As Navy commissions its most potent warship yet, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh takes a dig at China - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Sunday 21 November 2021

As Navy commissions its most potent warship yet, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh takes a dig at China

Even after all four destroyers of Project 15B are commissioned, the navy will have just 10 destroyers. In contrast, China’s navy has a fleet of 42 destroyers


By Ajai Shukla

Business Standard, 21st Nov 21


The Indian Navy commissioned its tenth destroyer on Sunday, the 7,400-tonne Indian Navy Ship (INS) Visakhapatnam. This is the lead vessel in a new class of four guided missile destroyers that Mazagon Dock Ltd, Mumbai (MDL) is building under Project 15B for Rs 35,800 crore – or Rs 8,950 crore per vessel.


The next three Project 15B destroyers will join the navy’s fleet at one-year intervals. They are named INS MormugaoINS Imphaland INS Surat.


The tradition of naming the navy’s destroyers after Indian cities began with Project 15 – which yielded INS Delhiin 1997, INS Mysorein 1999 and INS Mumbaiin 2001.


This was followed by Project 15A, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi commissioning the lead warship, INS Kolkata, in MDL on 16 Aug 2014. INS Kochifollowed in 2015 and INS Chennaiin 2016.


However, even after all four destroyers of Project 15B are commissioned, the navy will have to make do with just 10 destroyers, since three old Rajput-classvessels, which were bought from Moscow in the mid-1980s, are on the verge of being decommissioned from service.


In contrast, China’s navy – the People’s Liberation Army (Navy), or PLA(N) – has a fleet of 42 destroyers. These include four massive 13,000 tonne Renhai-classcruisers known as the Type 055; 21 modern 7,500 tonne Luyang III-class destroyers known as the Type 052; six older 7,000 tonne Luyang II-class destroyers known as the Type 052C; and eleven older and less capable destroyers of the Type 051C, 052B, 051B, 052 and the Soviet-era Sovremenny-class.


Undeterred by the PLA(N)’s overwhelming numerical advantage, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh sharply criticised China, without naming it, for eroding the “rule-based and stable maritime order” and “freedom of navigation and security of sea lanes”.


Upholding the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as the basis for good order at sea, Singh stated: “Some irresponsible nations, for the sake of their narrow partisan interests, keep on giving new and inappropriate interpretations to these international laws from hegemonic tendencies. These arbitrary interpretations create obstacles in the path of a rule-based maritime order.”


“We envision a rule-based Indo-Pacific, with freedom of navigation, free trade and universal values, in which the interests of all the participating countries are protected,” he said.


The defence minister appreciated the navy’s self-reliance efforts, pointing out that 39 of the 41 warships and submarines on order, including the first indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, are being built in Indian shipyards.


INS Visakhapatnam, which has a complement of about 315 personnel, will be the navy’s most potent warship. It is propelled by four gas turbines that allow it to travel in excess of 30 knots (55 kilometres per hour). The warship incorporates stealth features, with a reduced radar cross section (RCS) achieved through efficient shaping of hull, full beam superstructure design, plated masts and use of radar transparent materials on exposed decks. 


Its weapons and sensor suite is world class, with protection against enemy aircraft and incoming anti-ship missiles being provided out to 70 kilometres by the eponymous Indo-Israeli Medium Range Surface-to-Surface Missile (MR-SAM), coupled with the Multi-Function Surveillance and Threat Alert Radar (MF-STAR).


The destroyer’s ground attack capability and anti-ship capability is achieved through a bank of Indo-Russian BrahMos cruise missiles that are fired through vertical launch canisters to targets up to 295 kilometres away. The 76 millimetre main gun is built in Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, Haridwar. 


Protection against submarines are provided by indigenous rocket launchers, torpedo launchers and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters. The ship is equipped with nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) warfare protective equipment, with its entire requirement of air being filteredthrough NBC filters.


INS Visakhapatnamhas achieved a 75 per cent indigenisation level through an indigenous combat management system (CMS), rocket and torpedo launchers, and digitised control systems such as an integrated platform management system (IPMS), automated power management system (APMS), foldable hangar doors, helo traversing system, close-in weapon system and bow mounted sonar.


Even the DMR 249A warship-grade steel that the Visakhapatnam is built from has been indigenously manufactured by the Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL)


The ship has a total complement of about 315 personnel. Its first commanding officer will be Captain Birendra Singh Bains.


  1. # one of our bean-counters from the defence accounts department, or the audit and accounts department, will some day, using ajai shukla's log, list and tally the billions of rupees in expenditure, both committed and spent, raisina hill has incurred subsequent to the perishing of 20 bravehearts at galwan, another ten infantrymen were reported to have been taken prisoner. our aim is to retake all of aksai chin in eastern ladakh, keep beijing out of our indian ocean, have that nation realise and acknowledge that indiya is no pushover, and fulfil our international obligation to keep the seas, oceans open, as international waters to navigate and traverse without fear or fealty. in those billions of rupees of expenditure much of it going to other friendly nations, we should remember that great powers have greater responsibilities, and such responsibilities may seem a cruel burden for the majority of our people who have to seek nourishment from cereals provided as part of food security, that in the ultimate analysis as the gita teaches us, the nobility of the cause will outweigh all else. this is our dharma. having beijing vacate the heights dominating the darbuk shyok daulet beg oldi [DBO] road so that we can use DBO as the forward base to interdict the karakorum pass and onward to cut the lhasa kashgar highway will happen. we also do need a nuclear powered aircraft carrier, ideally of the super-carrier build, as well as nuclear power submarines. there is only one sure, fail-safe platform for the second strike capability. nuclear submarines to lurk at depths beyond detection range and emerge to launch nuclear warhead missiles for the second strike subsequent to the first strike having turned our cities into fireballs. let us hope in the central vista project there is also provision for a thermo-nuclear safe series of command bunkers for the cabinet committee for security and MoD war-room.

  2. Comparing the Vizag to the Type 052D (let alone the monster Type 055), it appears that the Vizag is quite under-armed- 16 Brahmos (8 launchers) and 32 Barak versus 64 VLS on the Type 052D. 76mm gun versus 130mm. Vizag needs way more VLS.


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