In a significant leap forward for India’s maritime capabilities, INS Imphal, the third ship of the Visakhapatnam Class destroyers or the Project 15B Class Destroyers has emerged as a cornerstone of technological innovation and strategic prowess.
The Project 15B Class Destroyers, epitomize the indigenous evolution of naval technology and engineering. Crafted by the Indian Navy’s Warship Design Bureau (WDB) and brought to life by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd in Mumbai, these warships stand as a testament to India’s commitment to advancing its naval capabilities.
At the heart of this technological marvel is the concept of ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat,’ or self-reliant India. The Project 15B Class Destroyers, with their lead ship being INS Visakhapatnam, signify India’s determination to design, build, and deploy cutting-edge naval assets entirely within its borders. This pursuit of self-sufficiency is not merely a strategic choice but a symbol of India’s growing competence in advanced naval engineering.
This class of ships boast a displacement of 7,400 tons and an impressive overall length of 164 meters. Armed with an array of cutting-edge weapons and sensors, including surface-to-air missiles, anti-ship missiles, and torpedoes, it stands as a formidable force in naval operations. The vessel’s Combined Gas and Gas (COGAG) propulsion system, driven by four gas turbines, allows it to achieve speeds exceeding 30 knots (56 km/h), a critical feature for swift and strategic naval manoeuvres.
What distinguishes Visakhapatnam destroyers and its sister ships is the high degree of indigenous content, comprising approximately 75% of their components. This self-sufficiency is the result of collaborations with leading Indian manufacturers. Key contributions include Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missiles from BEL (Bangalore), BrahMos Surface-to-Surface Missiles from BrahMos Aerospace (New Delhi), Indigenous Torpedo Tube Launchers and Anti-Submarine Indigenous Rocket Launchers from Larsen & Toubro (Mumbai), and the 76mm Super Rapid Gun Mount from BHEL (Haridwar).
The inception of the first ship of the class, INS Visakhapatnam dates back to the keel-laying ceremony on October 12, 2013, and it was launched into water on April 20, 2015. Following meticulous construction, the vessel embarked on its maiden sea trials on April 29, 2021. The comprehensive trial phase, including assessments in harbour and open seas, ensured the vessel’s seaworthiness and operational readiness.
The historical significance of INS Visakhapatnam’s journey, leading the fleet as the lead ship of Project 15B. This class of destroyers marks a natural progression from the Kolkata class (Project 15A) destroyers commissioned in the preceding decade. The technological advancements incorporated in these vessels showcase India’s commitment to staying at the forefront of maritime defence capabilities.
The strategic implications of these destroyers’ deployment are far-reaching. As versatile and formidable naval assets, they contribute significantly to India’s maritime security architecture, ensuring robust defence capabilities in the strategically vital Indian Ocean Region. The vessels’ versatility positions them to address diverse challenges, from conventional naval warfare to humanitarian and disaster relief operations.
The commissioning of the third ship of this class, INS Imphal today which was designed by the Indian Navy’s Warship Design Bureau (WDB) and meticulously crafted by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd, Mumbai, Imphal stands tall as one of the world’s most technologically advanced warships. With a displacement of 7,400 tons and an overall length of 164 meters, this guided missile destroyer boasts state-of-the-art weapons and sensors, including surface-to-air missiles, anti-ship missiles, and torpedoes. Propelled by a Combined Gas and Gas (COGAG) propulsion set with four gas turbines, Imphal can achieve speeds exceeding 30 knots (56 km/h).
A notable feature of Imphal is its high indigenous content, constituting approximately 75% of its components. This includes contributions from leading Indian manufacturers, such as BEL (Bangalore) for Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missiles, BrahMos Aerospace (New Delhi) for BrahMos Surface-to-Surface Missiles, Larsen & Toubro (Mumbai) for Indigenous Torpedo Tube Launchers and Anti-Submarine Indigenous Rocket Launchers, and BHEL (Haridwar) for the 76mm Super Rapid Gun Mount.
Imphal’s remarkable journey began on May 19, 2017, with the laying of its keel, followed by its launch into water on April 20, 2019. The destroyer embarked on its maiden sea trials on April 28, 2023, undergoing extensive trials in both harbour and open sea waters. Impressively, Imphal achieved delivery within a record timeframe of only six months from the commencement of sea trials, making it the shortest duration for the construction and testing of any indigenous destroyer.
This achievement resonates deeply with the ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) initiative championed by the Government of India. The induction of Imphal into the naval fleet reflects the collaborative efforts of numerous stakeholders and amplifies India’s maritime prowess in the strategically vital Indian Ocean Region.
In conclusion, the Project 15B Class Destroyers, with INS Visakhapatnam leading the charge, stand as a testament to India’s naval prowess and self-sufficiency. The vessels’ integration into the Indian Navy marks a historic moment, underscoring the nation’s capability to design, construct, and deploy advanced naval assets independently. As India charts a new horizon in naval power, these destroyers epitomize the nation’s maritime aspirations and its commitment to being a formidable force on the high seas.