INS Imphal: A Comparative Analysis of India’s Latest Destroyer against Global Counterparts

INS Imphal belong to the Visakhapatnam-class destroyers, which are a formidable addition to the Indian Navy’s fleet, representing a leap forward in naval capabilities.

INS Imphal is the third ship of the Vishakhapatnam Class destroyers of the Indian Navy and has been commissioned by the Navy Chief and the Minister of Defence in Mumbai. Being the latest ship in the Navy’s fleet and the most advanced one, let us see how it compares to its foreign counterparts.

INS Imphal belongs to the Visakhapatnam-class destroyers, which are a formidable addition to the Indian Navy’s fleet, representing a leap forward in naval capabilities. Named after the port city of Visakhapatnam, these destroyers are a part of India’s efforts to modernize and strengthen its naval forces.  India has commissioned three out of the 4 destroyers of this lineage. Let’s delve into the key features of the Visakhapatnam class, with a special focus on weapons, weapon systems, displacement, and force-multiplying abilities.

Design & Displacement

The Visakhapatnam-class is a successor to the Kolkata-class destroyers and is designed to be a versatile and potent platform for modern naval warfare. The destroyers have a displacement of around 7,400 tons, showcasing a robust and sizeable platform for hosting advanced weapon systems.

Weapons and Weapon Systems

Missile Systems:

   – BrahMos Missile: One of the most prominent features of the Visakhapatnam class is integrating the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile system. The BrahMos provides the destroyers with a powerful anti-ship and land-attack capability, with its impressive speed and precision. This missile can provide a range of 450km and there are plans to extend it up to 800km.

   – Barak-8 Missile: The destroyers are equipped with the Barak-8 surface-to-air missile system, which is a collaboration between India and Israel. The Barak-8 is designed to defend against a variety of airborne threats, including aircraft, helicopters, anti-ship missiles, and UAVs at a range of up to 120km

ASW Helicopters

Complementing the destroyers’ ASW capabilities are the onboard helicopters, typically the Indian Navy’s variants of the Sea King or the indigenous Dhruv helicopters, equipped with anti-submarine warfare systems.

Radar Systems:

   – Multi-Function Radar: The destroyers have advanced multi-function radar systems, providing long-range surveillance, tracking, and targeting capabilities. The exact range of these radar systems can vary but is typically 450km.

Force Multiplying Abilities:

The Visakhapatnam-class destroyers serve as force multipliers for the Indian Navy due to their advanced capabilities and versatile weapon systems. Their ability to conduct multi-dimensional operations, including anti-air, anti-surface, and anti-submarine warfare, makes them a strategic asset for the Navy.

These destroyers play a crucial role in enhancing the overall naval power projection of India, providing the country with a potent tool for both defensive and offensive operations. The inclusion of long-range missile systems and advanced radars significantly extends the reach and effectiveness of the Indian Navy in a variety of scenarios.

Type 055 Destroyer

The Type 055 destroyer, a flagship vessel of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) of China, stands at the forefront of modern naval technology, showcasing a formidable combination of advanced weaponry, expansive displacement, and force-multiplying capabilities. This article provides an in-depth look at the key features of the Type 055, with a special focus on its weapons, weapon systems, displacement, and the ranges of its radar, missiles, and the ship itself. The Chinese Navy operates 8 of these destroyers.

Design and Displacement

The Type 055 is a class of guided-missile destroyers, representing a significant leap forward for the Chinese Navy. With an estimated displacement of around 12,000 tons, these destroyers are among the largest and most powerful surface combatants in the world. 

  1. Missile Systems:

   – Vertical Launch System (VLS): The Type 055 is equipped with a vertical launch system capable of carrying a variety of missiles. This includes anti-ship missiles, land-attack cruise missiles, and anti-aircraft missiles, providing the destroyer with a comprehensive and flexible offensive and defensive capability.

   – YJ-18 Anti-Ship Cruise Missile: Type 055 is armed with the YJ-18, a highly capable anti-ship cruise missile known for its supersonic speed and advanced manoeuvrability reaching ranges of over 500km

  1. Anti-Aircraft Warfare Systems:

   – HQ-9 Surface-to-Air Missile: The destroyer features the HQ-9 long-range surface-to-air missile system, designed to engage both aircraft and missiles at ranges of 7-150km. Its extended range enhances the Type 055’s air defence capabilities.

