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Project 15-A Kolkata DDGHM - Program

The Project 15A Kolkata class destroyers are follow-on of the legendary Project 15 Delhi class destroyers which entered service in the late 1990s. Conceived and designed by Indian Navys Directorate of Naval Design, the ships have been christened after major port cities of India viz. Kolkata, Kochi and Chennai. The keel of Kolkata was laid on 26 September 2003 and the ship was launched on 30 March 2006. The Project 15-A is about 90 percent indigenous by cost. And the design itself is 100 per cent Indian. The three Project 15-A Kolkata-class destroyers will each cost the navy Rs 3,800 crore (US $950 million), including the cost of long-term spare parts. Three 6,250-ton destroyers, fitted with the Aegis radar and fire control system, will set Australia back by Rs 32,000 crore (US $8 billion). At about Rs 11,000 crore per destroyer, that is almost three times the cost India is paying for its Kolkata-class destroyers.

The unique feature of this ship is the high level of indigenisation achieved with most of the systems onboard sourced from within the country which has generated a sound vendor base for future ships. Some of the major indigenised equipment/ systems onboard INS Kolkata include Combat Management System (CMS), Auxiliary Control System (ACS), Automatic Power Management System (APMS), Foldable Hangar Doors, Helo Traversing System and bow mounted HUMSA NG system.

More of these systems are now produced indigenously, but their delivery occasionally takes time, upsetting commissioning schedules. Overseas suppliers are not always prompt either. The Indian systems include the HUMSA-NG (Hull Mounted Sonar Array - new generation) and the Nagin active towed array sonar, jointly developed by the DRDO's Naval Science and Technology Laboratory (NSTL) in Visakhapatnam and Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) in Bangalore.

India produces torpedo mounts and heavy and lightweight electrically propelled torpedoes too, as also complete electronic systems and anti-ship warfare (ASW) rocket launchers. The country is also jointly producing with Russia the PJ-10 BrahMos. This supersonic anti-ship cruise missile is now fitted on all major naval platforms as it has become the Indian Navy's standard strike weapon. There have been times the BrahMos has needed to be retrofitted on ships after they have been launched, derailing commissioning schedules even further.

In September 2003 construction commenced on Project 15A, the Kolkata Class ships, the first of which was scheduled to enter service in 2010. By 2005 Mazagaon Dock Ltd [MDL] had started work on two Bangalore class destroyers and the work on third such ship was to begin in 2005. The first unit of the Bangalore class could be commissioned as early as 2008 if the funding stream continued unabated.

Project-15A experienced delays. The lead ship, Kolkata was launched in March 2006, with the commissioning scheduled for 2010. By 2007 Project-15A was going slow due to delay in finalisation of design data and Russian weapons and sensor systems to be used on board. Russia was also late in supplying equipment like shafting and propellers. Moreover, extensive design and production rework had to be done due to a large number of changes made after production work had commenced.

'Kolkata' is the first of three ships in the class under construction at Mazagon dock and is scheduled to join the Navy in 2010. The second and third ships will follow in 2011 and 2012, respectively. The first missile destroyer of Project-15A - 'Kolkata' was launched at Mazagon dock 30 March 2006. The ship was formally launched by Mrs Roopa Byce, wife of Vice Admiral Sangram Singh Byce, Flag Officer Commanding in Chief, Western Naval Command. Chief of the Army Staff General J J Singh and a number of senior Army and Naval officers were present on the occasion.

The subsequent two sister ships were yet to be named as of early 2008. While the keel of the second was laid in October 2005 and its launch due to take place in April 2008, the lack of berthing space has delayed it to sometime in 2009, with commissioning beyond 2011. The keel of the third was yet to be laid as of early 2008, though its launch and commissioning had been unrealistically announced for 2011 and 2012.

By early 2009 INS Kolkata, the first destroyer of Project 15-A, was being kitted out for its commissioning in 2010. MDL was fighting to deliver this Rs 11,000 crore project on time. Default by a Ukrainian shipyard in delivering the propellers that drive these warships and the shafting that delivers power from the engines to the propellers was holding back completion. The first Kolkata class destroyer was to be delivered in May 2010. The next two were scheduled for delivery at one year intervals, i.e. May 2011 and May 2012, respectively.

By August 2011 the major indigenous warship building projects of the Navy running behind schedule are Project-15A, Project-17 and Project-28. The cost escalation in these projects had been about 225% for Project-15A, about 260% for Project-17 and about 157% for Project-28. The main reasons contributing towards P-15A cost escalations were - delay in supply of warship building quality steel by Russia, escalation due to increase in expenditure towards services of Russian Specialists on account of inflation during the build period, impact of Wage revision due from October 2003 and finalization of cost of weapons and sensors.

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi commissioned INS Kolkata into the Indian Navy at a glittering ceremony, at the Naval Dockyard, in Mumbai on August 16, 2014. The Governor of Maharashtra, Shri K. Sankaranarayanan, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Prithviraj Chavan, the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs and Defence, Shri Arun Jaitley and other dignitaries were also present. On his arrival, the Prime Minister was received by Admiral RK Dhowan, Chief of the Naval Staff and accorded a 100-man Guard of Honour, before embarking the ship for the commissioning ceremony, which was conducted in accordance with the traditions of IN. The function was attended by a host of senior dignitaries, from both the civilian as well as naval community. The keel of Kolkata was laid on 26 September 2003 and the ship was launched on 30 March 2006.

