November would be a landmark month for the Indian Navy with the commissioning of ‘Visakhapatnam’, the first stealth guided-missile destroyer ship of Project 15B in the presence of defence minister Rajnath Singh on Nov 21.
Visakhapatnam has been constructed using indigenous steel DMR 249A and is amongst the largest destroyers constructed in India with an overall length of 163m and displacement of over 7400 tons.
The ship has a significant indigenous content of approximately 75 per cent. The ship is a potent platform capable of undertaking multifarious tasks and missions spanning the full spectrum of maritime warfare.
Visakhapatnam armed with surface-to-air missiles
Visakhapatnam is equipped with array of weapons and sensors which include supersonic surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, medium and short-range guns, anti-submarine rockets and advanced electronic warfare and communication suit’s.
The ship is propelled by a powerful combined gas and gas propulsion which enables her speed of over 30 knots. The ship has the capability of embarking two integrated helicopters to further extend its reach.
The ship boasts of a very high level of automation with sophisticated digital networks including Combat Management System and Integrated Platform Management System.
Some of the major indigenised equipment system onboard Visakhapatnam include indigenous medium range surface-to-air missiles, surface-to-surface missiles, torpedo tubes and launchers
It also armed with anti-submarine rocket launchers, super rapid gun mount besides foldable hangar doors, Helo traversing system, close-in weapon system and bow mounted SONAR.
Indian Navy's mobility
Named after the historic city of Andhra Pradesh on the east coast, Visakhapatnam, the ‘City of Destiny’. The ship is a symbol of 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.
Submarines to be commissioned
Six submarines are being constructed under the Project-75. With the commissioning of Vela, the project would have crossed the half way mark. The submarine has been slotted to join the submarine fleet of the Western Naval Command.
The indigenous construction of submarines is indicative of the maturity of the Indian construction capability. Vela is the fourth submarine and has completed most of its trials and is combat worthy and ready to take on operational tasking.
Sandhayak class survey ships
‘Sandhyak’ is the first of the four Survey Vessels (Large) (SVL) Project being built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata for Indian Navy.
These large survey ships are envisaged to replace the existing Sandhayak class survey ships are equipped with new generation hydrographic equipment including AUVs, ROVs, 11m survey boats and advanced indigenous data acquisition systems to collect and analyse oceanographic and geophysical data in the Indian Ocean Region.
Navy's new weapons
The curtain raiser for the commissioning ceremony and the launch was held on November 16 by Admiral SN Ghormade, the Vice Chief of Naval Staff (VCNS) with Chief of Materiel, Controller of Warship Production & Acquisition, Director General of Naval Design and Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Submarines), Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Policy & Plans).
Speaking on the occasion, the VCNS stated that the event highlights the capability and capacity of not just the Indian Navy but also of MDL, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and MSMEs in realising the National Objectives of “Make in India”.
India's shipbuilding capability
On the occasion, VCNS also brought out that presently 39 naval ships and submarines are being constructed in various shipyards. This in turn has created enormous opportunities for not only the indigenous shipbuilding industry but also the associated support industries.
VCNS also brought out that the fact that the commissioning ceremony also coincides with the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ and ‘Swarnim Vijay Varsh’ celebrations and the induction of INS Visakhapatnam and INS Vela is thus another step towards strengthening the defence preparedness of the country.