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India launches guided missile destroyer INS Chennai

The newly launched Kolkata class warship built by Mazgaon Docks for the Indian Navy in Mumbai on Thursday.Photo PTI

MUMBAI (PTI): The Indian Navy added might to its warship fleet with Elizabeth Antony, the wife of Defence Minister A K Antony, launching INS Chennai, a guided missile destroyer, prior to its induction on Thursday.

INS Chennai, the third destroyer under Project 15 Alpha, has been built by Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL).

The majestic 163-metre long ship had a pontoon assisted launching, with hundreds of MDL workers and dignitaries, including Antony and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma, cheering as the ship was lowered into water here.

Chennai will be fitted with the indigenous supersonic BRAHMOS surface-to-surface missile system. The destroyer, propelled by four gas turbines, is designed to achieve speeds in excess of 30 knots.

The indigenously designed ship will have state-of-the-art weapons and sensors, stealth features, an advanced action information system, a comprehensive auxiliary control system, world class modular living spaces, sophisticated power distribution system and a host of other advanced features.

Antony said the launching of Chennai marks a major revolution in technology. "It is heartening that Mazagon Dock Limited has taken the lead in harnessing cutting edge technology in fortifying the maritime capabilities of the country," he said.

When commissioned into the Indian Navy in 2013, the destroyer would be the most potent vessel with modern weapons and sensors, along with its predecessors -- Kolkata and Kochi.

"The role of the Navy is continuously evolving and changing. As the Navy's mandate increases, it will have to arm itself with all kinds of vessels," Antony said.

Underlining the need to strengthen coastal and maritime security, the Defence Minister said that "after 26/11, we have to be more vigilant and beef up coastal security."

The BRAHMOS missile system enables the ship to engage shore based and naval surface targets at long ranges, making it a lethal platform for strike against enemy targets.

The ship's air defence capability, designed to counter the threat of enemy aircraft and anti-ship cruise missiles will revolve around the vertical launch, long range surface- to-air missile system which being co-developed by DRDO.

The MDL is currently constructing three Shivalik class stealth frigates and six Scorpene class submarines.

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