Updated December 26th, 2023 at 14:33 IST
Indian Navy receives guided missile destroyer INS Imphal ahead of schedule
INS Imphal, project P15B’s guided-missile destroyer, built by MDL, delivered early, showcasing India's increasing shipbuilding capabilities.
The Indian Navy welcomed INS Imphal, the third vessel of the P15B Class Guided Missile Destroyer, on October 20. Designed by the Indian Navy's Warship Design Bureau and constructed entirely by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd, was delivered ahead of its anticipated schedule, highlighting the augmented growth in India’s indigenous shipbuilding capabilities.
The acceptance document designating the destroyer with the pennant number ‘D448’ was formalized during the signing ceremony held at MDL, Mumbai. The ceremony was witnessed by MDL's Chairman & Managing Director (CMD), Vice Admiral (Retd) Narayan Prasad, and CSO (Tech), Rear Admiral (Retd) KP Arvindan. Designed by the Navy’s Warship Design Bureau, INS Imphal integrates cutting-edge technologies and a substantial indigenous component, accounting for more than 72 percent, as per the Ministry of Defence's official statement.
The new technology, as per MoD, included in the guided missile destroyer features a very high level of automation with sophisticated digital networks such as Gigabyte Ethernet-based Ship Data Network (GESDN), Combat Management System (CMS), Automatic Power Management System (APMS), and Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS).
INS Imphal stands out not only for being the largest and most advanced destroyer in the Indian Navy but also for its unique distinction as the only ship named after a city from the North-East. Ministry of Defence officials stated in an official release, “Imphal would thus be a fitting symbol of the growing importance and contribution of the North-Eastern region and the state of Manipur towards national security and development.”
Specifications of the vessel, as per the MoD
The vessel has a relatively bigger displacement than others in its class, although the difference is minute at 7,500 tons. It stretches 164 metres in length and has a beam of 17.4 metres, presenting a commanding presence on the seas. A draft of 6.5 metres ensures stability in various maritime conditions. Additionally, the ship has been constructed with ‘DMR 249A’ grade steel. The propulsion system is in a Combined Gas and Gas (COGAG) configuration, powered by four Gas Turbines. The engines can generate horsepower up to 9,900, enabling the vessel to achieve speeds exceeding 30 knots or 55 kmph.
The ship's operational range spans around 8,000 nautical miles at a speed of 18 knots. INS Visakhapatnam, the first of its class from the Project 15B destroyers, with its foreign port calls and visits, has proved that the class is apt for sustained missions. This is further substantiated by the fact that the ship class can remain at sea for up to 45 days. The crew of this class comprises 50 officers and 250 sailors. INS Imphal is equipped with an array of weaponry and sensors.
Notable among them is the Israeli origin ‘MF-STAR’ S-Band active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, BEL’s L-Band air-search radar, and another X-Band surface-search radar, which collectively provide comprehensive situational awareness. The ship's sonar capabilities are equally potent, with the inclusion of Bharat Electronic Limited’s HUMSA-NG active/passive sonar and BEL "Nagin" active towed-array sonar.
In terms of armament, the vessel has a relatively smaller armament carrying capacity than its foreign counterparts.However, it features 32 Barak 8 surface-to-air missiles (SAM) housed in an eight-cell Vertical Launch System (VLS), ensuring anti-air warfare capabilities. Furthermore, it is equipped with 16 BrahMos anti-ship missiles in an eight-cell VLS, fortifying its anti-surface and anti-ship warfare capabilities. Anti-submarine warfare is addressed through four 533 mm torpedo tubes and two RBU-6000 anti-submarine rocket launchers. The ship also houses an OTO Melara 76 mm naval gun (Howitzer) along with its close-in-weapons-system (CIWS) - four AK-630M CIWS, and two OFT 12.7 mm M2 Stabilised Remote Controlled Guns.
A key feature of INS Imphal is its emphasis on indigenization, aligning with the national objective of 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat'. It incorporates a substantial 75 percent indigenous content, featuring critical systems such as Combat Management System, Rocket Launcher, Torpedo Tube Launcher, and more.
Other ships from Project 15B
INS Mormugao, the second ship in this series, was delivered to the Indian Navy on November 24, 2022. This project builds upon the success of the Kolkata class (Project 15A) destroyers and reaffirms India's commitment to naval modernization with the integration of a better sensor suite in the Project 15B, as per MoD sources.
INS Visakhapatnam, the lead ship of the Project, was commissioned into the Indian Navy on November 21, 2021. This marked a historic milestone in India's naval capabilities, embodying the spirit of 'Make in India'. Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh emphasised the importance of the project and hailed it as a ‘symbol’ of India’s growing maritime strength.
Singh also added, the collaborative effort between public and private sectors is set to transform India into a global shipbuilding hub. The Indian Navy's focus remains on ensuring the openness, safety, and security of the Indo-Pacific region, the Defence Minister stated.
‘Our vision entails a rule-based framework where the interests of all participating nations are safeguarded’, Indian Defence Minister concluded emphasising the vital need for rule-based freedom of navigation and secure sea lanes to foster stability and economic progress.
The fourth vessel of Project 15 Bravo, named Surat, was launched on May 17, 2022, and is currently in an advanced stage of outfitting.
Published October 20th, 2023 at 16:12 IST