‘Made in India’ warships: Is India ready to build for the global navy needs?

"After the successful launch of INS ‘Udaygiri änd INS ‘Surat’, there's no doubt we will do shipbuilding not only for India but also for the world."

India has launched two indigenous frontline warships in its naval fleet – Surat and Udaygiri.

Addressing the gathering at Mazagon Docks Limited, Mumbai, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that in the coming years’ INS Surat and INS Udaygiri would make India proud in the vast ocean.

“After the successful launch of INS ‘Udaygiri änd INS ‘Surat’, there’s no doubt we will do shipbuilding not only for India but also for the world. We will aim for not just Make-In-India but also for Make-for-World.”

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.

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The Project 15B class of ships are the next-generation stealth guided-missile destroyers of the Indian Navy being built at the Mazgaon Docks Ltd, Mumbai. MDL told the media that this is the first time that the two indigenously built warships have been launched concurrently.

Image source: INS Surat – Twitter.

‘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).

The ship 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. 

Image source: INS Udaygiri – Twitter.

‘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. 

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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.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh praised the Indian Navy for responsibly discharging its duties of keeping the Indo-Pacific region open, safe and secure.

“The Indo-Pacific region is important for the economy of the whole world. India is a responsible maritime stakeholder in the region. We support consensus-based principles and peaceful, open, rule-based and stable maritime order. Being an important country in this region, it is the primary objective of our Navy to keep the Indo-Pacific open, safe and secure.” 

Image source: Rajnath Singh – Twitter.

The Defence Minister also described the warships as an “embodiment of Modi-government’s commitment to enhance the country’s maritime capability, with a focus on achieving ‘Aatmanirbharta’ (self-reliance).

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.

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.