Udayavni Special

GRSE-built stealth frigate launched; Gen Rawat says historic moment


PTI, Dec 15, 2020, 11:12 AM IST

Kolkata: The first GRSE-built Project 17A stealth frigate ‘Himgiri,’ which will add to the might of the Indian Navy, was launched on Monday, with Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat describing it as a historic moment.

The CDS said that the new generation Project 17A ships with advanced stealth features, state-of-the-art weapons and sensor systems will be a major boost to Indian Navy’s mobility to undertake a variety of challenging tasks.

”I am fully confident that Himgiri and other such ships of the project will conquer the seas and bring glory to our nation,” he said at the launch of the ship.

He complimented the workforce at the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Limited here for the launch of the first of the three Project 17A warships within schedule despite the COVID-19 pandemic situation, terming it as a singular achievement.

”It is a historic day for the Indian Navy and for the armed forces as we gradually move forward to strengthening our operational preparedness,” he said.

General Rawat said that the mighty warship is a reincarnation of the earlier INS Himgiri, a Niligiri class frigate launched half a century ago in May 1970.

”We must be proud of our ability to innovate and invent and we must continue,” the CDS said, lauding the Indian shipbuilders for transforming the Indian Navy from a buyer to a builder.

Launched by his wife Madhulika Rawat, ‘Himgiri’ touched the water of the river Hooghly and the frigate will now undergo extended trials before it is delivered to the Indian Navy.

The CDS said that the Navy’s journey towards self-reliance began way back in the 1960s by setting up its own design organisation.

”The Directorate of Naval Design has designed over 19 classes of ships of which more than 90 ships have been built in the last 60 years,” he said.

General Rawat said that the Indian Navy has a preeminent role in guarding India’s economic, strategic and territorial interests.

He said that the government has promoted the Make in India policy to ensure that large defence contracts are executed by Indian forums with employment being generated within the country.

”We are proud that India belongs to an elite group of nations which is building complex warships and strategic submarines,” he said, adding that indigenisation is a key part of the Indian Navy’s acquisition of warships.

He said that all 24 vessels and submarines inducted in the past six years have been built in the country and 41 more vessels are being constructed at various shipyards across the country.

”I want to compliment and congratulate every member of GRSE right from the grass root workers to the supervisors up to the CMD who have toiled very hard in spite of COVID-19 conditions,” General Rawat said.

The P17A ships are the most advanced guided-missile frigates, each of which is 149 metres long, with a displacement of approximately 6,670 tonnes and a speed of 28 knots, according to an official.

The contract of Rs 19,294 crore for construction of three highly advanced stealth frigates under Project 17A is the largest ever order won by the GRSE, he said.

The contract was signed between the Ministry of Defence and the GRSE on February 20, 2015, and the first ship is expected to be handed over to the Navy in 2023 and the next two ships in 2024 and 2025 respectively, the official said.

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