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Delay mars main air defence weapon deployment on INS Kolkata

An illustrative model of P15 (A) Kolkata class destroyer. Photo: Indian Navy

NEW DELHI (PTI): The largest indigenously-built warship INS Kolkata, to be inducted into the Navy by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 16, will be commissioned without its main air defence weapon which protects the vessel from aerial attacks.

The Long Range-Surface to Air Missile (LR-SAM) is under development in a joint venture between India and Israel and is expected to complete its trials in September and would then be available for being deployed on board the warship INS Kolkata, Rear Admiral AB Singh told reporters here.

He said the 6,800-tonne warship will have close-in weapon systems and chaffes to provide protection along with its two main guns.

The LR-SAM is the main air defence weapon of the naval warships in future but the programme has been delayed due to technical glitches.

Navy officials said the four rear motors of the missile system have been sent to Israel for testing but have been stuck in transit in South Korea due to the on-going conflict in West Asia.

The motors have now been recalled and would be sent to Israel at a later date, they said.

The warship will also not have a towed array sonar as the DRDO is developing it indigenously and the first project trials failed, the Navy officials said.

In August 23, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley will also commission an indigenously built INS Kamorta anti-submarine warfare vessel, which has been built by the Kolkata-based Gardenreach Shipbuilders.

The INS Kolkata would be deployed in the Western Fleet under the Navy's Western Command whereas the INS Kamorta would be part of the fleet under the Vishakhapatnam-based Eastern Command.

On the cost escalation of the two projects, a senior Navy official said the INS Kolkata, which is the first of the three warships under the Project-15B, was sanctioned at Rs 3,051 crore and now the project cost is pegged at Rs 11,662 crore.

He said the cost of the project, the first-of-its-kind in the country, has escalated due to various reasons including the delay of four years.

The other two warships INS Chennai and INS Kochi would be ready for induction in the next 16 months.

The INS Kolkata is 60 per cent indigenous and has very good stealth capabilities and includes state-of-the-art surveillance and weapon systems.

The Navy officer said the cost of the Project-28 under which four ships such as INS Kamorta would be built, has also risen from the sanctioned Rs 3,051 crore and has been delayed for over two years.

He said the ship has 90 per cent indigenous content and all its weapons are also indigenous.


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