To deal with the growing Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), the Indian Navy is getting ready to enhance its capability at sea when it commissions two new platforms in service next week. Despite the challenges due to the global pandemic of COVID 19, the Mumbai based Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) has managed to deliver the two different platforms within the timeframe and these are going to add to the country’s maritime prowess in the IOR.
Briefing the media on Tuesday in New Delhi, the Vice Chief of the Indian Navy Vice Admiral Satish Namdeo Ghormade, said “A destroyer ‘Visakhapatnam’ and Kalvari class submarine Vela will be commissioned.”
The destroyer “Vishakapatnam’’ the first ship of Project 15B is going to be commissioned on November 21, 2021 when the defence minister Rajnath Singh will be the chief guest and later in the same week the Kalvari class submarine “Vela’’ will get commissioned in the presence of the outgoing Chief of the Indian Navy Admiral Admiral Karambir Singh on November 25, 2021.
According to the Vice Chief of the Indian navy, the induction ceremonies will take place at the Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in Mumbai where both these platforms have been constructed with a large content on board being home made.
The destroyer Visakhapatnam has almost 75 percent indigenous content on board.
More about Destroyer Visakhapatnam
Y 12704 (Visakhapatnam), is the lead ship of Project 15B stealth guided missile destroyers. In 2011, the contract for four ships of Project 15B, as the Visakhapatnam class ships are known, was inked. This is a follow-on of the Kolkata class (Project 15A) destroyers which were commissioned in the last decade.
The four ships are named after major cities from all four corners of the country: Imphal, Surat, Visakhapatnam, and Mormugao.
When was the keel laid?
In October 2013 and the launch took place in April 2015. And according to the Indian Navy, design has largely maintained the hull form, propulsion machinery, many platform equipment and major weapons & sensors as the Kolkata class to benefit from series production.
It is a 163 metres long warship; maximum speed 30 knots with a full load displacement of 7400 tonnes.
There is indigenous equipment in the ‘Float’ and ‘Move’ categories, and the new destroyer has major weapon systems on board which have been made in India:
(a) Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missiles (BEL, Bangalore).
(b) BrahMos Surface-to-Surface Missiles (BrahMos Aerospace, New Delhi).
(c) Indigenous Torpedo Tube Launchers (Larsen & Toubro, Mumbai).
(d) Anti-Submarine Indigenous Rocket Launchers (Larsen & Toubro, Mumbai).
(e) 76mm Super Rapid Gun Mount (BHEL, Haridwar).
“With the commissioning of the new destroyer, India is now a member of the elite group of nations which have the capability of constructing and designing advanced warships,” he added.
Vela of the Kalvari class.
“In the last 25 years, India has proven that it has the capability of building its own submarines. Very few countries globally have this ability in their industrial capacity,” Vice Admiral Ghormade said.
Adding, “Building submarines is a very sophisticated exercise which involves small components and logically inside a submarine where the space is very limited”.
This is the fourth submarine built at MDL through Transfer of Technology by the French Naval Group formerly known as DCNS.
What more did the VCNS say?
According to the Vice Chief, “To enhance the capability of the Indian Navy, to meet new challenges in the rapidly changing region of the IOR, efforts are being made to ensure that our force levels grow.”
As has been reported earlier, the Indian Navy’s in-house Directorate of Naval Design has been designing indigenous ships for over 57 years.
So far the Indian Navy has been putting its efforts to ensure that the designing and construction and other systems are local. It has been involved in designing small craft to Aircraft Carrier, and built more than 90 ships.
More Indigenous Ships
Responding to media queries, the top navy commander also said that currently, around 39 naval ships and submarines are in the process of being constructed in various Indian shipyards. These will help boost India’s maritime prowess significantly.
Though the government has removed the Italian firm Leonardo of the Finmeccanica from the Black List, it cannot participate in the RFI for supplying torpedoes to the Indian Navy.
The Indian Navy had identified Black Shark torpedoes from the Italian company but had to issue fresh RFI after the company was blacklisted by the government.
Now, two companies are in the process of being assessed for the torpedoes which will be fitted on the Kalvari class submarines as well as India own Arihant class nuclear submarines.
Which are the two companies?
In the race out of five are just two: German Atlas Elektronik and French Naval Group. The Indian Navy needs around 100 heavyweight torpedoes.