By Aritra Banerjee
‘Sandhayak’, the first of the four Survey Vessels (Large) project being built for the Indian Navy, was launched in Kolkata on 5 Dec, 2021. These Vessels have been designed and developed by Defence Public Sector Undertaking, Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Limited, India’s leading warship building companies.
‘Sandhayak’ reinforces the Government’s commitment to indigenous shipbuilding and is a big step towards ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’,says Ajay Bhatt
He hoped that it will ensure safe navigation of Indian as well as ships of friendly foreign nations in Indian Ocean Region
‘Sandhayak’ made her first contact with the waters of Hooghly River at 1410 hrs at the Launch Ceremony graced by Ajay Bhatt, Raksha Rajya Mantri. In keeping with the Naval maritime tradition, Pushpa Bhatt, spouse of Ajay Bhatt, launched the ship to the chanting of invocation from Atharva Veda.
These survey ships are capable of full scale coastal & deep-water hydrographic survey of Ports & Harbour approaches and determination of navigational channels & routes. These ships can also undertake a survey of maritime limits and collect Oceanographic & Geographical data for Defence applications, thus boosting the country’s maritime capabilities.
These ships are propelled by two Marine Diesel Engines combined with Fixed Pitch Propellers and fitted with Bow & Stern Thrusters for manoeuvring at low speeds during surveys. In their secondary role, these ships would perform functions such as Search & Rescue and Disaster Relief, besides serving as Hospital ships with limited facilities during emergencies. The vessel will have a retractable Hangar for stowage of a Utility helicopter.
The contract for building four survey ships was signed between MoD and GRSE on 30 Oct 18 at a total cost of Rupees 2435 crores. The ships are fully designed by the Design team of GRSE to meet the requirements of the Indian Navy and are being built utilising the concepts of ‘Integrated Construction’ and in compliance with applicable provisions and regulations of the Classification Society.
It has over 80 per cent indigenous content by cost, and this will also ensure that large scale defence production is executed by Indian manufacturing units, thereby generating employment and expertise within the country.
Appreciating GRSE’s efforts, the Raksha Rajya Mantri said the ship’s launch reinforces the Government’s commitment to indigenous shipbuilding as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Make in India’ and provides thrust to ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.
He appreciated that 37 warships and submarines for the Indian Navy are currently under various stages of construction in different shipyards within the country. Ajay Bhatt lauded the Indian Navy and GRSE for working together on number of projects of national importance, such as Project 17A frigates and Anti-Submarine Warfare Shallow Water Crafts.
Saying that the blue economy is one of the core dimensions of growth as per the Government’s vision of New India by 2030, Ajay Bhatt expressed confidence that the vessel will be a significant contributor towards meeting the initiatives and vision for sustainable development in the maritime domain.
He hoped that ‘Sandhayak’ would ensure safe navigation of Indian ships and friendly foreign nations in the Indian Ocean Region. “This would help in strengthening our bilateral ties and in opening up & promoting trade opportunities for our nation in the long term,” he added.
As per the build strategy adopted by GRSE, the first ship is being built at GRSE Ltd, and the construction of balance three ships is envisaged at M/s L&T Shipbuilding, Kattupalli.
In his address, Chairman & Managing Director, GRSE Rear Admiral Vipin Kumar Saxena (Retd) said that the present survey ships are equipped with new generation hydrographic equipment and testify to the maturity of the country’s indigenous construction capability towards achieving self-reliance. He said this achievement, despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, is a testimony to the commitment and ability of the GRSE.
Incidentally, the erstwhile Sandhayak was also launched at GRSE, Kolkata, 44 years ago on 06 Apr 1977.
Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command Vice Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta; Controller of Warship Production & Acquisition Vice Admiral Kiran Deshmukh; Chief Hydrographer to the Government Vice Admiral Adhir Arora and other senior officials of GRSE, Armed Forces and the Industry representatives were also present on occasion.
This ceremony was also witnessed by more than 100 students from various city schools, National Cadet Corps (NCC) cadets, and others for the first time.