Indian Naval Ship (INS) Mormugao, second warship of the P15B class of stealth guided-missile destroyers, was commissioned into the Indian Navy. The event marked the formal induction of the second of the four Visakhapatnam class destroyers.

 

Background of Project 15B

  • India’s indigenous Destroyer construction programme started in late 1990s with three Delhi class (P-15 class) warships – INS Delhi, INS Mysore, and INS Mumbai.
  • A ship ‘class’ describes a group of vessels of similar tonnage, usage, capabilities, and weaponry.
  • Later, as a follow up, the Indian Navy has commissioned three guided missile destroyers of the Kolkata class under the P-15A.
  • These three missile destroyers were – — INS Kolkata, INS Kochi, and INS Chennai.
  • Presently, a total of four warships are planned under the P-15B (Visakhapatnam Class). These four warships are – Visakhapatnam, Mormugao, Imphal, Surat.
  • The Destroyers come next only to an Aircraft Carrier in terms of their reach and endurance

 

About Project 15B

  • P15B destroyers incorporate new design concepts for improved survivability, seakeeping and manoeuvrability.
    • Enhanced stealth has also been achieved, making the ships difficult to detect.
  • With a significantly increased indigenous content, P15B destroyers are a hallmark of self-reliance in warship design and building and a shining example of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.
  • The Project 15B class of guided-missile destroyers, an improved variant of the Kolkata-class destroyers, are built by Mazagaon Dock Limited (MDL) for the Indian Navy.
    • It has been designed by the Warship Design Bureau, Indian Navy’s in-house warship design body.
  • The contract for the construction of four Project 15B destroyers was signed in January 2011.
  • The lead ship under this project, INS Visakhapatnam (Pennant D66) was commissioned into the Navy in November 2021.

 

About ‘INS Mormugao’

  • Construction —
      • The keel of Mormugao (Yard 12705), was laid in June 2015 and the ship was launched in September 2016 by then Defence Minister late Manohar Parrikar.
      • Y12705 (now INS Mormugao) completed basin trials on December 15, 2021, and undertook her first sea sortie on December 19, 2021, when Goa celebrated 60 years of liberation from Portuguese rule.
      • The ship has around 75 per cent indigenous content.
  • Specifications and weaponry —
  • Physical features
    • INS Mormugao — and the other three ships in the class — are 163 m long and 17.4 m wide, with a displacement of 7,300 tonnes.
    • The propulsion system allows the ship to reach a maximum speed of 30 knots (55 km/h), and a maximum range of 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km).
  • Firepower
    • The ship’s firepower consists of —
      • vertically launched Barak-8 surface-to-air missiles and
      • BrahMos surface-to-surface cruise missiles for long-range engagement of shore- and sea-based targets.
    • The destroyer will also be armed with indigenously developed 533 mm torpedo launchers and RBU-6000 anti-submarine rocket launchers.
    • It can operate two multi-role helicopters — Sea King or HAL Dhruv.
  • State-of-the-art combat management system
    • These ships have a total atmospheric control system (TACS) that offers protection to the crew from chemical, biological, and nuclear threats.
    • They also have a state-of-the-art combat management system that can evaluate threats using analytical tools and create a tactical picture that includes available resources on board.

 

Strategic significance

  • Technically, destroyers are a category of warships that have high speed, manoeuvrability, and longer endurance to be part of the escort for larger vessels in a fleet, or a carrier battle group also known as a carrier strike group.
  • Because of their speed, manoeuvrability, and strike capability, guided missile destroyers are key assets in various types of naval operations, mainly offensive.
  • The state of art stealth feature ensures it has the radar signature of a very small ship, and a very high indigenous component gives it a strategic edge.
  • The Visakhapatnam class is one of the most advanced ships in the Indian Navy, which can operate as an independent offence platform even without being part of a large formation.
  • With its modern sensors and communication facilities, the Visakhapatnam class is a key asset in modern network centric warfare.