The INS Kolkata, lead ship in the Kolkata-class stealth destroyers, was handed over to the Indian Navy on Thursday after extensive sea trials and tests, 11 years after the construction began in 2003 at the Mazgaon Docks Limited (MDL). The ships are the second group of three indigenously built stealth warships after the Shivalik-class boats, while the official commissioning ceremony is expected to take place in a month’s time.
The same ship had seen naval engineer Commander Kuntal Wadhwa lose his life after a prolonged exposure to CO2 gas on March 6, suspected to be caused by a malfunctioning fire fighting system. “The ship has finished construction with all user acceptance trials, sea trials and testing of the weapons systems completed. The ship will still be called Yard 701 but designated the INS Kolkata after the commissioning ceremony,” said Rear Admiral (retired) R.K. Shrawat, MDL’s chief managing director.
Most importantly, the naval version of the Brahmos cruise missile was also fired from the ship off the coast of Karwar about a month ago, to prove the boat’s and weapon handling system. “The purpose was to test the ship’s capability to withstand the missile, but not the missile itself,” said an MDL source. The main feature of the ship, however, according to naval officers, is the ‘multi-function radar’, the first of its kind in the country. “It is more in tune with modern naval warfare technologies than the stealth feature,” said an officer.
The Indian Navy can come back with technical complaints or suggesting modifications by availing the one-year guarantee period in the next 12 months, in the event of which Form D448 would be invoked. Sources, however, said that all technical issues were raised by the IN team, liaisoning with the MDL, during the construction phase itself.
Meanwhile, two other sister ships of the class, INS Kochi and INS Chennai are undergoing construction with the handing over to the IN slated to be in late 2014 and mid-2015 respectively.
* Notícia publicada a The Asian Age. Finalment la primera unitat de la classe Kolkata entrarà en servei. Serà interessant veure con encaixen en la nova doctrina naval de l'Índia: seran la peça central o un conplement dels nous portaavions? No és una qüestió menor.