The ship derives her name from the cultural capital city of India and state capital of Bengal Kolkata - 'The City of Joy'. The crest of the ship depicts the 'Howrah Bridge' in the background and a leaping 'Bengal Tiger' in the foreground, both symbolic of the city of Kolkata, riding above blue and white ocean waves. The crew of the ship abides by the Sanskrit motto on the crest Yudhay Sarvasannadh which means Always Prepared for Battle.

Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar commissioned INS Kochi, which is reportedly the largest warship ever built in the country, in Mumbai on 30 Seotember 2015. INS Kochi, the second of three Kolkata-class destroyers, was laid in October 2009. According to local media reports, it will become the tenth destroyer in the Indian combat fleet. The ship weighs almost 8,300 tons and is 535 feet long.

'We will develop a real blue ocean Navy. A Navy that can dominate the Indian Ocean Region, and while dominating it be considered friendly by its neighbors. We have already done so during my tenure itself, like [supplying] water to the Maldives and [rescuing] of our nationals along with the nationals of 22 other countries from Yemen without [any] damage to us,' Parrikar said in a speech during the commissioning.

The first Kolkata-class vessel, the INS Kolkata, was commissioned in India in August 2014.

INS Kochi was commissioned at Mumbai on on 30 Sep 2015. Conceived and designed by Indian Navy's Directorate of Naval Design, the P15A ships have been christened after major port cities of India; Kolkata, Kochi and Chennai. The Keel of Kochi was laid on 25 Oct 2005, and launched on 18 Sep 2009. Kochi is the second of the Kolkata class and is of the most potent amongst the surface combatants that have been constructed in India. INS Kochi derives her name from the vibrant port city of Kochi. This is a tribute to the citys distinct maritime character and culture, and symbolises the special bond between the Indian Navy and the city of Kochi. The ships crest depicts a sword and a shield together with a Snake Boat riding on the blue and white ocean waves, which symbolise the Malabar regions rich maritime heritage and martial traditions. The crew of the ship abides by the Sanskrit motto Jahi Shatrun Mahabaho which means Oh mighty armed one conquer the enemy.

On 21 November 2016 the Indian Navy added a sixth modern destroyer to its fleet that is based on Russian design. With three Delhi class destroyers already in service, Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar launched the third ship of the improved Kolkata class destroyers. Named INS Chennai, the ship has an overall length of 164 m with displacement of more than 7,500 tonnes. It has been built at Mazagon Dock, the assemblers of French Scorpene submarines. The Indian Navy's preparations for operations in a wider swathe of maritime domain remain on course with the commissioning of a sixth destroyer. The first three belong to the Delhi Class while the next three have more stealth features and slotted in Kolkata Class.

Honble Raksha Mantri Sh Manohar Parrikar, whilst addressing the gathering, termed the commissioning of INS Chennai, last of the Project 15 A class Destroyers, as a historic day for the Indian Navy as it adds another milestone in our relentless journey towards achieving self reliance in battle readiness. The ship represents a significant coming of age of our warship building capability and defence preparedness, said the Defence minister. He further stated that the Indian Navy, in addition to providing overall maritime security to our country, also plays a crucial role as the net security provider in our adjoining seas. In this regard, Shri Manohar Parrikar also stressed that the Navys growth and development must keep pace with the nations growth and maritime security needs.

Lauding the role played by the naval designers (DGND) and the ship builders i.e. M/s MDL Mumbai, the Raksha Mantri said with the induction of INS Chennai, a new benchmark has been achieved for our warship design and construction endeavours, with the sophistication of systems and equipment, and utilisation of advanced ship building techniques.

Admiral Sunil Lanba the Navy Chief said that commissioning of INS Chennai marks another milestone in the Navys quest for self-reliance as it signifies completion of the challenging Project P-15A and heralds a new era of advanced warships built indigenously by Indian shipyards. The Admiral also stated that indigenisation of platforms, weapons, sensors and equipment with participation of public as well as private sectors, will continue to remain a focus area of the Indian Navy, in line with the Make in India policy enunciated by the Prime Minister. He emphasized that the Roadmap for the Navys expansion and growth would continue to remain firmly anchored on Self-reliance and Indigenisation.

A unique feature of this ship is the high level of indigenisation incorporated in the production, accentuating our national objective of Make in India. Some of the major indigenised equipment / system onboard INS Chennai include Combat Management System, Rocket Launcher, Torpedo Tube Launcher, Automated Power Management System, Foldable Hangar Doors, Helo Traversing system, Auxiliary Control System and the Bow mounted SONAR.

Named after the iconic port city of Chennai, the ship has a complement of about 45 officers and 395 personnel. Enhancement of crew comfort has been a significant feature of INS Chennai, which has been ensured through ergonomically designed accommodation based on modular concepts.

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