More Destroyers and frigates needed For The Global Navy
For the first time two indigenously built major warships have been launched concurrently in India by Mazgaon Docks Ltd, Mumbai.
The first was a destroyer of Project 15B class of ships. These are the next-generation stealth guided-missile destroyers of the Indian Navy. INS SURAT is the fourth ship of Project 15B Destroyers which heralds a significant makeover of the P15A (Kolkata Class) Destroyers. It is named after the commercial capital of the state of Gujarat and also the second-largest commercial hub of western India after Mumbai. This city has a rich maritime & shipbuilding history and vessels built in the city in the 16th and 18th centuries were known for their longevity (of more than 100 years).
INS 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.
Another ship to be launched was INS UDAYGIRI. Named after a mountain range in the state of Andhra Pradesh, is the third ship of Project 17A Frigates. These follow 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 ASW Frigate, which saw numerous challenging operations in its illustrious service to the country spanning over three decades from 18 Feb 1976 to 24 Aug 2007.
Under the P17A program, 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.
A statement from the Indian Navy said that this is a landmark event in the history of indigenous warship building with Surat, a Project 15B destroyer, and Udaygiri, a Project 17A frigate.
Both 15B and P17A ships have been designed in-house by the Directorate of Naval Design (DND). it 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 testament to ‘Atmanirbharta’ in the country.
The Raksha Mantri described the warships as an “embodiment of Modi-government’s commitment to enhance the country’s maritime capability, with a focus on achieving ‘Atmanirbharta’ (self-reliance). According to India’s defence ministry, there are at present more than 50 ships and submarines in the making, and the Indian Navy comprises 150 ships and submarines.
The Indo-Pacific region is important for the economy of the whole world. India is a responsible maritime stakeholder in the region. India supports consensus-based principles and peaceful, open, rule-based and stable maritime order.
It is the primary objective of Indian Navy is to keep the Indo-Pacific open, safe and secure. For this the Navy needs some more destroyers and frigates. 8x destroyers are needed for each of the existing fleets i.e. Eastern and Western. Another two will be required for the third Carrier Battle Group. Thus a total of 18 destroyers are required in the foreseeable future.
Presently there are 10x destroyers in service ( three to retire soon )with 3x Project 15B destroyers about to join. Thus there is need to place orders for constriction of 4x destroyers each on Mazagaon Docks and Garden Reach simultaneously. All these must enter service by 2031.
Similarly there is need for a minimum of 24x Frigates for the Navy. That is 8x frigates for Western & Eastern Naval Command each, 3x frigates each for Southern Naval Flotilla and Andaman Naval Flottila and 2x frigates for the third Carrier Battle Group.
Presently we have 12x frigates in service and 11x frigates in the pipeline. So the requirement is to plan and order for 4x next generation frigates as replacement of BRAHMPUTRA class.