Indian state-owned shipbuilder, Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) has launched the Indian Navy’s third Project 15B Visakhapatnam-class stealth guided missile destroyer, INS Imphal, during a ceremony at its facility in Mumbai on April 20.
The launch was attended by Admiral Sunil Lanba PVSM, AVSM, ADC Chief of the Naval Staff. In keeping with maritime traditions, Reena Lanba, Wife of Adm. Lamba and President of the Navy Wives Welfare Association (NWWA), broke a coconut on the ship’s bow and launched the ship, as invocation from the Atharva Veda was being rendered.
Video clip of launch of 'Imphal' pic.twitter.com/HlTvDlsNJa
— SpokespersonNavy (@indiannavy) April 20, 2019
With a launch weight of 3,037 tonnes, the vessel (Yard no: 12706) made its first contact with water at 1220 Hours with full fanfare during the launching ceremony. The vessel is expected to enter service in 2023.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Guest, Admiral Sunil Lanba commended the synergic partnership of MDL, Indian Navy, DRDO, OFB, BEL, other public sector enterprises and the private industry in ensuring that force levels are made available to meet India’s National strategic maritime objectives. He also congratulated all agencies associated with the milestone.
Project 15B Visakhapatnam-class is a class of stealth guided missile destroyers (DDGs) currently under construction for the Indian Navy. The destroyers are an improved version of the Kolkata-class (Project 15A) vessels and will feature enhanced stealth characteristics.
The class comprises four ships – INS Visakhapatnam, INS Mormugao, INS Imphal and INS Porbandar all of which are being built by the Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in Mumbai, and will be the largest destroyers to be operated by the Indian Navy.
Project 15B ships feature cutting edge advanced technology and are comparable to the best ships of similar class anywhere in the world. The destroyers incorporate new design concepts for improved survivability, sea keeping, stealth and manoeuvrability. Enhanced stealth features have been achieved through shaping of hull and use of radar transparent deck fittings which make these ships difficult to detect.
These ships are designed indigenously by the Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design, New Delhi. Each ship has a length of 163 metres and width of 17.4 metres and displaces 7,300 tonnes. These ships will be propelled by four gas turbines to achieve speed in excess of 30 knots.
The ships are packed with an array of state-of-the-art weapons and sensors, including multi-functional surveillance radars (IAI EL/M-2248 MF-STAR S-band AESA and Thales LW-08 D-band air search radar) and vertical launching system (VLS) which can be loaded with missiles that are capable of long distance engagement of shore, sea-based and air targets.
The missile load, fitted into a Universal Vertical Launcher Module (UVLM), will include Nirbhay long-range land-attack cruise missile (LACM), BrahMos supersonic anti-ship and land-attack cruise missiles (AShM, LACM) and Barak 8-ER surface to air missile (SAMs). Four AK-630 close-in weapon systems (CIWS) will provide the ship with close-in-defence capability. Twin tube torpedo launchers and RBU-6000 Smerch-2 rocket launchers will provide anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability.
P15B ships will be equipped to carry and operate two multiple role helicopters. Each ship of the class will have a complement of 50 officers and 250 sailors
With significant indigenous content, these ships are a true hallmark of self-reliance attained by India in warship design and shipbuilding, and a shining example of the ‘Make in India’ philosophy, said an Indian Ministry of Defence statement.
The first ship of the class, INS Visakhapatnam, was launched on 20 April 2015 and is expected to enter service in 2021.