Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today Monday commissioned the indigenously-built anti-submarine warfare (ASW) stealth corvette INS Kiltan at the Eastern Naval Command in Visakhapatnam.
This is the third of four indigenously built ASW stealth corvettes under Project 28 (Kamorta class) to be inducted into the Indian Navy. The earlier ones were the Shivalik-class and Kolkata-class ships INS Kamorta and INS Kadmatt.
Indigenously designed by the Indian Navy's in-house organisation, Directorate of Naval Design and built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata, the Kiltan has a number of weapons and sensors integrated to provide a Common Operational Picture (COP), an official release said.
The Kiltan is India's first major warship to have a superstructure of carbon fibre composite, resulting in improved stealth features, lower top weight and lower maintenance costs, it said.
Indian Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Naval Command H S Bisht and other senior officers attended the event at the Naval Dockyard in Visakhapatnam.
''INS Kiltan strengthens our defence system and will be a shining armour in our 'Make in India' programme as it is totally built here,'' Sitharaman said on the occasion.
However, experts point out that the term 'indigenous' in the Indian context has to be taken with a pinch of salt, since all the critical navigation and weapons systems are likely to be imported.
INS Kiltan is also the first major Indian warship to have undertaken sea trials of all major weapons and sensors as a pilot project and is ready to be operationally deployed on the day of joining the Indian Navy, the release said.
In the future, it would also be installed with a short range surface-to-air missile (SAM) system and carry an integral ASW helicopter.
The ship hosts a cutting-edge weapons and sensors suite which includes heavyweight torpedoes, ASW rockets, 76 mm calibre Medium Range gun and two multi-barrel 30 mm guns as close-in-weapon system (CIWS) with dedicated fire control systems, missile decoy rockets (Chaff), advanced Electronic Support Measure system, most advanced bow-mounted sonar and air surveillance radar Revathi.
The ship derives its name from one of the islands in Aminidivi group of the strategically located Lakshadweep and Minicoy group of islands.
The ship also boasts of the proud legacy of the erstwhile Petya-class ship of same name 'Kiltan (P79)' built in the USSR, which had actively participated as Task Force Commander in 'Operation Trident' during the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war, the statement added.
With a displacement of 3500 tonnes, the ship spans 109 meters in length and 14 meters at the beam and is propelled by four diesel engines to achieve speeds of over 25 knots with an endurance of 3450 nautical miles.
The installed propulsion and auxiliary systems provides very low radiated underwater noise feature, required for anti-submarine warfare. Enhanced stealth features have been achieved by 'X' form of Hull, full beam superstructure, inclined ship sides and use of Infra Red Signature Suppression (IRSS) system designed by NSTL for cooling the Engine and Generator exhausts. About 81 percent of the ship is indigenous and it is well equipped to fight in Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) warfare conditions.
The ship is manned by a team of 13 officers and 178 sailors, with Commander Naushad Ali Khan at the helm as her first Commanding Officer.
Upon commissioning, the ship would become an integral part of the Eastern Fleet and would enhance Indian Navy's reach, striking capability and sustainability in the Indian Ocean region.