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F 20 Godavari Class Frigate

The lessons learnt in the 1971 Indo Pakistan War, the detailed discussions with Russia for the next series of Russian acquisitions and the progress made in the development of indigenous systems made it possible for the Naval Staff to consider major improvements in the combat capability of frigates. The Directorate of Combat Policy and Tactics suggested that the entire missile and gun package of the Soviet Nanuchka class missile corvette be installed in the frigates which would follow the VINDHYAGIRI, together with two Seaking anti submarine helicopters, the latest Indian APSOH Sonar, a mix of Soviet and Indian radars and Italian CAIO and EW systems. The Directorate of Marine Engineering suggested that steam propulsion be replaced by gas turbine propulsion.

The Naval Headquarters Technical Team which visited Canada in 1974 saw the Canadian 4100 ton Destroyer DDH - 280 which had two Seakings embarked. Naval Headquarters decided to try and embark two Seakings in the smaller Leander hull.

The major change which had to be implemented in the design, was the decision of the Naval staff to use Soviet weapons and fire control systems together with Western and Indian weapon systems and propulsion systems. With surface to surface missiles, surface to air missiles and two Seakings, it appeared to be a cost effective ship, but the Leander hull was in no position to take it. So a decision was taken to design a larger hull, using well established, conventional, steam turbine machinery and auxiliaries. The larger vessel would displace twenty percent more than the 3000 tons of the NILGIRI class frigate and would be about fourteen meters longer.

Early on, the Design Group decided that they would not change the proven steam turbine propulsion of the NILGIRI class frigates to gas turbines. Major investments had been made on facilities and tooling in Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for the manufacture of steam turbines and auxiliaries. It was felt that it would be prudent to amortise this investment over a larger number of vessels.

Serendipitously, with the same capacity of steam turbines as in NILGIRI, the new design ship would go faster, due to improved hydrodynamic conditions at maximum speed. There would however, be a small penalty of fuel consumption at cruising speeds.

Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) first laid the GODAVARI's keel on November 3, 1978. It was launched on May 15, 1980, and commissioned on December 10 1983. She fully met the specifications and exceeded all major performance requirements. On 24 December 2015 the Indian Navy decommissioned the country's first indigenously designed and built Godavari-class frigate, thirty-two-years its induction.

Project 16-A

The Godavari-class design became a basis for the Indian Navy's Brahmaputra (Project 16A)-class guided-missile frigates. The principal difference is that the platform of the newer ship includes SS-N-25 'Switchblade' surface-to-surface missiles in place of the SS-N-2 'Styx' series on the Godavari-class frigates. The Godavari Class Frigates were originally built by Mazagon Dock Ltd though the next series of three ships were built in Calcutta at GRSE.

CCPA decided in 1986 to start an alternate production line at GRSE by transfer of technology from MDL and approved construction of three frigates of Godavari Class at GRSE at a cost of Rs 360 crore in July 1986 Presuming two years for transfer of technology, the production was expected to start in 1988 and the frigates were to be delivered between 1993 and 1996. The Indian Navy ordered three more Godavaris in 1988 with the first being delivered in 2000.

The delay in delivery of the frigates was largely due to frequent changes in the design by the Navy and lack of proper planning. In the case of Project 16-A ships, General Arrangement Drawing was finalized only in September 1994. According to Naval HQ, no laid down norms were followed for design and no standard time for each stage of design was fixed. This was indicative of weakness in the design capability in Naval Design Organization.

An essential system, i.e. the propeller shafting developed by a firm under the supervision of Director of Quality Assurance (WP) for Project 16-A was not delivered as required before the launch of the first frigate, i.e. January 1994. Navy supplied the propeller shaft from its stock to GRSE, which was rusted and pitted. The new shaft received was found to have defects and could be fitted on the ship only in February 1996.

As a result of delays due to frequent changes in design etc., the estimated cost of Project 16-A frigates also rose by 387 per cent to Rs 1754.23 crore from the approved sum of Rs 360 crore.

In mid-2000 INS Brahmaputra, the latest guided-missile frigate of the Indian Navy arrived in Mumbai to join the Western Naval Command. This lead ship of the 'Brahmputra' class of ships was designed by Indian Navy's Directorate of Naval Design and built by M/s Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, Calcutta.

INS Brahmaputra was commissioned at M/s Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, Kolkata by the Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes on April 14, 2000. What makes her unique is the fact that she is not only capable of taking on the best but it is almost entirely Indian in design, construction, propulsion package, state-of-the-art sensor suite and in her deadly weapon package as well.

The new Brahmaputra is a proud bearer of the pennant number and crest of her predecessor, a one-horned Indian Rhinoceros, which lent Brahmaputra her sobriquet of the Raging Rhino. It was a milestone in the history of the Indian Armed Forces when these two illustrious units -Bengal Sappers and INS Brahmaputra decided to form a unique alliance. The aim of this affiliation is to act as a force multiplier within the Armed Forces by fostering greater harmony and understanding of each other's traditions, culture and combat potential. Capt Prem Nair, Commanding Officer INS Brahmaputra, signed the charter of affiliation along with Brig SN Mukherjee, Commandant, Bengal Engineer Group and Centre (BEG&C) Roorkee in the presence of Lt Gen Ravi Chadha, Colonel Commandant Bengal Sappers and Rear Admiral JS Bedi, Flag Officer Commanding, Western Fleet.

