Mumbai: Indian Navy’s stealth frigate Mahendragiri was launched in Mumbai on September 1. Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar’s wife Dr Sudesh Dhankhar launched the warship and the vice president was the chief guest at the event in Mumbai. The Indian Navy’s warship Mahendragiri has been developed by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL).
Mahendragiri is the seventh stealth frigate under the Indian Navy’s Project 17 A. President Droupadi Murmu launched Vindhyagiri, the sixth warship of Project 17A, at GRSE on August 17.
As Mahendragiri descended into the waters of Arabian Sea, a wave of euphoria swept across the gathering. Dignitaries, Naval personnel, Shipbuilders, and spectators were united in their heartfelt applause, in admiration of the vessel and the team behind her creation.
Vice President Dhankar was the Chief Guest for the event, Maharashtra Governor, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Chief of the Naval Staff, senior ministers from the State Government, senior dignitaries and senior officers from the Ministry of Defence and Indian Navy, were amongst the several dignitaries who attended the launch ceremony.
After the launch, VP Jagdeep Dhankhar said, “I am sure that Mahendragiri, once commissioned, will proudly fly the tiranga [national tricolour] across the oceans, as an ambassador of India’s maritime might. With a strong presence of over 10,000 women across the army, navy and air force, the Indian armed forces have made considerable strides in gender equality. The launch of Mahendragiri is a significant milestone in our maritime history.”
Mahendragiri is named after a mountain peak in the Eastern Ghats of Odisha. The warship stealth features, advanced weapons and sensors and platform management systems and is the last of the seven warships under Project17A. These warships are follow-ons of the Project 17 Class Frigates (Shivalik Class), with improved stealth features, advanced weapons and sensors and platform management systems. The Project 17A ships have been internally designed by the Indian Navy’s Warship Design Bureau, the foremost organisation responsible for all warship design endeavours, the Ministry of Defence said in a press release.
The newly christened Mahendragiri is a technologically advanced warship and stands as a symbol of India’s determination to embrace its rich naval heritage, while propelling itself towards a future of indigenous defence capabilities. Under the Project 17A program, a total of four ships by MDL and three ships by GRSE are under construction. The first six ships of the project have been launched so far by MDL and GRSE, between 2019-2023.
The Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) has played a pivotal role in contributing to nation’s maritime capabilities. MDL has consistently demonstrated expertise and technological prowess, in the construction of warships and delivering vessels ranging from patrol boats to stealth frigates. MDL’s contributions have not only enhanced country’s defence capabilities but has also played a significant role in bolstering indigenous manufacture and self-reliance.
‘Mahendragiri’ will join its three sister ships at the Wet Basins of MDL, to progress remaining outfitting activities and equipment trials, in the run up to their delivery and commissioning. With the launch, the Nation’s indigenous expertise and engineering capabilities receives a major boost, reducing India’s dependence on foreign suppliers, promoting self-reliance and fostering a robust defence industrial base. Economic development, employment generation, growth of MSMEs and ancillary industry in the country, are positive and these warship serve as a powerful testament of our resolve and commitment to national security, and our vision of a prosperous and secure future of the shipbuilding project.
Project 17A warships are currently in different stages of construction and are expected to be delivered to the navy from 2024-26. The warships have a displacement of 6,670 tonne. A warship’s launch marks a significant milestone in its construction and refers to the vessel entering the water for the first time. This launch comes at a time when self-reliance in defence is a top priority for the government, and when the power dynamics in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) are changing with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN) making concerted efforts to increase its footprint.
The shipyard’s effort has significantly enabled the Indian Navy to successfully execute its ship induction plan and emerge as a formidable force in the Indian Ocean Region. The launch of the warship carries the clear message that India will continue to invest in her maritime power.