Kolkata: ‘Sandhayak’, the first of the four Survey Vessels (Large) Project being built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata for Indian Navy was launched on December 5, 2021. The launch ceremony was graced by Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt. In keeping with the Naval maritime tradition, Mrs Pushpa Bhatt, spouse of MoS, Defence Ajay Bhatt, launched the ship. The ship has taken its name from the first ship of the erstwhile Sandhayak Class Survey ships. The erstwhile Sandhayak incidentally was also launched at GRSE, Kolkata 44 years ago on April 6, 1977.
The contract for building four survey ships was signed between MoD and GRSE on October 30, 2018 at a total cost of Rs 2435 Crs. As per build strategy adopted by GRSE, first ship is being built at GRSE Ltd and construction of balance three ships is envisaged at M/s L&T Shipbuilding, Kattupalli.
Minister of State for Defence, Ajay Bhatt appreciated GRSE’s efforts and said, “Launch of first Survey Vessel (Large) ‘Sandhayak’ today reinforces our commitment for indigenous shipbuilding as part of our Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Make in India’, and thrust to the vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (Self-reliant India). The vessel will have over 80% 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 our country. It’s a matter of great significance that GRSE had achieved a historic milestone, when the 100th warship was delivered by the shipyard. I am confident that the shipyard will scale greater heights in years to come and realise its vision of becoming a world leader in warship building”.
Vice Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, Vice Admiral Kiran Deshmukh, Controller of Warship Production & Acquisition, Vice Admiral Adhir Arora, Chief Hydrographer to the Govt of India, Rear Admiral Vipin Kumar Saxena (IN, Retd), Chairman & Managing Director, GRSE, Cmde Sanjeev Nayyar, IN(Retd), Director (Shipbuilding), GRSE, Cmde PR Hari, IN(Retd), Director (Personnel), GRSE, Shri RK Dash, Director (Finance), GRSE, other Senior Officials of GRSE, Indian Armed Forces and Industry were present at the occasion.
Highlighting the achievement of another key milestone for the Shipyard, Rear Admiral V.K. Saxena, IN (Retd.), Chairman & Managing Director said, “The Survey Vessel (Large) is one of our proud creations for the Indian Navy and coincidentally the previous ‘Sandhayak’ class of Hydrographic Survey Ships were also built by GRSE. The first ship of that class “Sandhayak” got decommissioned in Jun 2021 after 40 years of glorious service to the nation and her name lives on in true traditions of the Indian Navy. The present survey ships are equipped with new generation hydrographic equipment and is testimony to the maturity of our indigenous construction capability towards realization of ‘Atmanirbharta’ (Self-reliance). The achievement of this major milestone despite challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic, stands testimony to the commitment and capability of the GRSE.”
These ships will replace the existing Sandhayak Class survey ships and are equipped with new generation hydrographic equipment to collect oceanographic and geophysical data. The ships are 110 m long, 16 m wide with a deep displacement of 3300 tons and a complement of 235 personnel. The ship’s propulsion system consists of two Main Engines in twin shaft configuration and is designed for a cruise speed of 14 knots and maximum speed of 18 knots. Bow & Stern Thrusters have been catered for better manoeuvring at low speeds required during shallow water survey operations. The hull of these ships is made from indigenously developed DMR 249-A steel manufactured by Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL). The ships are fully designed by the Design team of GRSE to meet the requirements of the Indian Navy and are being built & outfitted utilising the concepts of ‘Integrated Construction’ and in compliance with applicable provisions and regulations of the Classification Society (IRS).
The primary role of these Survey ships would be to conduct full scale coastal and deep-water hydrographic survey of ports & harbours and determination of navigational channels/ routes. The ships would also be deployed for collecting oceanographic and geophysical data for defence as well as civil applications. In their secondary role, these ships would be capable of performing roles such as Search & Rescue and Disaster Relief, besides serving as Hospital ship with limited facilities during emergencies. The ships will have a retractable Hangar for stowage of a Utility helicopter.
The ‘Launch’ symbolizes the “birth” of the ship as she makes her first contact with water and is floated out for from her building berth. For the first time, this special ceremony was also witnessed by more than 100 students from various city schools, NCC cadets and other citizens of Kolkata including revered monks from Ramakrishna Seva Pratishthan, Kolkata. This initiative under the aegis of ‘Azaadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ activities, provided the citizens of Kolkata a glimpse of the ‘Warship’ building activity happening in their city!
GRSE has delivered 788 platforms which include 107 warships, of which 70 were for the Indian Navy, 35 for the Indian Coast Guard, 01 for the Government of Mauritius and 01 for Seychelles Coast Guard which is the highest number of warships built & delivered by any shipyard in the country. The Shipyard is currently executing four indigenous shipbuilding projects including three Advanced Frigates under Project 17A, four Survey Vessels (Large) & eight Anti-Submarine Warfare Shallow Water Crafts for the Indian Navy and one Fast Patrol Vessel for the Indian Coast Guard. With emphasis on exports and realigned marketing strategies, the shipyard is building ships for export to Republic of Guyana and a government agency of Bangladesh.
Despite challenges due to COVID-19 pandemic, GRSE has made substantial progress and aims to deliver Sandhayak by October 2022. Launch of the first Survey Vessel reinforces the resolve for indigenous shipbuilding as part of Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Make in India’, and thrust to the vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’. The Survey Vessels Large will have over 80% indigenous content by cost. This will also ensure that large scale defence production are executed by Indian manufacturing units thereby generating employment and capability build up within the country. It is noteworthy that 37 warships and submarines for Indian Navy are currently under various stages of construction in different shipyards within the country.