The First Indigenously designed and built frigate INS Godavari Decommissioned
As the sun set on 23rd December 2015, the Indian Navy hauled down its ensign from, the historic guided missile frigate, Indian Naval Ship Godavari, for the last time. In a solemn ceremony at the Naval Dockyard, Mumbai, Vice Admiral R Hari Kumar, Chief of Staff, Headquarter Western Naval Command, decommissioned the 32 year old ship. The ceremony was attended by a large number of people including ex-Commanding Officers and crew of the ship, and senior officers of the Western Naval Command.
INS Godavari was designed by the Indian Navy’s Design Directorate and Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) and was constructed at MDL. Godavari was the first major warship which was completely designed and constructed in India and thus was a significant milestone for the country in its transition from being a ‘buyers Navy’ to a ‘builders Navy’. Commissioned on 10 December 1983, she had completed 32 years of glorious and action packed service to the nation at decommissioning. She has thus proven the success and effectiveness of the Indian designers and shipbuilders.
Being the first to be designed and made in India, lessons learnt during her construction and operations have helped the nation’s shipyards and designers in refining subsequent indigenous warships. Today, Kolkata class destroyers built in the country are among the best destroyers in the world.
INS Godavari had also participated in numerous operations with ‘Operation Cactus’ thwarting a coup d’état in Maldives in 1988 being a prominent one. The ship has participated in ‘Operation Jupiter’ off Sri Lanka in 1989. In 1994, the ship participated in ‘Operations Bolster and Shield’ involving de-induction of Indian Army from Somalia. In recent times, the ship had participated in Anti Piracy operations while on ‘Petrol of Gulf of Aden’ deployments in 2009 and 2011.
At the time of decommissioning, she was commanded by Commander Vishal Rawal who incidentally also started his career as a Midshipman on the same ship. She was the first of ‘Godavari Class’ guided missile frigates and her sister ships, INS Ganga and INS Gomati, remain in active service.