The event took place at Naval Dockyard in Mumbai, in presence of Rajnath Singh, the Defence Minister of India. It marked the formal induction of the second of the four ‘Visakhapatnam’ class destroyers, indigenously designed by the Indian Navy’s in-house organisation Warship Design Bureau and constructed by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL), Mumbai.
“INS Mormugao is one of the world’s most technologically-advanced missile carriers. With over 75% indigenous content, it is a testimony to India’s excellence in design and development of warships and a shining example of our growing indigenous defence production capabilities. The warship will meet the present and future needs of our country as well as of our friendly countries across the globe,”
Rajnath Singh, the Defence Minister of India
Speaking on the occasion, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar stated that the commissioning of INS Mormugao is indicative of the large strides India has taken in warship design and building capability over the last decade. He added that the warship is a true illustration of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Make in India’ initiative and it reinforces the Navy’s commitment to supporting India’s transformation into a global ship-building hub. The warship, with her multi-dimensional combat capability, will form part of the Western Fleet – the sword arm of the Indian Navy, he said.
About Project 15B / Visakhapatnam-class destroyers
The contract for four ships of Project 15B was signed on 28 January 2011. This Project is a follow-on of the Kolkata class (Project 15A) destroyers commissioned in the last decade and the lead ship of the Project – INS Visakhapatnam was commissioned into the Indian Navy on 21 November 2021.
Designed by the Warship Design Bureau, the Indian Navy’s in-house organization; and built by M/s Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd, Mumbai; the four ships of the Project are christened after major cities from all four corners of the country, viz. Visakhapatnam, Mormugao, Imphal and Surat.
The Project 15B ships are 163 meters long and 17 meters wide, displace 7400 tonnes when fully loaded, and have a maximum speed of 30 knots. The overall indigenous content of the project is approx. 75%:
- Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missiles (BEL, Bangalore)
- BrahMos Surface-to-Surface Missiles (BrahMos Aerospace, New Delhi)
- Indigenous Torpedo Tube Launchers (Larsen & Toubro, Mumbai)
- Anti-Submarine Indigenous Rocket Launchers (Larsen & Toubro, Mumbai)
- 76mm Super Rapid Gun Mount (BHEL, Haridwar)
According to the Indian Navy, the P15B destroyers incorporate new design concepts for improved survivability, seakeeping, stealth, and maneuverability. Enhanced stealth features have been achieved through the shaping of the hull and the use of radar-transparent deck fittings which make these ships difficult to detect. The design around the bridge area appears to be the main design change compared to the preceding Kolkata-class. P15B ships will be equipped to carry and operate two multi-role helicopters.
The Visakhapatnam-class shares several sensors and weapon systems with its preceding design, the Kolkata-class (Project 15A) of destroyers: The IAI EL/M-2248 MF-STAR S-band AESA multi-function radar, Thales LW-08 D-band air search radar, BEL HUMSA-NG bow sonar are fitted on both classes. Like Project 15A, Project 15B will be fitted with 32x Barak 8 surface-to-air missiles (launched from VLS cells) as well as 16 BrahMos anti-ship and land-attack cruise missiles.
While the Visakhapatnam-class was initially set to receive a 127mm main gun (by BAE Systems), the main gun is finally similar to that of the Kolkata-class: 76mm by Leonardo.
Visakhapatnam is the first of four vessels on order for the Indian Navy. The first-in-class ship was laid down in October 2013 and launched in April 2015. It was followed by INS Mormugao which was launched in September 2016 and commissioned in December 2022. The third destroyer, Imphal, was launched in April 2019. The fourth and final vessel of the class will be Surat which was launched in May 2022. All four destroyers are being built at MDL.