The Mazagaon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL)’s second Visakhapatnam Class-destroyer, with more than 60 per cent indigenization and increased stealth power, was launched ahead of its schedule here on Saturday, officials said.
The Guided Missile Destroyer ship of Project 15B was launched by chief guest Reena Lanba, wife of Admiral Sunil Lanba, the Chief of Naval Staff. The momentous event was attended by a large number of naval officers, sailors and MDL staff and workers.
Loud cheers and thunderous claps marked the launch as the warship smoothly slid into the Arabian Sea waters for the first time.
Named ‘Mormugao’, the hull of the 7,300-tonne, 163.2 metres long guided missile destroyer, which was constructed in a dry area, floated on water for the first time – which is a milestone event for any vessel.
The Project 15B missile destroyers are modern warships equipped with the latest weapons package, in continuation of the lineage of the highly successful Delhi and Kolkata Class ships.
Under the Project 15B, MDL will build a total of four destroyers, the first of which was Visakhapatnam, launched on April 20, 2015, followed by Mormugao. Other deliveries are scheduled between 2020-2024, said an official.
The warships can achieve a maximum speed of 31-32 knots and are equipped with surface-to-surface missiles, surface-to-air missiles, anti-submarine launchers, multi-mission radar for surveillance along with medium range air/surface surveillance radar and other advanced electronic warfare and decoys.
Fitted also with the Barak-8 long-range missiles, Mormugao has been named after the picturesque port in Goa, the home state of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
After Visakhapatnam and Mormugao, the next in the queue is ‘Paradip’ followed by another warship expected to be named after a coastal city of Gujarat.
Since 2010, MDL has delivered one major warship to the Indian Navy almost every year, starting with the high-end stealth frigate, INS Shivalik, and later INS Satpura and INS Sahyadri in the same class.
Then came the stealth destroyer INS Kolkata sporting a unique silhouette, followed by INS Kochi.
The third and last destroyer in that series, Chennai, was delivered in August this year and will be commissioned shortly.
During the same period two highly sophisticated MSVs were constructed and delivered to foreign clients as high-value export orders.
MDL is also building six Scorpene Class submarines under transfer of technology from France’s DCNS. The first in this class, Kalvari, is due for commissioning shortly, followed by a second launch later this year.
Detailed design of the futuristic stealth frigates, P17A, is currently in progress and work on it is expected to start early 2017.
This will be the first time MDL will use the integrated construction methodology by leveraging the new infrastructure created in the yard, marking a paradigm shift in the way warships will be built in India in the future.