Breaking New Grounds in Indigenous Warship Building

“INS Kolkata is an example of our military might, showcasing our capabilities to the world. In today’s world fighting and winning wars is less difficult. To ensure that there is no war, one has to have a modernised and powerful military coupled with state-of-the-art weaponry so that no one can dare cast their evil eye on us,”   — Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Issue: 4 / 2014By Rear Admiral Sushil Ramsay (Retd)Photo(s): By Indian Navy

INS Kolkata – Stealth Destroyer

Commissioning the largest ever indigenous warship, INS Kolkata into the Indian Navy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it will deter anyone from casting their ‘evil eye on India’. “INS Kolkata is an example of our military might, showcasing our capabilities to the world. In today’s world fighting and winning wars is less difficult. To ensure that there is no war, one has to have a modernised and powerful military coupled with state-of-the-art weaponry so that no one can dare cast their evil eye on us,” Modi said. Further, he added, “INS Kolkata is a floating technology marvel. It will provide security to those who use the sea route to carry out trade activities.”

The commissioning ceremony of INS Kolkata on August 16, 2014, was attended by the Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, the Governor of Maharashtra K. Sankaranarayanan, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan and the Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral R.K. Dhowan, in addition to many other serving and retired defence personnel.

INS Kolkata is the lead ship of Project 15A, Guided Missile Stealth Destroyer, until now the largest size of indigenously constructed warship. The other two ships of the class to follow are Kochi and Chennai. The ship is 164 metres wide and has a full load displacement of 7,400 tonnes. She is manned by 30 officers and 330 sailors. The stealth destroyer has been designed by IN’s own Design Bureau, Principal Director Naval Design (Surface Ship Group) and is indigenously constructed by the Mazagon Dock Ltd. Mumbai, the leading defence shipyard of the country. INS Kolkata warship is a technology demonstrator and will showcase a giant leap of shipbuilding technology in the country.

INS Kolkata is the first Indian Naval destroyer to have multi functional (MF) conformal array surveillance radar - the MF- Star to provide target data to long-range surface to air missile system (LRSAM) to be delivered shortly. The MFR and LRSAM system is a joint venture of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. She is also equipped with the advanced anti-ship surface to surface missiles - the BrahMos. The active electronic tower array sonar (ATAS) is also installed.

Admiral Arun Prakash, former Chief of the Naval Staff, critically evaluated the commissioning of INS Kolkata, when he opined that Kolkata’s commissioning is an opportune juncture to strike a balance sheet which may help us break out of the vicious circle of delayed indigenous projects and increasing import dependency.

He added, on the positive side, the Directorate General of Naval Design, which started in the 1960s with the modified Leander class frigates, has over the years brought great credit for itself by creating a series of elegant, functional and combat-worthy warships of the Delhi, Shivalik and now the Kolkata class. The Kolkata’s design claims ‘stealth’ features, which should render it difficult for the adversary to detect. The IN’s Weapon and Electronic Systems Engineering Establishment (WESEE) undertook the herculean task of integrating the melange of Russian, Israeli, Dutch, French, Italian, and Indian systems which went into this ship. Nowhere else in the world is such a complex undertaking attempted, but WESEE’s endeavours have been invariably rewarded with success. To WESEE also goes huge credit for developing the electronic nerve-centre of the ship, its combat management system or CMS—again a unique and sterling achievement.

He further commented that showing eminent good sense and pragmatism, the DRDO leadership agreed to the Navy’s proposal for a path-breaking tripartite collaborative arrangement with the Israelis for the development of the LRSAM. The funding as well as manpower liabilities were shared by the IN and DRDO. The project, involving DRDO scientists, naval engineers and the defence-industry has rendered tremendous benefits to all three participants and, notwithstanding development delays, will bring the IN to front rank of navy technologies.

