Guided Mis­sile De­stroyer INS Mor­mu­gao Launched by In­dian Navy

Adds “more teeth” to the Navy

India Strategic - - CONTENTS - By Sh­weta Se­h­gal

NEW DELHI. Cheers and claps filled the air as the 7,300-tonne INS Mor­mu­gao cruised into the Ara­bian Sea for the first time Septem­ber 17 in Mum­bai adding to the strength of the In­dian Navy.

De­signed in­dige­nously by the Direc­torate of Naval De­sign and built by govern­ment- run Maz­gaon Dock Ship­builders Ltd (MDL), it be­longs to Visakha­p­at­nam class of ships be­ing con­structed un­der Project 15B. The adorned ship was launched by Pres­i­dent of Navy Wives Wel­fare As­so­ci­a­tion (NWWA) Reena Lanba, wife of Ad­mi­ral Su­nil Lanba, Chief of Naval Staff at the launch func­tion at MDL.

Speak­ing at the event, Ad­mi­ral Lanba praised the ship say­ing, “This ship serves the Make in In­dia drive of the coun­try as it is in­dige­nously built. It se­cures the sea in a bet­ter way. Con­tract for this ship was signed in Jan­uary 2011. It can be com­pared with best ships in the world and has been de­vel­oped by our own de­sign­ers at DRDO as well as other govern­ment agen­cies and pri­vate com­pa­nies”.

INS Mor­mu­gao is de­signed to ac­com­mo­date 50 of­fi­cers and 250 sailors. Pow­ered by Ukrainian gas tur­bine en­gines, it has a max­i­mum speed of over 30 knots ( 56 km/ hr ap­prox) and is yet to un­dergo cer­tain tests by the In­dian Navy. It is the sec­ond war­ship un­der Project 15B. First be­ing INS Visakha­p­at­nam whose keel was laid in Oc­to­ber 2013 and launched April 20, 2015. Ships un­der this class are con­tem­po­rary mis­sile de­stroy­ers armed with state of art weapons pack­age in ex­ten­sion of the fam­ily of Kolkata and Delhi Class ships.

Equipped with sur­face-to-sur­face mis­siles, anti- sub­ma­rine launch­ers, multi mis­sion radar for sur­veil­lance along with medium range air/sur­face sur­veil­lance radar and other ad­vanced elec­tronic war­fare and de­coys, this 163.2 me­tres long ship also has Barak-8 long range sur­face- to- air mis­siles, jointly de­vel­oped by Is­rael and In­dia, fit­ted on board. Mor­mu­gao is adept to carry two anti-sub­ma­rine war­fare he­li­copters. State-of-the-art rail- less helo travers­ing sys­tem is also be­ing in­tro­duced on these ships for ef­fi­cient he­li­copter han­dling on board.

Stealth has been a piv­otal thrust area in P15B de­sign. Its ad­vanced stealth fea­tures have been at­tained through shap­ing of hull and use of radar trans­par­ent deck fit­tings. It is a kind of war­ship which can launch mis­siles whose tra­jec­to­ries can be mod­i­fied dur­ing flight to at­tack mo­bile tar­gets. These fea­tures make the Project 15B ships dif­fi­cult to de­tect and spe­cially Mur­mo­gao which will be stealth­ier than INS Visakha­p­at­nam, its pre­de­ces­sor.

The ship’s op­er­a­tional range is around 4,000 nau­ti­cal miles.

The much talked about sen­sor for Mor­mu­gao is its Multi- Func­tion Sur­veil­lance Threat Alert Radar (MFSTAR) which is de­signed by Is­rael to

track tar­gets in the air hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres away. Once a lock- on is ac­com­plished, the MF-STAR can di­rect sev­eral Barak 8 mis­siles to in­ter­cept the tar­gets. It is ca­pa­ble of track­ing tar­gets both in air and on sur­face and is in­stalled on stealth de­stroyer INS Kolkata and the In­dige­nous Air­craft Car­rier (IAC) INS Vikrant.

Ad­mi­ral Lanba ex­pressed con­cern over the grow­ing short­fall in the num­ber of fleets say­ing, “There is a press­ing need to build more such ships and re­duce the con­struc­tion pe­riod of fu­ture ves­sels.” Since 1960, In­dian Navy and MDL are build­ing ships to­gether, he added.

