Home » Defence Minister Launches Two Indigenous Frontline Warships in Mumbai

Defence Minister Launches Two Indigenous Frontline Warships in Mumbai

by Raju Vernekar
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By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, May 18:

In a historic milestone, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh simultaneously launched two frontline warships of the Indian Navy-‘Surat’ and ‘Udaygiri’ at Mazagon Docks Limited (MDL) in South Mumbai on Tuesday. 
Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar, FOC-in-C, Western Naval Command (WNC), Vice Admiral Ajendra Bahadur Singh, Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant, Maharashtra Assembly Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis, Shiv Sena MLA Yamini Jadhav, former MLA Sachin Ahir, MDL CMD Vice Admiral (Retd) Narayan Prasad, other senior officers from the Indian Navy, Ministry of Defence and MDL were among the dignitaries present on the occasion. 
‘Surat’ is the fourth Guided Missile Destroyer of the P15B class. The warship is a significant makeover of the P15A (Kolkata Class) Destroyers. She is named after the commercial capital of Gujarat. 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.  
The ‘Udaygiri’ is the second Stealth Frigate in P17A class. She is named after a mountain range in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The ship is follow on of the P17 Frigates (Shivalik Class) with improved stealth features, advanced weapons and sensors, and platform management systems. It is the reincarnation of erstwhile ‘Udaygiri’, the Leander Class Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW) Frigate, which saw numerous challenging operations in its illustrious service to the country spanning over three decades from Feb 18, 1976, to Aug 24, 2007.  
“Surat” was launched by float launching method with a launch weight of approximately 3000 MT while “Udaygiri” was launched with a launch weight of approximately 3510 MT. Both warships have been designed in-house by the Directorate of Naval Design (DND) and built at MDL. 
In his address, Singh said that these 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. They are the shining examples of India’s growing indigenous capability and they will be among the most technologically advanced missile carriers in the world. In future, we will not only fulfill our own needs but will also meet the shipbuilding requirements of the world. We will soon realize Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Make in India, Make for the World’,” he added. 
Singh appreciated that the Indian Navy has always been at the forefront in ensuring self-reliance through the manufacturing of indigenous ships, submarines, etc. “Joining hands with initiatives like ‘Make in India’, the Navy has given 76% Acceptance of Necessity (AON), and 66% cost-basis contracts to Indian vendors in 2014, and indigenization of about 90% Naval ammunition has taken place. In addition, over two-thirds of the Navy’s Modernisation budget was spent on indigenous procurement in the last five financial years. Of the 41 ships and submarines ordered by the Navy, 39 are from Indian shipyards. This is a testament to the Navy’s commitment to achieving ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliance India), he added. 
He also praised the Indian Navy for playing a crucial role in carrying forward the Government’s policies such as Act-East, besides strengthening relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) countries. He recalled his recent visit to the Headquarters of United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) in Hawaii and  said that “ they expressed their willingness to work with India, which symbolizes the competence of the Indian Armed Forces, especially the commendable work being carried out by the Indian Navy’. 
Singh made special mention of Indigenous Aircraft Carrier ‘INS Vikrant’, terming it as a major milestone in the Indian Navy’s path of ‘Aatmanirbharta’. He hoped that the carrier will increase India’s reach from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean. The commissioning of ‘INS Vikrant’ will be a golden moment in the Indian defence history, he added. 
Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar in his speech appreciated the role of the Director of Naval Design and MDL staff dedicatedly involved in the production right from laying the keel of a ship to its completion. The naval ships worth over Rs 1.75 lakh crore are in the pipeline and the Indian Navy is at the forefront of defence production and has also been maintaining liaison with an allied group of nations.   
In keeping with the Naval traditions, President NWWA (Western Region) Smt Charu Singh (spouse of Vice Admiral Ajendra Bhadur Singh) and Smt Jaishree Prasad (spouse of MDL CMD Vice Admiral (Retd) Narayan Prasad) blessed and named the ships ‘Surat’ and ‘Udaygiri’ respectively. 
The launching was carried out in tandem with the rising and receding tides. The DND and MDL teams have once again demonstrated their capabilities for designing and building quality warships. This launch also marks the commencement of the next phase involving extensive outfitting activities by the Shipyards readying these ships for delivery.

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