How India’s New Warship Mahendragiri Will Boost Its Naval Power? 

India is set to launch its new warship, Mahendragiri, on September 1, 2023, at the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders in Mumbai. Mahendragiri is the seventh and last ship of the Nilgiri-class stealth frigates, which are designed and built indigenously by India under the Project 17A program. Mahendragiri is a technologically advanced warship that will enhance India’s naval capabilities and showcase its self-reliance in defence production. 

We will explore the features, specifications, and significance of Mahendragiri and how it will boost India’s naval power.

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What is Mahendragiri?

Mahendragiri is named after a mountain peak in the Eastern Ghats located in the state of Odisha. It is the seventh ship of the Nilgiri-class stealth frigates, which are follow-ons of the Project 17 Class Frigates (Shivalik Class). The Nilgiri-class frigates have improved stealth features, advanced weapons and sensors, and platform management systems. They are also equipped with modern communication and navigation systems, integrated bridge systems, and combat management systems.

Mahendragiri has a displacement of 6,670 tonnes, a length of 149 metres, a width of 17.8 metres, and a draft of 5.22 metres. It can attain a maximum speed of 28 knots and has a range of 10,200 kms. It can accommodate a crew of 226 sailors and can carry two helicopters on board. It is powered by two General Electric LM2500 gas turbines.

Mahendragiri has a formidable arsenal of weapons and missiles. It has a 76mm main gun, two 30 mm AK-630M anti-aircraft artillery systems, and two torpedo tubes. It also has launchers for eight BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles and 32 Barak-8 surface to air missiles. Its main radar is MF-STAR, which is a multi-function surveillance track and guidance radar.

Why is Mahendragiri important?

Mahendragiri is important for several reasons. First, it is a symbol of India’s determination to embrace its rich naval heritage and propel itself towards a future of indigenous defence capabilities. Mahendragiri has been designed in-house by the Indian Navy’s Warship Design Bureau, the pioneer organisation for all warship design activities. A substantial 75% of the orders for equipment and systems of Mahendragiri have been placed on indigenous firms, including Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). This reflects India’s commitment to ‘Aatma Nirbharata’ or self-reliance in defence production.

Second, Mahendragiri is a testament to the incredible progress India has made in building a self-reliant naval force. Mahendragiri is the seventh and last ship of the Nilgiri-class stealth frigates, which have been launched in a span of about four years. The first ship, Nilgiri, was launched in 2019, followed by Himgiri in 2020. The launch of Udaygiri, Dunagiri, Taragiri, and Vindhyagiri began in May 2022. The speed of manufacturing warships has improved ever since the new method of “integrated construction” has been adopted. This method involves building separate blocks or modules of the ship at different locations and then assembling them at the dockyard.

Third, Mahendragiri is a boost to India’s naval power and security. Mahendragiri will join the Indian Navy’s fleet as a potent platform that can perform various roles such as anti-surface warfare, anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, electronic warfare, maritime surveillance, etc. Mahendragiri will also enhance India’s maritime cooperation with friendly countries and contribute to peace and stability in the region.

When will Mahendragiri be commissioned?

Mahendragiri will be launched on September 1, 2023, at the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders in Mumbai. The launch ceremony will be attended by Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar as the chief guest and his wife Sudesh Dhankhar as the chief launcher. The launch ceremony will also be witnessed by senior officials from the Ministry of Defence, Indian Navy, and Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders.

After the launch, Mahendragiri will undergo extensive trials and tests to ensure its operational readiness and performance. The trials and tests will include sea trials, weapon trials, sensor trials, communication trials, etc. The trials and tests will be conducted by the Indian Navy and the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders in coordination with other agencies and stakeholders.

Mahendragiri is expected to be commissioned into the Indian Navy by 2027. It will join the other six Nilgiri-class warships that are scheduled to be commissioned between 2025 and 2027. The commissioning ceremony will mark the induction of Mahendragiri into the Indian Navy’s fleet as a fully operational warship. The commissioning ceremony will also be attended by dignitaries from the government, defence, and industry sectors.

Video Credit : StudyIQ IAS

What are the challenges and opportunities for Mahendragiri?

Mahendragiri, like any other warship, will face various challenges and opportunities in its service life. Some of the challenges and opportunities for Mahendragiri are:

  • Challenges: Mahendragiri will have to operate in a complex and dynamic maritime environment that poses various threats and challenges from state and non-state actors. Mahendragiri will have to deal with conventional and unconventional warfare scenarios, such as naval skirmishes, anti-piracy operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, etc. Mahendragiri will also have to cope with the changing technological landscape and maintain its edge over its adversaries. Mahendragiri will also have to ensure its sustainability and maintainability in terms of logistics, manpower, training, etc.
  • Opportunities: Mahendragiri will also have many opportunities to showcase its capabilities and potential in various domains and platforms. Mahendragiri will have the opportunity to participate in bilateral and multilateral naval exercises with friendly countries and enhance its interoperability and cooperation. Mahendragiri will also have the opportunity to contribute to India’s maritime security and strategic interests in the Indian Ocean Region and beyond. Mahendragiri will also have the opportunity to demonstrate India’s naval prowess and technological advancement to the world.

Conclusion

Mahendragiri is a proud achievement of India’s defense indigenisation programme and a symbol of India’s naval heritage and self-reliance. Mahendragiri is a technologically advanced warship that will boost India’s naval power and security. Mahendragiri is a testament to the incredible progress India has made in building a self-reliant naval force. We congratulate the Indian Navy, Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders, Warship Design Bureau, and all other agencies and stakeholders involved in the design, construction, launch, and commissioning of Mahendragiri. We wish Mahendragiri a successful service life and a glorious future.