A state-of-the-art guided missile stealth frigate was launched in Kolkata today and will soon join the fleet of Indian Navy. Called Himgiri, this is the first of the three Stealth Frigates ordered in 2015 at the cost of Rs 19,293 crore. The frigate was launched two months ahead of schedule, said shipbuilder GRSE, by Madhulika Rawat, wife of the Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat.
“Himgiri will provide a major boost to Indian Navy’s defence preparedness,” General Rawat said, congratulating GRSE and the Indian Navy for achieving this “milestone despite adverse effects of the Covid pandemic”.
Speaking to the media after the launch, General Rawat spoke on a debate over what the Navy needs more — aircraft carriers or submarines.
“Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Submarines have their separate place in the naval warfare and so does an aircraft carrier. I am in no way saying the Navy does not need its Air wing. Yes it needs an Air wing. But how to manage it and how to ensure the security and sanctity of our sea lines of communication we are thinking about,” he said.
General Rawat indicated a probable alternative to an aircraft carrier.
“I think you also need to look at our Island territories that we have in large numbers. If we can leverage our Island territories to our advantage, then we can balance out… this can be used as territories to launch naval strike aircraft or do we need an aircraft carrier. Once we have studied all that in detail we will take a call,” he said.
The Stealth Frigate Himgiri is 149 m long, with a displacement of approximately 6,670 tonnes and has an advanced CODOG Propulsion system enabling speed of over 28 knots.
“These complex weapon platforms are equipped with a powerful weapon & sensor package capable of neutralising threats in all three dimensions, Air, Surface & Sub-surface,” a GRSE statement said.
An Italian company, Fincantieri, is the knowhow provider for technology upgrade for the project.
For GRSE, the frigate is a prestige project and one of the biggest orders it has ever got from the Defence Minister. GRSE is also currently executing two more major projects of Indian Navy – the construction of four Survey Vessel Large ships and eight ASW SWC ships.
Speaking at the launch, CMD Rear Admiral VK Saxena (Retired) said GRSE has delivered 105 warships so far. It has orders for 15 warships for the Navy to be delivered by 2027.
Other military brass present at the launch included Eastern Naval Command Commander-in-Chief Vice Admiral AK Jain and Army Commander, Eastern Command Lieutenant-General Anil Chouhan.