The Indian Navy’s modernization quest, under ‘Project-28’, to stealthily hunt and destroy lurking enemy submarines got further bolstered with the launch of the second indigenous anti-submarine warfare (ASW) corvette, Kadmatt, named after an island in the Lakshwadeep archipelago. It has been built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) at Kolkata.
Conforming to the centuries-old maritime tradition of ship launching by a lady, Mrs Mamatha M launched Kadmatt from the GRSE main yard in the presence of her husband, Minister of State for Defence, Dr MM Pallam Raju. Controller of Warship Production and Acquisition (CWP&A) of the Indian Navy, Vice Admiral NN Kumar and GRSE Chairman and Managing Director (CMD), Rear Admiral KC Sekhar were also present on the occasion.
GRSE is slated to launch four ASW corvettes for the Indian Navy costing nearly Rs 1,700 crores apiece. Kamorta, the first in the series, was launched by Mrs Mamatha on April 19, last year. Kamorta, after fitments, is expected to be delivered to the Indian Navy in June 2012 and Kadmatt in March 2013. The keel of the third ASW corvette, meanwhile, was laid in August last year. The remaining two ASW corvettes scheduled to float out next from GRSE yards are Kilfan and Kavaratti.
Dr Pallam Raju, in his address, expressed delight that 50 per cent of the total work on the frontline warship Kadmatt was completed prior to the launch as against 40 per cent for the first ASW ship Kamorta. “This is a record of sorts in the warship-building scenario,” he said. The on-schedule ‘build programme’ would ensure timely contractual deliveries adding to the might of the country in its projection as a blue water Navy of the region, he said.
Stating that Indian Navy and Coast Guard have a huge requirement of ships to be met without any time and cost overruns, Dr Raju emphasized that timely delivery of ‘quality ship’ was the need of the hour. "Modern shipbuilding technology and tools must be adopted to achieve this objective", he stated. Urging GRSE to put into practice effective mechanisms to meet challenges posed by the Indian private sector, Dr Raju said shipyards (defence) have to concentrate on implementation of time-tested quality practices, effective corporate strategy, establishment of reliable and stabilized vendors and, most importantly, training and up-gradation of its human resources.
GRSE, a category-I Mini Ratna DPSU (Defence Public Sector Undertaking since September 2006, has for the first time achieved a turnover of over Rs 1,000 crore in the last fiscal. With a healthy order-book position currently pegged at over Rs 10,000 crore, GRSE has also embarked on a major modernization drive for its infrastructural facilities at a cost of over Rs 530 crore to bolster its shipbuilding capabilities.
The modernization of the main yard includes construction of a 180 × 29 mtr dry dock with portable shelter and an additional 180 × 23 mtr inclined berth with portable shelter, module hall for assembly of pre-outfitted blocks upto 230 tons, laying of a 250 ton Goliath crane and a paint cell. Upon completion, the construction will double the existing building docks and treble the dry docks besides creation of a new slipway.
The ASW corvettes, deemed Kamorta class ships- with more than 80 per cent indigenous content and capable of fighting under NBC (nuclear, biological and chemical) environment, are designated as super-sophisticated frontline warships with stealth features. The 109-metre long and 12.8-metre wide ship with an approximate displacement capacity of 3,000 tons can achieve a maximum speed of 25 knots. The ship, powered by four 3888 KW diesel engines at 1,050 rpm, has an endurance to cover nearly 3,450 nautical miles at 18 knots and can carry a helicopter on board. Each ship can accommodate 17 officers and 106 sailors.
The anti-submarine warfare capability is largely achieved due to the low signature of radiated underwater noise. The ship having indigenous weapon and sensor suites is equipped with super-rapid gun mounting, anti-aircraft guns, torpedo launcher, rocket and chaff launchers. The ship fittings include early warning, navigation, fire control radars and undr-water sensors with integrated communication and electronic warfare systems.