The lead ship of new Project 15B vessels, dubbed Visakhapatnam class, was handed over to the Indian Navy last week. The formal induction ceremony will be held on November 18 under the presence of Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
The Indian Navy has finally got a long-delayed boost with a new indigenous guided-missile destroyer, as India’s second aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, undergoes another set of sea trials before nearing its official commissioning next year.
INS Visakhapatnam, the first of the four 7,400-tonne stealth guided-missile destroyer, was constructed at Mazagon Docks Limited in Mumbai. The class is the successor to the previous Kolkata Class destroyer, with heavy upgrades and improvement over previous ships, including a modern suite and greater feature flexibility. INS Visakhapatnam was intended to be delivered in 2018, but due to technical hurdles, she was handed over to the Navy on Thursday after a delay of well over three years.
Three more destroyers – named Mormugao, Imphal, and Surat – will follow over the next few years. The overall cost of the four warships is over nearly $5 billion. These four vessels will be spear-tip vessels of future CBGs, which the Indian Navy will field. They will replace older Rajput class Destroyers, which have been in service with the Indian Navy for three decades.
The remaining three vessels in the class will be commissioned every year to allow for a smooth transition of induction into the force, and will add significant strength to the Indian Navy’s Bluewater doctrine and global operations at deep seas with its expanded coverage in the Indo-Pacific region.
The second ship, INS Mormugao, is currently in sea trials. It is expected to be commissioned next year. The third ship, INS Imphal, was launched on April 20, 2019, and is at an advanced stage of outfitting. And finally, the fourth ship will be launched within the current financial year. The Indian Navy will also be inducting the fourth submarine in Scorpene-class, INS Vela, this year.