After making its first contact with water, the ship will be sent for extensive trials and fittings of state of the art equipment before it gets delivered to the end-user the Indian Navy.
With a value of around Rs 19293 crore, the contract for the construction of three Stealth Frigates under Project 17A is the largest ever order awarded to the shipyard by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
More about P17A
These ships will be the most advanced state-of-the-art Guided Missile Frigates, 149 m long, with a displacement of approximately 6670 T and an advanced CODOG Propulsion system enabling speed of over 28 knots.
These complex weapon platforms will be equipped with the most powerful weapon & sensor package having the capability of neutralising threats in all three dimensions — Air, Surface & Sub-surface.
These Stealth Frigates are being built using Integrated Construction Methodology with enhanced pre-outfitting to enhance quality and reduce build periods. This is expected to help in enhancing the shipyard’s productivity for delivery of ship by August 2023.
It is based on the design prepared by the Directorate of Naval Design.
The construction is being done in two locations, Mumbai based MDL (four) and Kolkota based GRSE (three ships) concurrently.
As has been reported earlier, the MDL had laid the keel for the first Project 17A ship in December 2017 and the GRSE did it in Nov 2018 and has also involved more than 2100 MSMEs in this project.
An intelligent PDM PLM system is being developed to manage the project and aid in its life cycle management.
Italian Company M/s Fincantieri, is the Knowhow Provider for Technology Upgrade and Capability Enhancement in this project.
P17A ships are the first gas turbine propulsion and largest combat platforms ever built at GRSE, which has emerged as a leading shipyard having built over 100 ships.
More than 80 per cent of the material/ equipment has been acquired indigenously.
Details of the weapons onboard
There will be a mix of Weapon systems being sourced from Russia, Israel and some being locally manufactured in India.
There will be standard contemporary weapons that will help in achieving inter-operability with other Fleet Task Force ships. According to sources, the main weapon and sensor suite of P-17A ships will have BrahMos SSM, LRSAM (Forward & Aft configuration). Indications are that there will be MF STAR radar, indigenous Sonar, and Triple tube Heavy Torpedo launcher.
At the Shipyard today
In keeping with naval traditions Mrs Madhulika Rawat, spouse of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat – who was the Chief Guest, launched the ship to the chanting of invocations from the Atharva Veda.
Chairman and Managing Director, GRSE Rear Admiral VK Saxena, (Retd.) in his address said that GRSE has so far delivered 105 warships to the country’s Maritime Forces, epitomizing the “Atma Nirbhar Bharat” efforts in letter and spirit.
Others who were present at the ceremony included — Vice Admiral AK Jain, Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, Lt Gen Anil Chouhan, Army Commander, Eastern Command and other Senior Officials.
What did Gen Rawat say?
Expressing his appreciation of GRSE’s service to the nation, Gen Rawat said that he hopes the final delivery of the ship and the two subsequent ships of this project will remain etched as historic events, towards the country’s relentless efforts in achieving self-reliance.