Maz­gaon Ship­yard, which plans to out­source work for 10 blocks to in­clude pri­vate ship build­ing yard in the pro­gramme, has since 2010 pro­vided one ma­jor war­ship to the In­dian Navy al­most ev­ery year. Be­gin­ning the so­phis­ti­cated stealth fri­gate INS Shiva­lik, it later de­liv­ered INS Sahyadri and Sat­pura of the same class fol­lowed by stealth de­stroyer INS Kolkata and INS Kochi. INS Chennai, the third and last de­stroyer of Project 15A, was de­liv­ered in Au­gust 2016 and is due for com­mis­sion­ing next month. Dur­ing this pe­riod, MDL has also con­structed two highly so­phis­ti­cated Multi-Pur­pose Sup­port Ves­sels (MSVs) as high value ex­port orders. MSV- I was ex­ported to Mex­ico in 2012 and MSV-II was ex­ported to Ba­hamas in 2014. MDL has also ex­ported var­i­ous types of com­mer­cial ships in the past.

MDL is the only dock in the coun­try that is ca­pa­ble of build­ing sub­marines. Un­der Trans­fer of Tech­nol­ogy (TOT) from France’s DCNS, it’s build­ing six Scor­pene Class sub­marines. The first in the class un­der Project 75 be­ing Kal­vari which will join the fleet by end-2016, fol­lowed by five oth­ers at 9-10 month in­ter­vals. It was the same class of sub­ma­rine whose sen­si­tive and con­fi­den­tial data was at risk very re­cently as a for­mer DCNS em­ployee leaked over 22,000 pages of se­cret in­for­ma­tion about its stealth ca­pa­bil­i­ties in France and it ap­peared in an Aus­tralian news­pa­per, The Aus­tralian’s web­site. In­dian Min­istry of De­fence an­nounced that it’s ‘not a big worry’. Manohar Par­rikar, De­fence Min­is­ter of In­dia had said the Navy has as­sured him that most of the leaked doc­u­ments are not of con­cern. “Ba­si­cally, what is on the web­site is not of big con­cern. We are as­sum­ing, on our own, that this has leaked and we are tak­ing all pre­cau­tions”, he had said. How­ever, the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is still go­ing on.

MDL is sup­posed to build and de­liver four more de­stroy­ers of Project 15B dur­ing 2020-2024. The con­tract for con­struc­tion of four ships was signed on Jan­uary 28, 2011 at the cost of Rs 29,700 crore. Next in line is Paradip ( rep­re­sent­ing Odisha) fol­lowed by Por­ban­dar ( coastal city of Gu­jarat) un­der this project.

Car­ry­ing a well jus­ti­fied tagline – “Ship Builder to the Na­tion”, MDL, for the first time in its his­tory, has achieved a Value of Pro­duc­tion (VOP) above Rs 4,000 crore in 2015-16 with an op­er­at­ing profit of Rs 218 crore. The last six years for MDL have been tagged as golden years.

The In­dian Navy, in one year, has in­ducted five ships in­clud­ing three war­ships. Vice Ad­mi­ral G S Pabby, Con­troller War­ship Pro­duc­tion and Ac­qui­si­tion said that their aim is to have 212 ships and sub­marines in its fleet by 2027. The navy, at present, has only 139. He stated that this was the first time the naval forces have built so many ships of a class, – 10 ships of 15, A and B class – and the process has helped in in­di­geni­sa­tion. Mor­mu­gao adds “more teeth” to the Navy, he said proudly.

The Navy is set to launch the first In­dige­nous Air­craft Car­rier ( IAC) in 2018 while IAC 2 is in plan­ning stage.

Ad­mi­ral Lanba stated that “this event is In­dia’s quest for self- re­liance and in­di­geni­sa­tion. The In­dian Navy stands fully com­mit­ted to the call of ‘Make in In­dia’ and we are ex­tremely proud of the fact that all of our war­ships and sub­marines on or­der to­day are be­ing con­structed within the coun­try.”

The In­dian Navy is tar­get­ing 66 per cent in­di­geni­sa­tion for this war­ship and hopes for 68 per cent for sub­se­quent ships.

In­ter­est­ingly, INS Mor­mu­gao is named af­ter the home state of Min­is­ter Par­rikar. Mor­mu­gao is a pic­turesque sub dis­trict in South Goa. It was fea­tured in the movies The Sea Wolves (1980) and Bhoot­nath (2008). Mor­mu­gao port or Mar­magoa, as the Bri­tish called it, has con­trib­uted to the progress of mar­itime trade in In­dia to a great ex­tent. It is a prom­i­nent iron ore ex­port­ing port of In­dia with an an­nual out­put of around 27.33 mil­lion tonnes of iron ore traf­fic.

INS Mor­mu­gao cruis­ing into Ara­bian Sea for the first time

Ad­mi­ral Su­nil Lanba, Chief of Naval Staff ad­dress­ing the au­di­ence at Maz­gaon Dock Ship­builders Ltd (MDL), Mum­bai at the launch cer­e­mony of INS Mor­mu­gao

Ad­mi­ral Lanba all happy and proud at the launch of INS Mor­mu­gao

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