Warship Easier to Build Than Bike: Designer

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New Delhi: INS Godavari was decommissioned on Wednesday at the Naval Dock in the city. The ship’s fate will be decided by the government.

Eighteen out of 21 officers, who commanded the warship were present on board the ship while it was decommissioned. “Two of the officers died and one is on a tour abroad. All the officers, including me, had a nostalgic feeling of serving the first indigenously made warship,” said Commander Vishal Rawal, who was in charge of the warship from August 22, 2013, till December 23.

INS Godavari came about from a realization among Navy’s planners that “shipbuilding was essential to build a strong navy”. The ‘Leander Frigate Project’ of the 1960-70s resulted in the construction of six ‘Giri Class’ frigates at the Mazagon Dock and boosted indigenous naval design and shipbuilding capability. The ship’s design was planned during the Cold War. “It is a nostalgic moment for me. The warship was designed by me and the armament design was made after studying pictures from an international defence magazine then. The weapons on the lower deck were brought from the US while the upper deck armaments were brought from Russia,” said the vessel’s designer Captain NS Mohan Ram (retired).

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It took almost 10 years building the warship after the layout was prepared in 1974. The keel was laid on November 3, 1978 by Admiral J Cursetji, the Chief Naval Staff, and the warship was launched on May 15, 1980. On December 10, 1983, the ship was commissioned into the Navy by the then defence minister R Venkataraman. The next year Ram (at the age of 48) took retirement from the force and joined a scooter manufacturing company. “It is an easy task to build a warship than manufacturing a two-wheeler. At the age of 78, I am lucky to be part of the ship decommissioning that I designed,” he said jovially.

Captain Keki Pestonji (retired) along with his wife made it for the ceremony. Pestonji was the first officer who commanded the warship.

source: Defence News