The first of the Visakhapatnam class stealth-guided missile destroyers | By special arrangement
The first of the Visakhapatnam class stealth-guided missile destroyers | By special arrangement
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New Delhi: In a fillip to India’s capacity and firepower to counter threats, both above the water and under its surface, the Indian Navy will, by the end of this week, commission the first of four indigenous Visakhapatnam-class stealth-guided missile destroyers, and the fourth of six Scorpene submarines.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will commission INS Visakhapatnam at the Naval Dockyard, Mumbai, on 21 November, while Vela, the fourth Scorpene submarine, will be commissioned by Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh at the same location on 25 November.

The development comes at a time when 39 submarines and surface ships are under construction at various Indian shipyards, besides the two frigates being built for the Indian Navy in Russia.

“Commissioning of ‘Visakhapatnam’ and ‘Vela’ are major milestones showcasing the indigenous capacity to build complex combat platforms. This will enhance our capacity and firepower to address the threats both in the above-water and underwater domains,” Vice Admiral Satish Namdeo Ghormade, the Vice Chief of Naval Staff, said while briefing reporters in the national capital.

He added that the maritime environment is a complex one and only increases with more players involved. 

“We live in a time when global and regional balances of power are shifting rapidly and the region of most rapid change is undoubtedly the Indian Ocean Region,” he said. “Continuous efforts are, therefore, on to ensure that our force levels grow progressively to enhance the capability of the Indian Navy to meet the emerging challenges.”

His statement comes in the backdrop of the rapid expansion of the Chinese Navy, which is now the world’s fastest growing naval force.


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Project 15B

Project 15B is a Rs 35,000-crore programme of the Indian Navy, under which four follow-ons of the Kolkata class of destroyers are being built. 

The four ‘Visakhapatnam’ class destroyers have been indigenously designed by the Indian Navy’s in-house organisation, Directorate of Naval Design, and constructed by the Mazagon Dock Limited, Mumbai.

Each of the ships measures 163 metres in length, 17 metres in breadth, with a displacement of 7,400 tonnes.

The Visakhapatnam class is one of the most potent warships to have been constructed in India. It is propelled by four powerful gas turbines, and is capable of achieving speeds in excess of 30 knots. 

The ship also has enhanced stealth features, resulting in a reduced Radar Cross Section (RCS) achieved through efficient shaping of hull, full beam superstructure design, plated masts and use of radar transparent materials on exposed decks. 

The Visakhapatnam is packed with sophisticated ‘state-of-the-art’ weapons and sensors such as surface-to-surface missiles and surface-to-air missiles. 

“Apart from myriad indigenous equipment in the ‘Float’ and ‘Move’ categories, the destroyer is also installed with many major indigenous weapons such as Indigenous Medium Range Surface to Air Missile Systems by BEL, Bengaluru; Surface to Surface Missiles by Brahmos Aerospace; Torpedo Tubes and Launchers by L&T; and Gun Mount by BHEL,” Vice Admiral Ghormade said.

He added that the overall indigenous content of the project is approximately 75 per cent.  

Navy officials say with the changing power dynamics in the Indian Ocean Region, Visakhapatnam will augment the Indian Navy’s mobility, reach and flexibility towards accomplishment of its role and tasks.

(Edited by Arun Prashanth)


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