This 3600-ton, 440-ft long indigenous ship can sustain speed in excess of 30 knots and has been built with capability for extended 'blue-water' naval operations. The ship with extensive long-range sensors and weapons can tackle enemy units operating in all three mediums namely sub-surface, surface and air. With two multi-mission helicopters, sixteen Uran tactical surface-to-surface missiles, 'Sea-Eagle' air-to-surface missiles, 'Trishul' surface-to-air missile system, 76 mm super-rapid gun mount, four 30 mm guns capable of firing 6000 rounds per minute and helo and ship launched torpedoes, Brahmaputra is a force to reckon with in any scenario of modern naval warfare.

The ship also has modern electronic warfare capabilities and can also operate in an environment contaminated by nuclear, chemical or biological fall-out.

INS Brahmaputra, named after the mighty Brahmaputra, assumes prosperity and plenty like the sea when calm but creates havoc when roused to anger. She is the second frigate of the Indian Navy to bear this illustrious name. The first Brahmaputra was a modified Leopard class (British) frigate. Ordered in 1955, she was commissioned on March 28, 1958 to become the first major warship to be built in Great Britain for the Indian Navy, after independence. She rendered yeoman service to the nation for 29 years. She was decommissioned on June 30, 1986.

INS Betwa, the latest guided missile frigate built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata, was commissioned into the Indian Navy in Kolkata by the former Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Madhvendra Singh.

Betwa is the second of the series of the P-16A class built by GRSE. The ship, like her predecessor INS Brahmaputra, has been designed with a sophisticated indigenous weapon and sensor suite to enhance the Indian Navy's future combat capability. The commissioning of this ship reinforced the Navy's sustained commitment to indigenisation and reflected the technological strides made by the Indian ship building industry.

The ship was designed by the Directorate General Naval Design, Naval Headquarters and is yet another addition to the series of successful projects like the Delhi class destroyers, Godavari class frigates and the Kora class corvettes, which have gained worldwide recognition over the years. At present, the Design Organisation of the Navy is involved in design and production of five major projects including the Air Defence Ship, the P-17 stealth frigates, gas turbine frigates of P-15A and the ASW corvettes.

The name Betwa brings back nostalgic memories of the earlier Betwa which saw over 31 years of glorious service in the Indian Navy from 1960 to 1991, during which she took part in the Liberation of Goa in 1961, Indo-Pak conflict of 1971 and operation Cactus in Male in 1988. The first Betwa was a Leopard class frigate built in the UK. However, the new Betwa signifies the coming of age of the indigenous ship-building industry.

The delivery of the second frigate of this project by GRSE has once again confirmed the growing capability of GRSE in building advanced warships for the Indian Navy and its status as one of the leading shipyards in the country. The build quality and technological prowess of the Indian shipyards has been lauded the world over and is a matter of pride of the nation.

INS Beas, the latest guided missile frigate built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata was commissioned into Indian Navy in Kolkata by Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Arun Prakash, on 11 July 2005.

Beas, a 3600-ton warship, is densely packed with state-of-the-art weapons. The ship has an advanced computerised action information system for command and control of all weapons and sensors. The ship is propelled by two 15,000 BHP steam turbines and is capable of achieving speeds in excess of 30 knots.

Beas is the third of the series of the 'P-16A' class built by GRSE. The ship, like her predecessors INS Brahmaputra and INS Betwa, has been designed with a sophisticated indigenous weapon and sensor suite to enhance the Indian Navy's future combat capability. The commissioning of this ship reinforces Navy's sustained commitment to indigenisation and reflects the technological strides made by the Indian shipbuilding and support industry.

The ship has been designed by the Directorate General, Naval Design, Naval Headquarters and is yet another addition to the series of successful projects like the 'Delhi' class destroyers, 'Godavari' class frigates and the 'Kora' class corvettes which have gained worldwide recognition over the years. Majority of the weapon fire control systems, sonar, and navigational and communication suites onboard Beas has been supplied by public sector units like M/s BEL, ECIL, HAL and Keltron.

The name Beas brings back memories of its earlier incarnation which saw over 32 years of glorious service in Indian Navy from May 1960 to December 1992. During this period, Beas earned the unique distinction in Indian Naval history of having been in the thick of all war campaigns that the Indian Navy has been involved in, post-independence. The first Beas was a 'Leopard' class frigate built in the UK. The new Beas signifies the coming of age of the indigenous ship-building industry in the Indian Navy which aims to become a builder's navy.

DisplacementFull - 3850 - 4000
Length 126.5 m
Beam 14.5
Draft 4.5
Range 4500 miles @ 12 Knots
Speed 27 kts
Armament 4 x SS-N-2D styx SSM
1 x SA-N-4 Gecko SAM launcher or Trishul
2 x 57 mm (twin)
8 x 30 mm (4 twins)
6 x 324 mm (2 triple) tubes
Whitehead A 244S or Indian NST 58 torpedoes
Aircraft 2 x Sea king or 1 x Sea king and 1 xChetak
Crew 40 Officers
273 Enlisted

Name Number Homeport Builder Ordered Commissioned Decomm
Godavari F 20 Mazagon 10 Dec 1983 24 Dec 2015
Gomti F 21 Mazagon 16 Apr 1988
Ganga F 22 Mazagon 30 Dec 1985
Modified Godavari
Brahmaputra F 23 GRSE 14 Apr 2000
Beas F 24 GRSE 11 Jul 2005
Betwa F 25 GRSE 07 Jul 2004

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