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DECEMBER 2016 ISSUE

Force Magazine

Seaward Ho

INS Chennai is a milestone, but ship-building industry has miles to go before it can pat itself

Pravin Sawhney and Ghazala Wahab
 

The sun shone down, literally so, on Indian Navy’s newly-built destroyer INS Chennai. With the formal commissioning pushed back by nearly hour on the morning of November 21, the sun was in its full glory, reflecting the light back from the ship’s mast, by the time the defence minister Manohar Parrikar arrived to usher in the spanking new warship into the western naval command’s armoury.

Anchored in the naval dockyard, adjacent to the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT), where the gigantic German luxury cruise liner Genting Dream was anchored, the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd-built INS Chennai gleamed magnificently, despite being a bit dwarfed by the tall profile of the commercial liner rising above the celebratory buntings at the venue. A tad ironical this was. Given the security-mindedness of Indian defence establishment (and rightly so), such overweening presence of civilian vessels so close to naval assets was strange, However, even stranger were the objections of the naval personnel to unescorted journalists taking photograph of the ship from the safe distance of the jetty at a public event where media was invited!

Coming back to the object of attraction, INS Chennai, the last of Indian Navy’s Project-15A stealth guided-missile destroyers, benefits from the learning both the navy and MDL acquired during the building of its two predecessors, INS Kolkata and INS Kochi. Though of the same class, according to the navy, INS Chennai, the 26th frontline warship delivered by MDL, is not only far more modern than the earlier two ships, it also incorporates the maximum amount of indigenous content. To begin with, the steel itself is Indian, supplied by Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL). Until now, steel for warship building was being imported from Russia.

“INS Chennai has 60 per cent indigenous content,” Controller of Warship Production and Acquisition, Vice Admiral D.M. Deshpande told FORCE in an interaction a few days before the commissioning ceremony. This includes among other things the combat management system, gun, rocket launcher, torpedo tube launcher, automated power management system, foldable hangar doors, helo traversing system, auxiliary control system and the bow mounted Sonar.

With the displacement of 7,400 tonnes, 163metre length, 17.4metre breadth, INS Chennai is propelled by four gas turbines in a ‘Combined Gas and Gas (COGAG) configuration’ according it the speed of over 30 knots. In addition to the BRAHMOS cruise missile, the vessel is packed with a range of surface to surface and surface to air missiles.

INS

 
 
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