Six years after entering water, navy’s latest destroyer to join the fleet - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Friday 16 December 2022

Six years after entering water, navy’s latest destroyer to join the fleet

India is building 1-2 capital warships yearly; China builds 6-9 (photo: INS Mormugao)


By Ajai Shukla

Business Standard, 17th Dec 23


Named after the historic port city of Goa, the Indian Navy’s latest and most powerful destroyer, INS Mormugao, will be commissioned into the fleet by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, in the Naval Dockyard, Mumbai, on Sunday.


The multi-role warship undertook her first sea sortie a year ago, on December 19, 2021, the day Goa celebrated 60 years of liberation from Portuguese rule. 


“Her commissioning now on December 18 on the eve of the Goa Liberation Day will further augment the Indian Navy’s mobility, reach and flexibility towards accomplishment of its role and tasks in the Indian Ocean and beyond,” said the defence ministry in a release on Friday.


INS Mormugaois the second of four Visakhapatnam-class destroyers being built under Project 15B. They have been indigenously designed by the Navy’s in-house Warship Design Bureau and constructed by Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL), Mumbai.


Although the navy urgently needs capital warships such as these, they are being built so slowly that they barely allow for replacement of vessels that are retiring on completion of their 30-year service lives.


INS Mormugaowas launched into the water in September 2016 when it was already a 2,844-tonne hull. It has taken another six years to complete that into a fully built, 7,400-tonne destroyer.


While the Indian Navy commissions barely 1-2 capital warships per year, China’s navy commissions 6-9 warships.


INS Mormugaois propelled by four powerful gas turbines, arranged in a “combined gas and gas” (COGAG) configuration, that are capable of achieving speeds in excess of 30 knots (55 kilometres per hour). 


The destroyer’s gas turbines have been supplied by Ukrainian engine maker, Zorya Mashproekt and are standard fitment in India’s larger warships. However, supplies of Ukrainian turbines are now endangered by India’s refusal to criticize Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.


INS Mormugaois technicallya “guided missile destroyer.” According to the defence ministry, “INSMormugao is packed with sophisticated state-of-the-art weapons and sensors such as surface to surface missiles and surface to air missiles. The ship is fitted with a modern surveillance radar which provides target data to the gunnery weapon systems of the ship.”


The ship also has enhanced stealth features resulting in a reduced Radar Cross Section (RCS). That makes it difficult to detect at longer ranges.


The ship’s anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities are provided by indigenously developed rocket launchers, torpedo launchers and ASW helicopters, such as the recently inducted MH-60R Seahawk. The ship is equipped to fight under Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) warfare conditions. 


The defence ministry says a unique feature of this ship is the indigenisation level of approximately 75 per cent. Due to this focus on self-reliance, 42 out of 44 Indian warships and submarines under construction are being built in Indian shipyards.


In addition, in-principle sanction has been accorded for another 55 ships and submarines, out of which all be constructed in Indian shipyards.

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