India's naval defence got a boost on Monday with the commissioning of the indigenously-developed anti-submarine warfare stealth corvette INS Kiltan, nicknamed "silent killer on the prowl", which is capable of fighting in nuclear, biological and chemical warfare.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman commissioned INS Kiltan, the third of the four anti-submarine warfare stealth warships built under the Rs 7,800-crore Project 28. Two similar corvettes -- INS Kamorta and INS Kadmatt -- have already been commissioned by the navy.
With the inclusion of INS Kiltan, which is 100 tonnes lighter than the previous corvettes and capable of carrying heavy weapons load, the Indian Navy's capability to protect its warships and detect and target enemy vessels have been further augmented.
The warship has a superstructure of carbon fibre composite material imported from Sweden, which has improved its stealth features and lower maintenance costs. The corvettes have been built by Kolkata-based Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) and designed by the navy's Directorate of Naval Design.
The ship, measuring 109 meters long and 14 meters at the beam, is propelled by four diesel engines to achieve speeds in excess of 25 knots and has an endurance of around 3,500 nautical miles.
It has enhanced stealth features resulting in a reduced Radar Cross Section (RCS) achieved by X-form of hull and superstructure along with optimally sloped surfaces.
The very low under water acoustic signature makes it a "silent killer on the prowl". This has been achieved by using advanced techniques for propeller design and mountings of main machinery. The ship's advanced stealth features make it less susceptible to detection by the enemy and help in effective employment of soft kill measure.
Apart from its integral ASW capable helicopter, the array of weapons include heavy weight torpedoes, ASW rockets, 76 mm caliber medium range gun and two multi-barrel 30 mm guns as close-in-weapon system with dedicated fire control systems.
The warship, manned by a crew of 13 officers and 178 sailors, is also fitted with indigenous missile decoy rockets and advanced electronic support measure system to detect and map enemy transmissions and direction finder equipment. Commander Naushad Ali Khan is its first Commanding Officer.
At the function, which was also attended by Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba, Sitharaman said the addition of INS Kiltan to the naval fleet was a reaffirmation of the navy's relentless pursuit of self-reliance through indigenisation.
"This has helped the Indian Navy to seamlessly transform from a buyer's to a builder's navy," the Minister said.
Sitharaman exhorted that India needed to benchmark its shipbuilding practices to international best practices and produce quality ships in a shorter time frame and at competitive costs.
"The government fully appreciates the nation's defence requirements and requisite finances for the armed forces and defence industry would be made available for the modernisation and development plans of the navy."
Admiral Lanba said the commissioning marked yet another milestone in the force's journey of indigenous warship building.
"The Indian Navy is deeply committed to the principle of indigenisation and the government's thrust on 'Make in India'. Commissioning of four ships in the last year, all built in Indian shipyards, is a testimony of our resolve."
The ship's keel was laid on August 10, 2010 and launched on March 26, 2013. Its maiden sea trials commenced on May 6, 2017 and it was finally handed over to the Indian Navy by GRSE on October 14, 2017.
The ship gets its name from old INS Kiltan (P79), a Petya class ASW ship that served the nation for 18 years before being decommissioned in June 1987. That ship was named after the coral island belonging to the Lakshadweep group of islands in India.