SP Guide Publications puts forth a well compiled articulation of issues, pursuits and accomplishments of the Indian Army, over the years

— General Manoj Pande, Indian Army Chief

I am confident that SP Guide Publications would continue to inform, inspire and influence.

— Admiral R. Hari Kumar, Indian Navy Chief

My compliments to SP Guide Publications for informative and credible reportage on contemporary aerospace issues over the past six decades.

— Air Chief Marshal V.R. Chaudhari, Indian Air Force Chief

Indian Navy Charts a Bold Course

In his annual Navy Day press conference, CNS Admiral R. Hari Kumar unveiled Indian Navy's ambitious plans for Next-Gen Stealth Destroyers and Twin Engine Deck-Based Fighters

December 4, 2023 By Ranjit Kumar, Strategic Affairs Analyst Photo(s): By PIB, Indian Navy, SpokespersonMoD / X, Dassault Aviation
Chief of Indian Navy, Admiral R. Hari Kumar

The Indian Navy is working on two futuristic projects to equip itself with more deadly firepower in the high seas. On the eve of Navy Day, the Chief of Indian Navy, Admiral R. Hari Kumar addressed the media, during which the Vice Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Sanjay Jasjit Singh revealed that work is progressing on the next generation Destroyers and Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter to be deployed on Indian Carriers.

Vice Admiral Singh told the media that the next generation destroyers would be of approximately 10,000 tonnes displacement and would be equipped with all indigenous state-of-the-art systems, that will give the Indian Navy an edge over all of its adversary in the maritime domain. As is known, the Indian navy is operating P-15 Alpha (Kolkata class) and P-15 bravo (Visakhapatnam class) destroyers which are of 7,400 tonnes displacement and have stealth characteristics. Under the Visakhapatnam class P-15 B destroyers INS Visakhapatnam and INS Mormugao have been handed over to Indian Navy whereas the third and latest destroyer, under this class, INS Imphal has been delivered. The fourth INS Surat has also been launched.

The next-generation destroyers, with approximately 10,000 tonnes displacement, will feature all-indigenous state-of-the-art systems, giving the Indian Navy a strategic advantage in the maritime domain

Under the Visakhapatnam class P-15 B destroyers (Left) INS Visakhapatnam and (Right) INS Mormugao have been handed over to Indian Navy

Vice Admiral Singh revealed that the Directorate of Naval Design is already working on this and after the conceptualisation of this most deadly and advanced warship of Indian Navy, it would take 5-10 years to be delivered. The Naval Chief Admiral Hari Kumar expressed the hope that increase in efficiency of Indian shipyards over the years would enable the Indian Navy to have this most advanced Stealth Destroyers within ten years.

Navy Chief Admiral Hari Kumar revealed that 67 warships are under construction, with 65 being built in India, contributing to the goal of having 170-175 warships by 2035

Describing the P-15 Alpha and P-15 Bravo as hugely successful indigenously designed warship, Admiral Singh said that with each level and generation, we have learnt a lot and have been able to add to the combat capability. INS Imphal is being touted as one of the most powerful and largest destroyers built in India, is equipped with the surface-to-surface BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles and Barak-8 Medium Range surface to air missiles (MRSAM).

INS Imphal is being touted as one of the most powerful and largest destroyers built in India

Navy Chief Admiral Hari Kumar said that at present 67 warships are under various phase of construction, of which 65 warships are being built in India. The Navy Chief clarified that earlier the Navy had estimated target of 170-175 warships by the end of decade, but now this will be delayed and will be ready by 2035. Regarding the much discussed second indigenous aircraft carrier, Admiral Hari Kumar stated that, "he was awaiting the 'Acceptance of Necessity' from the Defence Acquisition Council" and the process is likely to be finalised by the end of next year.

Plans for the second indigenous aircraft carrier await approval from the Defence Acquisition Council, and India is in the process of acquiring 26 Marine Rafale aircraft, with negotiations pending with Dassault Aviation

Regarding the reported decision of the government to acquire 26 Marine Rafale aircraft, Admiral Hari Kumar said that while the Defence Acquisition Council had approved the proposal, India has sent the Letter of Request (LoR) to the French manufacturer Dassault Aviation. After the French company responds to the proposal, the price negotiation will commence.

Indian government to acquire 26 Marine Rafale aircraft

Talking about the capabilities of Indian shipbuilding industry, Admiral Hari Kumar said that there has been substantial progress in the industry and it is now almost equal to world standard. The Indian shipyards are now building most advanced modern generation destroyers. "We feel that programmes like P-75(I), where we are looking at strategic partnerships with Indian and foreign companies, would give India capabilities to design, develop and produce our own submarines, ships, aircraft. As is known, the P-75(I) is a decade and half old proposal. The P-75(I) experience will enable India to design and produce indigenous warships." India plans to manufacture diesel - electric attack submarines under P-75(I) equipped with air - independent propulsion systems.

The Indian Navy aims to manufacture Twin Engine Deck-based fighters, replacing the MiG-29K, with specifications already prepared, and a prototype expected in four to six years, commencing production 2-3 years after that

The Naval Chief also revealed the proposal to manufacture Twin Engine Deck based fighters for replacing MiG-29K, acquired from Russia, which will cross service life by the end of this decade. The Naval Chief disclosed that this will be a multi-role fighter and would be made by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. Its specifications have already been prepared and a prototype is expected in four to six years and production would commence after 2-3 years. He expressed hope that by 2032 onwards, the Navy would be able to get these Deck based fighters from HAL. He said that Indian Navy would source all its ships, submarines, helicopters, aircraft from domestic sources.

Admiral Kumar said that some of the products would specifically be made for Indian Navy, which would not be shared to other countries. He said that new age disruptive technologies, would be developed exclusively for Indian Navy.

Asked about increasing forays of Chinese naval ships in Indian Ocean, Admiral Kumar said that China may have a legitimate reason to be present in the Indian Ocean Region, but we keep an eye on what all is happening here. He said that there are disputes in Indo-Pacific region which may turn into conflicts, besides there are challenges like drug trafficking, piracy, illegal migration and robbery and to maintain peace and tranquility in the Indo-pacific, it is important that dialogues continue. The Naval Chief said that India keeps updating its operational and capability development plans to counter Chinese expanding presence in the Indian Ocean Region as well as it's growing collusiveness with Pakistan in the maritime domain. China is building eight diesel electric submarines for Pakistan, which will present a big challenge to Indian Navy.