Kolkata: The year hasn’t been too kind but promises to end with a bit of cheer for the city and West Bengal when the Navy’s state-of-the-art and most potent frigate till date touches water for the first time at the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE) on Monday. The chief guest for launching of the stealth frigate under Project 17A will be chief of defence staff Gen Bipin Rawat.
Its construction resulted in employment to thousands of workers during difficult times and orders to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises as well as other industry in eastern sector. More jobs will be created and orders placed in the three-odd years that it will take for the frigate to be outfitted.
“The order for the three stealth frigates at a cost of nearly Rs 19,289 crore is the biggest ever for GRSE. The ships are 149 metres long and have a displacement of 6,670 tonnes each. They will have the most advanced, state-of-the-art sensors and armaments on board. The ships will also have advanced stealth features. These frigates are among the best in the world and the whole country and West Bengal as well as Kolkata should be proud of this achievement. Despite having lost nearly 90-odd mandays due to the pandemic and breakages in supply chain, we will be launching the ship two months in advance. We hope to launch the second ship of this series in about 18 months from now,” GRSE CMD Rear Admiral V K Saxena (retd) told TOI in an exclusive interview on Thursday.
GRSE is also fast-tracking the acquisition of new-generation sensors and weapons systems so it may be ready for delivery by the second half of 2023. As per the contract drawn up with the Navy in February 2018, the first ship is to be delivered in 6.5 years.
“December is turning out to be a very busy month for us. Earlier this month, we laid the keel of the Navy’s second Survey Vessel (Large). Production for the first Anti-Submarine Warfare Shallow Water Craft (ASWSWC) will also commence in the next few days. In economic terms, we will certainly witness a recovery in Quarters 3 and 4 of 2020-21. Most importantly, we are happy to have contributed towards the generation of employment in the eastern sector during these difficult times,” the GRSE CMD said.