  1. Radar Systems:

   – Type 346 Radar: The Type 055 is outfitted with the Type 346 AESA radar, a multifunctional radar system with long-range detection capabilities at over 500km. The radar plays a critical role in air defence and surface surveillance.

Force Multiplying Abilities:

The Type 055 destroyer serves as a force multiplier for the PLAN, providing a versatile and potent platform for a wide range of naval operations. Its expansive displacement, advanced missile systems, and radar capabilities contribute to China’s ability to project power and maintain maritime superiority in the region.

Arleigh Burke-class Destroyer

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, named after Admiral Arleigh Burke, is a testament to the United States Navy’s commitment to technological superiority and maritime dominance. Renowned for its versatility and advanced capabilities, this class of destroyers plays a pivotal role in contemporary naval warfare. This article provides a detailed exploration of the Arleigh Burke-class, with a special emphasis on its weapons, weapon systems, displacement, and force-multiplying abilities, including the ranges of its radar, missiles, and the ship itself.

Design and Displacement:

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are guided-missile destroyers with a design rooted in flexibility, survivability, and adaptability. With a displacement of approximately 9,200 tons, these destroyers strike a balance between size and agility, allowing them to operate in a variety of naval environments and have been deployed all over the world and have proven their capabilities in multiple operations.

 Weapons and Weapon Systems:

  1. Missile Systems:

   – Vertical Launch System (VLS): The heart of Arleigh Burke’s firepower lies in its VLS, capable of launching a diverse array of missiles. These include Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles having a range of almost 2000km and the Harpoon anti-ship missiles with a range of 120-200km with 90 VLS slots. The ship also hosts a multi-layered air defence system for short and long ranges that includes RIM-66M surface-to-air missile, RIM-156 surface-to-air missile, RIM-174A standard ERAM, RIM-161 anti-ballistic missile and RIM-162 ESSM.

– Aegis Combat System: The Arleigh Burke-class is equipped with the Aegis Combat System, an integrated naval weapons system that combines radar, missile launchers, and command and control capabilities. This system enhances the destroyer’s ability to engage multiple threats simultaneously.

  1. Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Systems:

   – MH-60R Seahawk Helicopters: The Arleigh Burke-class is often deployed with MH-60R Seahawk helicopters, equipped with advanced ASW capabilities, including sonar systems and torpedoes.

  1. Radar Systems:

   – AN/SPY-1 Radar: The AN/SPY-1 radar is a key component of the Aegis Combat System. It provides long-range surveillance and tracking of both air and missile threats, allowing the destroyer to operate effectively in anti-air warfare scenarios at 370 km.

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyers serve as force multipliers for the U.S. Navy, leveraging their advanced technology and versatile capabilities across a spectrum of operations with 73 ships on active duty. Their Aegis Combat System, integrated missile systems, and sophisticated radar technologies contribute to the class’s role as a linchpin in both defensive and offensive naval operations.

These destroyers are known for their adaptability, capable of conducting air defence, anti-submarine warfare, ballistic missile defence, and land-attack missions. Their presence in a naval task force significantly enhances the overall capabilities of the fleet.

Pakistan Navy’s Tughril class frigates

The Pakistan Navy does not operate any destroyers but operates various frigates with its flagship being the Tughril Class frigates.

The Hudong–Zhonghua Shipbuilding (HDZH)-built Tughril-class frigates, also known as Type 054A/P frigates, are a class of guided-missile frigates that have been converted for use by the Pakistan Navy.  A modified version of the Type 054A frigate, the Type 054A/P was created especially to fulfil the Pakistan Navy’s operating needs.

Design and Displacement:

The Tughril-class frigate boasts a state-of-the-art design that combines agility, stealth, and resilience. With a displacement of 4200 tonnes being much smaller in size as compared to the aforementioned ships.

Missile Systems:

The Tughril-class is equipped with 32 VLS surface-to-air missiles for the HQ16 anti-air missiles that provide a range of a mere 40km. The Cm 402 are carried in 22 VLS cells which have ranges up to 200-450km.

Radar Systems:

For situational awareness and early threat detection, the Tughril-class frigate is equipped with the SR2410C AESA radar that provides a range of 250km to detect aerial targets such as missiles, jets, UAVs etc.

The Tughril-class frigate is designed with force-multiplying capabilities to enhance its role in naval operations. The integration of advanced communication systems allows seamless coordination with other naval assets, creating a networked force that can respond rapidly to evolving situations. The frigate’s ability to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) further extends its surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, providing valuable intelligence to the overall fleet.