INS Kamorta – ASW Corvette

Breaking new grounds in the indigenous warship building, the first indigenously designed and built stealth anti-submarine warfare corvette (ASW), INS Kamorta, under Project 28 was commissioned at an impressive ceremony at Visakhapatnam on, August 23, 2014. The ASW Corvette, the first of its kind was completely designed on their own by the Principal Director Naval Design (Surface Ship Group) and built by the defence shipyard Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited (GRSE), Kolkata. The other major milestone of Project 28 is that this is the first warship of the IN, the weapon systems of which are manufactured in the country. INS Kamorta is first of the four ASW Stealth Corvettes.

The Defence Minister, Arun Jaitley, who commissioned INS Kamorta, described the development as ‘the coming of age of our shipbuilding industry’. Addressing the gathering he congratulated the Indian Navy, GRSE and other Indian PSUs which were involved in the project and said that the induction of INS Kamorta adds thrust to the nation’s ongoing endeavours of indigenisation of weaponry.

“During the past five decades, the Naval Design Directorate has constructed 119 warships and submarines of various categories. Another 42 are being built at various public and private shipyards. We have moved on from the biggest buyers to manufacturers of the ships as the ship-building industry in the country is growing leaps and bounds,” he said. He stressed the need to strengthen India’s water line security. “I am sure INS Kamorta will serve this country effectively for a very long time. Our effective preparedness is always the best guarantee for peace in this region and our forces have been discharging their duty effectively,” he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Admiral R.K. Dhowan, the Chief of the Naval Staff, recalled that the earlier version of Kamorta of the Indian Navy was a Petya class corvette acquired from erstwhile Soviet Union and said the new INS Kamorta has been 90 per cent indigenously built. “The Indian Navy is a multi-dimensional force. It is the responsibility of the Navy to ensure that the Indian maritime interests which have vital relationship with the nation’s economic growth, are allowed to develop unhindered,” he said.

Admiral R.K. Dhowan, Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Satish Soni, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral A.K. Verma (Retd), CMD of GRSE and various other dignitaries were also present during the commissioning ceremony.

Measuring 110 metres in length, 14 metres in breadth and displacing 3,500 tonnes, the ship can achieve speed of 25 Knots. The ship is fitted with anti-submarine rockets and torpedoes, medium and close-in weapon systems and indigenous surveillance radar Revathi. The ship is also capable of carrying an integral ASW helicopter. Kamorta also boasts of other “firsts” such as a foldable Hangar Door and a Rail-less Helicopter Traversing System, which will give helicopter operations from the corvette a significant edge over other warships.

Jaitley said in the last three months, both the Prime Minister and he had been associated with many an accretions made into the Indian Navy namely, INS Vikramaditya, INS Kolkata and INS Kamorta. But this one was special because of the high indigenous content. He said, at the moment, 42 warships are under construction in various shipyards of the country which is a welcome sign of the health of the shipbuilding industry. He expressed confidence that the measures taken by the government will infuse healthy competitive spirit between the public and private shipyards.

Enhanced stealth features have been achieved by ‘X’ form of Hull, full beam superstructure, inclined ship sides and use of Infrared Signature Suppression system for cooling the Engine and Generator exhausts. The ship has a ‘Combination of Diesel and Diesel’ propulsion system with two Diesel Engines along with one gearbox on each shaft. The common raft mounted gearbox and Diesel Engines give the vessel very low radiated underwater noise. This is well complemented with an efficient propeller which has high cavitations inception speed. The design also incorporates active shaft grounding system and multi-zone Impressed Current Cathodic Protection for suppression of Extremely Low Frequency Electromagnetic signature. The very low under water acoustic signature makes it a ‘silent killer on the prowl’.

INS Kamorta has a multitude of systems such as Total Atmospheric Control, Integrated Platform Management, Integrated Bridge, Battle Damage Control and Personnel Locator System. This provides a contemporary and process oriented System of Systems for optimal functioning of the warship. The ship has a complement of about 15 officers and 180 sailors. The accommodation and living spaces have been designed with special emphasis on ergonomics and habitability.