Dawn of modern era of submarine warfare: ASW Corvette INS Kavaratti commissioned

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Updated: Oct 22, 2020 12:40 PM

Submarines in today’s modern warfare have become highly dangerous for any Navy due to advancements in the silent engine operations and torpedo technologies onboard.

The ship is specifically constructed to undertake anti-submarine warfare role. For this, it has sensors like sonars fitted onboard.

The Indian Navy has added the last of the four indigenously built Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) stealth corvettes under the Project 28 (Kamorta Class) to its fleet today. After completing sea trials of all the systems fitted onboard, the combat-ready `INS Kavaratti’ was formally commissioned into the Indian Navy by Indian Army Chief, General MM Naravane at Naval Dockyard, Visakhapatnam.

Submarines in today’s modern warfare have become highly dangerous for any Navy due to advancements in the silent engine operations and torpedo technologies onboard. Every fleet is as safe as the detection capability it has against lurking submarines. The modern submarines possessed by India’s hostile nations have a capability to remain underwater while following the Fleet for days together, awaiting a suitable opportunity to launch a torpedo attack. “Even though some of the Fleet ships carry underwater detection capabilities like Sonars in fixed Hull or Towed array configuration, a Fleet commander prefers to have specialized Anti-submarine Warfare (ASW) warships in the Fleet’s protection screen, says Milind Kulshreshtha, the man behind the designing of the indigenous Naval Combat Management System (CMS), and a C4I expert.

 

More about INS Kavaratti

The ship gets her name `Kavaratti’ from erstwhile INS Kavaratti which was an Arnala Class missile corvette and had operated in support of Bangladesh’s liberation in 1971.

It has been designed in house by Directorate of Naval Design (DND), and has almost 90 per cent of indigenous content.

Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata, has built the ship and the Superstructure has been made of Carbon Fiber Composite Material, to reduce the weight of the ship.

 

The state of the art weapons and sensors suite is predominantly indigenous and have the capability of detecting submarines. These ships have credible self-defence capability and are good for long-range deployments.

The shipyard GRSE had delivered Yard 3020 (Kavaratti), the 104th Warship built at the yard and the last ASW under Project 28, earlier this year.

Ships of this class have a displacement of 33,000 tonnes (as a comparison a Kalveri class submarine is 1,565 tonnes), with a span of 109m lengthwise and beam of 13.7m. INS Kavaratti is the last of four indigenously design and built ASW Corvettes under Project 28 launched in 2003 by Indian Navy. Along with INS Kamorta, INS Kadmatt & INS Kiltan will form a major part of the Eastern Fleet of the Indian Navy.

The ships built under Project 28 is the best example of `Make in India’ initiative, and in the last Ex Malabar, INS Kiltan had participated. These ships have the capability to fight in Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Warfare conditions too.

As has been reported earlier, the `X’ forms of the Hull and Super Structure of the ship gives very Low Radar Cross Section. Also, the propulsion system’s special design will help in lowering Radiated Underwater Noise.

The ship has Stealth features which will ensure that it is not visible to the enemy below water surface or above.

Indigenously developed Special High Strength Warship Grade Steel Type DMR 249A has been used in the shipbuilding for the first time.

According to a senior naval officer, “The ship achieves the 25 knots speed using four diesel engines and can sail up to 3450 Nm range and caters for a high level of automation through systems like Total Atmospheric Control System (TACS), Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS), Integrated Bridge System (IBS), Battle Damage Control System (BDCS).”

“ The IBS provides centralized ship’s Navigational, propulsion, control and monitoring information on various displays for the Captain and the Navigating Officer to safely manoeuvre the warship in an efficient manner. The IPMS provides is a sophisticated Distributed control system for monitoring and controlling ship’s propulsion machinery, electric power management, equipment health monitoring, thereby automating the critical activities onboard the warship.”

Anti-Submarine Package

The ship is specifically constructed to undertake anti-submarine warfare role. For this, it has sensors like sonars fitted onboard. “The underwater signals collected by active or passive sonars are sent through an advanced Signal Processing system to detect the ‘intelligence’ from these low-level signals after filtering out the noise. Over a sustained effort by Indian Navy over many decades, today the ship is fitted with highly capable indigenous HUMSA Hull Mounted Sonar system. This Sonar output is combined with an integrated weapon launch and control system or Anti-submarine Warfare Control System,” explains the C4I expert.

“This too has been indigenously designed and developed and is fitted as IAC Mod ‘C’ system onboard. For the anti-submarine missions, this system operates the underwater tracking displays, Torpedo tubes, underwater Rocket launchers and underwater decoy systems.”

Combat Management System CMS-28

Milind Kulshreshtha, the designer of the CMS for the Indian Navy further explains, “The complete weapon and sensor suite of the ship has been integrated with an indigenously developed Command, Control, Communication, Computer & Intelligence (C4I) system called Combat Management System (CMS). The Warfare tactics algorithms including for ASW operations have been written and coded by Indian Navy for the warship. The CMS-28 is a highly advanced system which automates the warfare functionality through a joint Threat perception modules. Based up the most potent threat calculate, an optimal Threat Engagement and Weapon Allocation (TEWA) option is computed in real-time computation. This recommended decision outcome is provided to the Captain and ASW specialist Officer onboard for actions to effectively safeguard the Fleet.”

Inter-operability Concept

“The warships of Kamorta Class (P-28) ships are designed for inter-operability with other warships of the Indian Navy through the ship’s Tactical Data Link. Here, the ship’s Tracks and other tactical information automatically gets relayed amongst the Fleet ships, thus making the four P-28 class of ships interoperable. This enables the creation of a Common Operational Picture (COP) for all the CMS fitted ships in the Fleet. Therefore, a submarine threat detected by a P-28 Class ship automatically gets intimated to the Fleet Commander and other ships in the formation and decisive action to counter this threat is evolved as a C4I solution,” he adds.

“The lethal weapon arsenal of Torpedo Tube launchers and the underwater Rocket launchers onboard Kamorta Class ships can effectively ensure the hunting down of the hostile underwater threat and it’s destruction based on a mathematically computed ship’s course and speed manoeuvre plan,” Mr Kulshreshtha says.

In conclusion he observes, “With the emerging Chinese threats in the IOR region, Indian Navy may contemplate more follow-on ASW Corvette ships for countering the underwater threat to its ships. With the CMS-28 system fitted onboard, these ships are capable of operating alone or as an integrated part of the Fleet, thereby supporting a versatile role for the Indian Navy.”

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