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Construction of Destroyer Surat and Frigate Udaygiri in advance stage, to be sea-launched next week


NEW DELHI: India’s bid to add maritime capability through indigenous means is bearing fruits as construction of two more frontline warships of Indian Navy, Surat, (Project 15B) Destroyer and Udaygiri, (Project 17A) Frigate will be launched concurrently at Mazgaon Docks Limited, Mumbai. Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister will be the Chief Guest for both the events.

Explaining the significance of the event an officer said “The ships will be launched into waters after the hull is completed and the machinery and major systems have been fitted into it while it is at dry dock.”

“The work will continue further and the next stage will be to put the ships to rigorous sea-trials to test its machinery and systems.” He added.

Informing about the warships, the Navy on Friday said, “The Project 15B class of ships are the next generation stealth guided missile destroyers of the Indian Navy being built at the Mazgaon Docks Ltd, Mumbai.”

‘Surat’ is the fourth ship of Project 15B Destroyers which heralds a significant makeover of the P15A (Kolkata Class) Destroyers and is named after the commercial capital of the state of Gujarat and also the second-largest commercial hub of western India after Mumbai, Navy said. 

The contract for the construction of four ships under Project-15B was signed in January 2011 at a project cost of about ₹29,643.74 crore. The final cost of the project is ₹35,000 crore. The four ships are christened after major cities from all four corners of the country  - Visakhapatnam, Mormugao, Imphal, and Surat. The remaining ships would be commissioned one per year from 2022 to 2024.

Apart from myriad indigenous equipment in the ‘Float’ and ‘Move’ categories, the destroyer is also installed with major indigenous weapons which include Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missiles (Bharat Electronics Limited, Bangalore), BrahMos Surface-to-Surface Missiles (BrahMos Aerospace), Indigenous Torpedo Tube Launchers (Larsen & Toubro), Anti-Submarine Indigenous Rocket Launchers (Larsen & Toubro) and 76mm Super Rapid Gun Mount (BHEL).

Surat city has a rich maritime & ship building history and vessels built at the city in the 16th and 18th centuries were known for their longevity (of more than 100 years). The ship Surat has been built using the Block construction methodology which involved hull construction at two different geographical locations and has been joined together at MDL, Mumbai. The first ship of this class was commissioned in 2021. The second and third ships have been launched and are at different stages of outfitting/ trials. 

Surat will be among the largest destroyers made in the country and has an overall length of 163 metre and displacement of over 7,400 tonne. Udaygiri will be around 142 metre with a displacement of 6,200 tonne.

The stealth Frigate Udaygiri, named after a mountain range in the state of Andhra Pradesh, is the third ship of Project 17A Frigates. It was approved in 2015 with a total Project cost of Rs 45,000cr at that time. These are follow on of the P17 Frigates (three ships of Shivalik Class) with improved stealth features, advanced weapons and sensors and platform management systems. Udaygiri is the reincarnation of erstwhile ‘Udaygiri’, the Leander Class ASW Frigate, which served the country over three decades from Feb 1976 to Aug 2007.

Talking about the numbers of frigates being manufactured under the P17A program, the Navy said, “a total of seven ships, with 04 at MDL and 03 at GRSE are under construction. Various novel concepts and technologies like Integrated Construction, Mega Block Outsourcing, Project Data Management, Project Lifecycle Management (PDM/PLM) etc have been adopted for the first time in indigenous Warship Design and Construction in this project.”

It may be recalled that the first two ships of P17A Project, were launched in 2019 and 2020 at MDL and GRSE respectively.  

The increased maritime activities of the Chinese PLA Navy in the Indian Ocean has been keenly watched by India. China has been the fastest growing navy of the world and has been able to manufacture combat platforms quite fast.

Speaking to the media in December 2021 Indian Navy Chief Admiral R. Hari Kumar had said that India was aware of the swift ship building by China which built 138 warships in the last ten years. " Our plans will factor in all the activities and deployments in the IOR. I want to assure you that the Indian Navy is confident of defending India's maritime interests.", he said.

Chief had added that 28 ships were commissioned into the Navy in the last seven years, all of which were built in India. Of the 39 ships and submarines under construction, 37 are being built in the country under the 'Make in India' initiative including Surat and Udaygiri.

Both 15B and P17A ships have been designed in-house by the Directorate of Naval Design (DND), which has been the fountainhead for all warship design activities of the Nation and during the building phase at the Shipyard, around 75% of the orders for equipment and systems have been placed on indigenous firms including MSMEs which is a true testament of AatmaNirbharta in the country.