Project 16-A Brahmaputra Class
The indigenously designed and built Guided Missile Frigates of the Brahmaputra Class. The ships are 125 metres (about 400 feet) in length, displacing 3,600 tonnes and are capable of operating at extended ranges, with speeds up to 30 knots. They have state-of-the-art sensor suites and an impressive weapon package, including long range surface-to-surface missiles and anti-missile defence systems. Their combat capability is further augmented by the capability to embark two multi-mission capable Seaking helicopters.
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 percent to Rs 1754.23 crore from the approved sum of Rs 360 crore. As part of a goodwill visit to strengthen the bilateral relations between India and Iran, two Indian Naval Warships, INS Betwa and INS Beas entered Bandar-e-Abbas port 28 August 2015. During their five day stay in Iran, the ships undertook various professional interactions with their counterparts in the Iranian Navy, including exercises at sea. The visit would also include training and sports events between the two navies. This deployment would add another chapter to the cordial relations and defence cooperation between India and Iran
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