On October 28, Indian shipbuilder Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) delivered its first P15B Guided Missile Destroyer (DDG) to the Indian Navy in Mumbai.
The P15B Guided Missile Destroyer christened Visakhapatnam is the first of four vessels that have been ordered by the Indian Navy. The first-in-class ship was laid down in October 2013 and launched in April 2015.
It was followed by the launch of INS Mormugao in September 2016 and in April 2019, a third destroyer, Imphal, was launched. The fourth and final vessel of the class, named Porbandar is expected to be launched sometime in 2022. All four destroyers are being built at MDL.
Visakhapatnam is scheduled to be commissioned in December 2021.
In a statement the Indian Navy said, “Induction of the destroyer will not only enhance combat readiness of the Indian Navy but will also be a major leap forward towards our quest for Aatmanirbhar Bharat”.
The AatmaNirbhar Bharat is a vision of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi of making India a self-reliant nation.
Ships belonging to the Project 15B (P15B) Visakhapatnam-class form part of the latest destroyer design currently under construction for the Indian Navy. These ships have been designed indigenously by the Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design, New Delhi.
Each ship spans 163 metres in length and 17.4 metres at beam and displaces 7,300 tonnes. These ships will be propelled by four gas turbines to achieve speed in excess of 30 knots.
The P15B destroyers incorporate design concepts for improved survivability, sea keeping, stealth and manoeuvrability, said the Indian Navy in a statement.
Enhanced stealth features have been incorporated into the design of the destroyer, including shaping of the hull and use of radar transparent deck fittings which makes it difficult to detect.
The design around the bridge area appears to be the most significant design change compared to the Kolkata-class. P15B ships will be equipped to carry and operate two multi-role helicopters.
Incidentally, the Visakhapatnam-class shares several weapon systems and sensors with the Kolkata-class (Project 15A) of destroyers. Both classes have the IAI EL/M-2248 MF-STAR S-band AESA multi-function radar, BEL HUMSA-NG bow sonar and Thales LW-08 D-band air search radar.
Like its predecessor, the Project 15B will be fitted with 32x Barak 8 surface to air missiles, which will be launched from VLS cells; it is also equipped with 16 BrahMos anti-ship and land-attack cruise missiles.
Although initially, the Visakhapatnam-class was set to receive a 127mm main gun from BAE Systems, its main gun continues to remain 76mm from Leonardo, much like the Kolkata-class.