India's biggest indigenously-built warship commissioned
Defence minister Manohar Parikkar commissioned the INS Kochi into the Indian Navy, which is India's biggest indigenously-built warship. INS Kochi is the second of three Kolkata-class destroyers in the Indian Navy, and was built at a cost of Rs.4000 crores. The 7,500-tonne ship has a top speed of 30 knots, and will be manned by a crew of 40 officers and 350 sailors.
Project 15A, associated with Kolkata-class destroyers, is a follow-up on Project 15 (Delhi-class destroyers). The Kolkata-class destroyers will see 2,363 modifications from their predecessors allowing them to have substantially upgraded weaponry, sensors and helicopter systems.
The Indian government sanctioned the construction of three "Kolkata-class" guided missile stealth destroyers in May 2000. The ships to be constructed were INS Kolkata, INS Kochi and INS Chennai. The project, called Project 15A, was undertaken by Mumbai-based Mazagon Docks Limited (MDL). It was a follow-up on Project 15 Delhi-class destroyers, but the Kolkata-class destroyers were to be more capable owing to improvements.
The entire programme to build three stealth destroyers - the INS Kolkata, INS Kochi and INS Chennai would cost the government of India Rs.11,662 crores. The project, conceived in 2000, is several years behind schedule.
The INS Kolkata's keel was laid down in 2003, the ship was launched in 2006, and it had its sea trials in 2013. The first of the three Kolkata-class destroyers, INS Kolkata was delivered to the Indian Navy in July 2014, and commissioned on 16 August 2014. The 6,800-tonne vessel constructed by Mazagon Dock Limited became the largest-ever warship built in India.
During a check-up on INS Kolkata's machinery on 7 March 2014, a carbon dioxide bottle malfunctioned leaving an officer dead and several crew members injured. The officer, Commander Wadhwa inhaled a large amount of CO2, and subsequently died.
The INS Kochi, is equipped with BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, long-range surface to air missile systems, anti-submarine torpedoes and rockets and 76 mm and 30 mm guns. The third Kolkata-class ship, the INS Chennai is scheduled to be commissioned in 2016.