INS Kolkata's weapon system marred by delays

INS Kolkata's weapon system marred by delays

INS Kolkata's weapon system marred by delays

The largely indigenously built warship INS Kolkata will be inducted into the navy Aug 16 in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but without a key defence weapon due to delays.

INS Kolkata, the lead ship of the Kolkata-class guided missile destroyers, has not yet got its Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LR-SAM), an Indo-Israel venture.

"The testing for LR-SAM was supposed to take place in August. It got delayed due to technical issues, and the political situation in Israel," Rear Admiral A.B. Singh told reporters Wednesday.

"Hopefully the trials will take place in September, depending on the situation in Israel," he said.

He, however, added the ship is equipped with several other weapons.

The LR-SAM shoots down incoming anti-ship missiles (ASMs) at ranges up to 70 km, and is the main weapon on board the destroyer.

India's key defence research organisation Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is working on the missile along with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

It has only been operationalised after DRDO and IAI, working in partnership, overcame persistent technological challenges. Even so, INS Kolkata is being delivered only with missile launchers fitted, while the 64 missiles will be added later.

He said the 6,800-tonne warship will have close-in weapon systems and chaffes to provide protection along with its two main guns.

As per navy officials, four rear motors of the missile system sent to Israel for testing got stuck in transit due to the on-going conflict in West Asia.

Asked about the accident that occured on the ship in the Mumbai dockyard, navy officials said thorough checks have been done.

"The accident was unfortunate. After that, all systems have been thoroughly checked and we are fully satisfied with its performance," Vice Admiral Ashok Subhedar, Director General of Naval Projects, said. INS Kolkata is 60 percent indigenously built.