New Delhi: With the commissioning of ‘Visakhapatnam’, the first stealth guided missile destroyer ship of the Project 15B and Vela, the fourth submarine of Project-75 next week, India’s maritime power will get further boost. And, in early December 2021, the launch of first ship of Survey Vessel Large project, Sandhayak will take place.
The commissioning of a guided-missile destroyer and a Kalvari-class submarine next week by Indian Navy will add to its combat capability in dealing with the rapidly changing security environment in the Indian Ocean region.
The warship ‘Visakhapatnam’ will be commissioned by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh will be the chief guest at the induction ceremony of Vela.
The curtain raiser for the Commissioning ceremony and the launch was held on November 16, 2021 by VAdm SN Ghormade, the Vice Chief of Naval Staff (VCNS) with Chief of Materiel, Controller of Warship Production & Acquisition, Director General of Naval Design, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Submarines), Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Policy & Plans), Director (Submarines & Heavy Engineering), MDL and Director (Shipbuilding), GRSE in attendance.
Speaking on the occasion, the VCNS stated that the event highlights the capability and capacity of, not just the Indian Navy but also of MDL, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and MSMEs in realizing the national objectives of “Make in India” and “AtmaNirbhar Bharat”. He said destroyer ‘Visakhapatnam’ will be commissioned on November 21 while submarine Vela will be inducted into the force on November 25.
The VCNS also brought out that presently, 39 Naval ships and submarines are being constructed in various shipyards. This in turn has created enormous opportunities for not only the indigenous shipbuilding industry but also the associated support industries.
“The induction of INS Visakhapatnam and INS Vela, is thus not only another step towards strengthening our defence preparedness but also our humble tribute to the sacrifices made by our freedom fighters for the independence of the nation and our brave soldiers during the 1971 war,” he said.
Visakhapatnam has been constructed using indigenous steel DMR 249A and is amongst the largest destroyers constructed in India with an overall length of 163m and displacement of over 7400 tons. The ship has a significant indigenous content of approx. 75%. The ship is a potent platform capable of undertaking multifarious task and missions spanning the full spectrum of maritime warfare.
Visakhapatnam is equipped with array of weapons & sensors, which include supersonic surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, medium and short-range guns, anti-submarine rockets and advanced electronic warfare and communication suit’s. The ship is propelled by a powerful combined gas and gas propulsion which enables her speed of over 30 knots. The ship has the capability of embarking two integrated helicopters to further extend her reach. The ship boasts of a very high level of automation with sophisticated digital networks, Combat Management System and Integrated Platform Management System.
With the changing power dynamics in the Indian Ocean Region, Visakhapatnam will augment the Indian Navy’s mobility, reach and flexibility towards accomplishment of its role and tasks.
“The commissioning of Visakhapatnam will reaffirm India’s presence amongst an elite group of nations with capability to design and build advanced warships,” the Vice Admiral said. He said apart from myriad indigenous equipment in the ‘float’ and ‘move’ categories, the destroyer is also installed with many major indigenous weapons such as indigenous medium-range surface-to-air missile systems developed by Bharat Electronics Ltd, surface-to-surface missiles by Brahmos Aerospace and torpedo tubes and launchers by L&T.
Six submarines are being constructed under the Project-75. With the commissioning of Vela, the project would have crossed the half way mark. These submarines are being constructed at MDL and construction is based on the French Scorpene class design Naval Group, the French collaborator for this project. The submarine has been slotted to join the submarine fleet of the Western Naval Command. The indigenous construction of submarines is indicative of the maturity of the Indian construction capability. Vela is the fourth Submarine and has completed most of its trials and is combat worthy and ready to take on operational tasking.
“Submarine building is a sophisticated exercise involving placing small components sequentially and logically inside the submarine as the space within is extremely constricted. Very few countries possess this ability in their industrial capacity. India has proven its capability to build our own submarines for the past 25 years,” Vice Admiral Ghormade said.
‘Sandhyak’ is the first of the four Survey Vessels (Large) (SVL) Project being built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata for Indian Navy. These large Survey ships are envisaged to replace the existing Sandhayak Class survey ships are equipped with new generation hydrographic equipment including AUVs, ROVs, 11m survey boats and advanced indigenous data acquisition systems to collect and analyze for collecting oceanographic and geophysical data in the Indian Ocean Region.