The 'Surat' and 'Udaygiri' warships have been designed in-house by the Directorate of Naval Design (DND) and built at the Mumbai-based MDL. In the coming days, India will not only cater to its needs in the arena of shipbuilding, but will also take care of the requirements of others.
|The Author is Former Director General of Information Systems and A Special Forces Veteran, Indian Army|
May 17, 2022, was a historic day for India when Defence Minister Rajnath Singh launched two indigenous warships ‘Surat’ and ‘Udaygiri’ at Mazagon Docks Limited in Mumbai in presence of the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R. Hari Kumar among others. A day earlier the Defence Minister had tweeted that he shall be in Mumbai to attend the landmark event in the history of indigenous warship building when two frontline Indian Navy warships - Surat, a Project 158 Destroyer & Udaygiri, a Project 17A Frigate, will be launched concurrently at MDL.
The 'Surat' and 'Udaygiri' warships have been designed in-house by the Directorate of Naval Design (DND) and built at the Mumbai-based MDL, the premiership and submarine building defence public sector undertaking (DPSU). This is the first time that two indigenously built warships have been launched concurrently at the MDL. Launch of these ships marks the commencement of the next phase involving extensive outfitting activities by the shipyard, readying these vessels for eventual delivery to the Navy.
The Defence Minister said that these warships are an embodiment of the government's unwavering commitment to enhance the country's maritime capability, with focus on achieving self-reliance
At the launch ceremony of the two warships, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that building of these two warships leaves no doubt that in the coming days, India will not only cater to its needs in the arena of shipbuilding, but will also take care of the requirements of others. He said, “The two warships will add might to the Indian Navy's arsenal and represent to the world India's strategic strength as well as the power of self-reliance.”
A true testament of #AatmaNirbharBharat.— SpokespersonNavy (@indiannavy) May 16, 2022
P15B & P17A ships are designed by #IndianNavy's Directorate of Naval Design (DND) - the fountainhead for all warship design activities of the Nation & 75% of eqpt & systems during building phase sourced indigenouslyhttps://t.co/G5YV6M9cVE https://t.co/EyZBogUg18
The Defence Minister further said that these warships are an embodiment of the government's unwavering commitment to enhance the country's maritime capability, with focus on achieving self-reliance, at a time when the world is witnessing disruption in global supply chain due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, adding, “The INS Udaygiri and INS Surat are shining examples of India's growing indigenous capability. The warships will be among the most technologically advanced missile carriers in the world that will cater to the present as well as future requirements.” Noting that Gujarat's Surat city is famous for diamonds, Rajnath said that in the coming days, the 'Surat' warship will prove to be a 'diamond' for the Indian Navy.
Talking of the Indo-Pacific region, Rajnath Singh said it is important for the economy of the whole world. He said, “India is a responsible maritime stakeholder in the region. We support consensus-based principles and peaceful, open, rule-based and stable maritime order. Being an important country in this region, it is the primary objective of our Navy to keep the Indo-Pacific open, safe and secure. If a country wants to safeguard its national interests, it should project its military prowess in areas far beyond the mainland. If a country has aspirations to become a regional or global power, it is necessary to develop a strong naval force. The government is making all efforts in this direction. We want to make a strong, secure and prosperous India, which is recognised as a global power.”
'Surat' is the fourth ship of Project 15B Destroyers, which heralds a significant makeover of the P15A (Kolkata Class) destroyers
The Defence Minister further said, “The commissioning of Vikrant will be a golden moment in India's defence history,” adding that the indigenous aircraft carrier 'Vikrant' is a major milestone in the Navy's path of "Atmanirbharta" (self-reliance), and expressed hope that this will increase the country's reach from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean.
Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R. Hari Kumar said that both the warships (Surat and Udaygiri) will become versatile and powerful tools to move towards this endeavour and support a larger national vision. He said, “They will also ensure safe, secure and prosperous global commons for all. "Nearly 75 per cent of the total cost of constructing these ships is being invested back in our economy," he said, adding that the Navy's thrust has been on self-reliance. To support the 'Make in India' initiative, 80 per cent AoNs (Acceptance of Necessity) on cost basis have been awarded to Indian vendors, amounting to investment of nearly 1,75,000 crore back into the Indian economy. Indigenous shipbuilding projects, such as these, are also catalysts for employment generation and skill development.”
The Navy has said that '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 Gujarat and also the second largest commercial hub of western India after Mumbai.
Project 15B class of ships is the Navy's next generation stealth guided missile destroyers being built at the MDL.
'Udaygiri' is the third ship of Project 17A Frigates that are a follow-on class of the P17 (Shivalik Class) Frigates with improved stealth features, advanced weapons, sensors and platform management systems
As for ‘Udaygiri’, named after a mountain range in Andhra Pradesh, it is the third ship of Project 17A Frigates. P17A Frigates are warships that are a follow-on class of the P17 (Shivalik Class) Frigates with improved stealth features, advanced weapons, sensors and platform management systems. Navy said, this new warship is the reincarnation of the erstwhile 'Udaygiri', the Leander Class ASW Frigate, which saw numerous challenging operations in its illustrious service to the country, spanning over three decades from February 1976 to August 2007.
Seven P17A Frigates are under various stages of construction at the MDL and Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE), according to the Navy.