Mazagon Dock lays keel of destroyer

MUMBAI SEPT. 26. Mazagon Dock, the country's premier warship builders, laid here today the keel of the first destroyer of Project 15-A, also known as the Bangalore class, a modified and more modern version of the versatile Delhi class.

The keel was laid by the Director-General of Shipping, G.S. Sahni. The ceremony is the starting point of the construction of a ship. Mazagon Dock expects to launch the ship in two years and the destroyer is expected to be commissioned by the Navy in 2007.

This is a major ship-building programme of Mazagon Dock after the destroyers of the Delhi class — INS Delhi, INS Mysore and INS Mumbai — it built. The last one was commissioned in January 2001.

The first ship of the new class would be named INS Bangalore. The Navy intends to order six destroyers of this class to be named after different cities of the country. These destroyers would form a core of its surface forces. They would have a "flared" hull form like their predecessor, the Delhi class, and displace about 6,000 tonnes.

While the Delhi class is known for its powerful three-dimension punch, particularly for its formidable package of 16 sea-skimming surface missiles, Uran, the Bangalore class, will have enhanced stealth features and land-attack capabilities.

The ship-builders and their customers are yet to disclose fully the weapon package of the Bangalore class but the naval sources said it would definitely have several Klub cruise missiles, capable of striking targets inland from the range of over 200 km.

With half of its Kilo class submarines and all three of the Talwar class frigates already being `Klub capable,' the incorporation of the same capability in the new class of destroyers indicates the growing emphasis of the Navy in littoral warfare that it had initiated and won in 1971.

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