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India’s defence sector is poised to achieve a significant milestone as the country’s latest warship, Mahendragiri, is set to be launched on September 1 at the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders in Mumbai. The launch of Mahendragiri, the seventh and final stealth frigate of Project 17A, symbolizes the remarkable progress India has made in constructing a self-sufficient naval force.
Project 17A serves as a crucial continuation of the Project 17 (Shivalik class) frigates, aimed at significantly enhancing India’s naval capabilities. This undertaking focuses on incorporating advanced features such as improved stealth technology, cutting-edge weaponry, sophisticated sensors and state of the art platform management systems. Out of the seven frigates planned under Project 17A, four are being constructed at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited, while the remaining vessels are being built at Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) in Kolkata.
The launch of Mahendragiri is particularly significant as it coincides with India’s unwavering focus on achieving self-reliance in defence. Amid evolving power dynamics in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), this launch gains added strategic importance.
Project Progress and Collaborative Efforts
Under the Project 17A program, Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders (MDL) and Garden Research Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) are collectively constructing a total of four and three ships respectively. The launch of Mahendragiri comes after the launch of the first six ships in the series by MDL and GRSE between 2019 and 2023. This collaboration shows the India’s commitment to nurturing a defence ecosystem that encompasses multiple stakeholders and enterprises, contributing to both technological advancement and economic growth.
The ongoing Project 17A involves the construction of frigates at various stages of development, with all vessels expected to be handed over to the Indian Navy between 2024 and 2026.The successful completion of this project will elevate India’s naval prowess, positioning the nation as a significant maritime player in the region.