INS Rajput to sail into the sunset: Reliving 4 glorious decades of the warship
Over four decades of glorious service to the nation, the ship that sailed the seas with the motto 'Raj Karega Rajput' has the distinction of serving in both western and eastern naval fleets.
INS Rajput has a crew of 30 officers and 310 sailors and is equipped with an array of weapons and sensors. 'Rajput' was named after the famous warrior community of northern India known for its bravery and valour. The ship's crest design displays a head protector helmet and crossed spears, used by Rajput warriors, on a red background.
INS Rajput was constructed in the 61 Communards Shipyard in Nikolaev (present-day Ukraine) under the original Russian name 'Nadezhny' meaning 'Hope'. The keel of the ship was laid on September 11, 1976, and was launched on 17 Sep 1977. The ship was commissioned as INS Rajput on May 4, 1980, at Poti, Georgia.
The Kashin-II class INS Rajput was was the first Indian naval ship to be affiliated with an Indian Army regiment -- the Rajput Regiment. INS Rajput, the first ship in the Indian Navy to deploy the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile system, was capable of handling threats from submarines, low-flying aircraft and cruise missiles.
The ship has a displacement of 5,000 tonnes, a length of 146 metres, a beam of 15.8 metres and is capable of speed in excess of 30 knots.
Apart from the BrahMos missile, the warship was equipped with anti-aircraft and anti-missile guns, and anti-submarine rocket and torpedo launchers.
It also had the capability to operate the Chetak helicopter, which enabled the ship to perform a wide variety of roles including coastal and offshore patrolling, monitoring of sea lines of communication, maritime diplomacy, counter terrorism and anti-piracy operations.
With objectives to secure national maritime interest and sovereignty of the country, the ship has participated in several operations, including Operation Aman off Sri Lanka to assist Indian Peace Keeping Force, Operation Pawan for patrolling duties off the coast of Sri Lanka, Operation Cactus to resolve hostage situation in Maldives and and Operation Crowsnest off Lakshadweep.
In addition, the ship has participated in numerous bilateral and multi-national exercises.
During the 1971-war with Pakistan, the Pakistan Navy had deployed its American-made Tech Class attack submarine PNS Ghazi in the Bay of Bengal with the mission to sink INS Vikrant.
As part of the preemptive measure, INS Vikrant was moved out from Vizag harbour to an unknown location and the Indian Navy deployed its destroyer INS Rajput to take charge against the PNS Ghazi.
The then Commanding Officer of INS Rajput Lieutenant Commander Inder Singh Malik launched two depth charges that struck PNS Ghazi and made it sink.
However, Pakistani military still claims that the PNS Ghazi perished after accidentally made contact with one of the mines that it had placed along the Visakhapatnam coast.