The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced that Cochin Shipyard (CSL) has authenticated the keel for the first anti-submarine warfare shallow water craft (ASW SWC).

Mahe (BY 523) is first of eight vessels to be constructed by CSL.

The beginning of construction was marked by a keel-laying ceremony held at CSL in Kochi, India on 30 August.

The keel was laid by Indian Navy Controller of Warship Production & Acquisition vice admiral Kiran Deshmukh, in the presence of various senior officials from the Indian Navy and CSL.

Deshmukh lauded the efforts of CSL in achieving the milestone despite constraints posed by the lockdowns induced by the pandemic.

He also said that once constructed, the ASW SWC vessels will further boost the Indian Government’s ‘Aatma Nirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Make in India’ initiatives.

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Deshmukh added: “These platforms will undertake sub-surface surveillance in coastal areas with the purpose of detecting and neutralising underwater threats.”

On the same day, CSL also performed the first steel-cut for the sixth and seventh vessels, BY 528 and BY 529, under the Indian Navy’s ASW SWC project.

The steel-cutting event marked the commencement of vessels’ fabrication and culmination of the related preparatory process.

The contract for construction of 16 ASW SWC vessels for the Indian Navy was awarded to CSL and Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) in 2019.

Under this deal, each company is developing eight shallow craft.

GRSE laid keel for its first of the eight vessels in August last year, followed by the keel-laying of second and third vessels in June this year.

Once constructed, the ASW shallow water vessels will further bolster the Indian Navy’s anti-submarine warfare capabilities and help safeguard the nation’s maritime interests.