Mumbai: Mahendragiri, the seventh and the last Stealth Frigate of Project 17A being built at the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited, was launched today at the shipyard here by Dr Sudesh Dhankhar, wife of Vice President of India, Jagdeep Dhankhar.
The warship, named after a mountain peak in Eastern Ghats located in the state of Orissa, is the seventh ship of the Project 17A Frigates. It is a technologically advanced warship and stands as a symbol of India’s determination to embrace its rich naval heritage while propelling itself towards a future of indigenous defence capabilities.
Project 17A Nilgiri-class warships ships are the follow-on class of the Project 17 (Shivalik Class) Frigates, with improved stealth features, advanced weapons and sensors and platform management systems. They have been designed in-house by the Indian Navy’s Warship Design Bureau, the pioneer organisation for all warship design activities. The design of Advanced Stealth Frigates also showcases the prowess of the Warship Design Bureau, in designing technologically advanced warships for the Indian Navy.
Aligning with the country’s commitment to ‘Aatma Nirbharata‘, a substantial 75% of the orders for equipment and systems of Project 17A ships have been ordered to indigenous firms, including Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). The seven frigates were under various stages of construction at MDL and also at Kolkata-based Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited (GRSE).
“This majestic warship is a remarkable symbol of our nation’s strength and maritime prowess. A testament to the unwavering commitment and indomitable spirit of the Indian Navy that has ever made us proud in all kinds of situations,” Vice-President Dhankhar said.
The launch of Mahendragiri is an apt testament to the progress India has made in building a self-reliant naval force. Dhankhar said the speed of manufacturing warships has improved ever since the new method of “integrated construction” has been adopted and this has yielded geometric results for the nation’s welfare.
With the launch, the Nation’s indigenous expertise and engineering capabilities received a major boost, reducing India’s dependence on foreign suppliers, promoting self-reliance and fostering a robust defence industrial base.
As Mahendragiri descended into the waters of the Arabian Sea, a wave of euphoria swept across the gathering. Dignitaries, Naval personnel, Shipbuilders, and spectators were united in their heartfelt applause, in admiration of the vessel and the team behind her creation. The Vice President of India was the Chief Guest for the event. The Governor of Mumbai, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Chief of the Naval Staff, senior ministers from the State Government, senior dignitaries and senior officers from the Ministry of Defence and Indian Navy, were among the several dignitaries who attended the launch ceremony.
It may be mentioned that the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited has played a pivotal role in contributing to our nation’s maritime capabilities. MDL has consistently demonstrated expertise and technological prowess, in the construction of warships and delivering vessels ranging from patrol boats to stealth frigates. MDL’s contributions have not only enhanced the country’s defence capabilities but have also played a significant role in bolstering indigenous manufacturing and self-reliance. Following the launch, ‘Mahendragiri’ will join its three sister ships at the Wet Basins of MDL, to progress with remaining outfitting activities and equipment trials, in the run-up to their delivery and commissioning.
During the event, the Vice President of India highlighted that the launch of Mahendragiri is a significant milestone in India’s maritime history and conveyed his profound satisfaction and heartfelt appreciation for the remarkable achievements of the Warship Design Bureau and other Naval Teams, for fulfilling the nation’s aspiration of self-reliance in warship building.
He also lauded the launches of five warships of the same class in about 15 months calling it “a feat that makes us all proud”.
He further highlighted that “Over 90% of India’s trade by volume and over 68% by value, moves through maritime routes at present…By 2047, Bharat will surely emerge as a global leader and a stabilizing force” he said.
Referring to INS Vikrant, the country’s first indigenous aircraft carrier commissioned just one year ago, Dhankhar said “Vikrant stands as a symbol of indigenous potential, indigenous skills and our ambitions to ride over high-tides.”
Talking about the upsurge in indigenous defence production crossing the milestone of one lakh crore in the Financial Year 2022-23, the Vice-President stressed that “India’s maritime strength is quintessential for our economic and strategic upsurge”. Praising the Government initiatives like the Innovations for Defence Excellence (i-DEX) scheme to involve Start-ups and setting of the Directorate of Indigenisation, he called them “impactful steps in the right direction”.
Citing the recent success of the Chandrayaan-3 moon mission, where the Tiranga is stamped on the Shiv-Shakti point, the Vice-President expressed hope that Mahendragiri, once commissioned, “will proudly fly the Tiranga across the oceans, as an ambassador of India’s maritime might”.
He also lauded MDL for its unwavering commitment and steadfast support to warship production and enhancement of the country’s defence capabilities. The shipyard effort has significantly enabled the Indian Navy to successfully execute its ship induction plan and emerge as a formidable force in the Indian Ocean Region. “The launch of the warship today carries the clear message that India will continue to invest in its maritime power. May this warship serve as a powerful testament to our resolve and commitment to national security, and our vision of a prosperous and secure future,” he said.
– global bihari bureau