Force Pro­jec­tion & Mod­erni­sa­tion of In­dian Navy

The corner­stone of the doc­tri­nal trans­for­ma­tion of the In­dian Navy since in­de­pen­dence has been self-reliance through in­di­geni­sa­tion. Read through the ar­ti­cle to know in de­tail about the var­i­ous on­go­ing and fu­ture pro­grammes of the In­dian Navy.

SP's NavalForces - - FRONT PAGE - Rear Ad­mi­ral (Retd) Sushil Ram­say

The corner­stone of the doc­tri­nal trans­for­ma­tion of the In­dian Navy since in­de­pen­dence has been self-reliance through in­di­geni­sa­tion.

WIkIPeDIA De­FINeS FORCe PRO­JeC­TION Òas a term used in mil­i­tary and po­lit­i­cal science to re­fer to the ca­pac­ity of a state to con­duct ex­pe­di­tionary war­fare, i.e. to in­tim­i­date other na­tions and im­ple­ment pol­icy by means of force, or the threat thereof, in an area dis­tant from its own territory. This abil­ity is a cru­cial el­e­ment of a state's power in in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions. Any state able to di­rect its mil­i­tary forces out­side the lim­ited bounds of its territory might be said to have some level of power pro­jec­tion ca­pa­bil­ity, but the term it­self is used most fre­quently in ref­er­ence to mil­i­taries with a world­wide reach (or at least sig­nif­i­cantly broader than a state's im­me­di­ate area).

Dic­tio­nary of Mil­i­tary and As­so­ci­ated Terms, the US Depart­ment of De­fense 2005 de­fines, “Power pro­jec­tion in and from the mar­itime en­vi­ron­ment, in­clud­ing a broad spec­trum of of­fen­sive mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions to de­stroy en­emy forces or lo­gis­tic sup­port or to pre­vent en­emy forces from ap­proach­ing within en­emy weapons range of friendly forces. Mar­itime power pro­jec­tion may be ac­com­plished by am­phibi­ous as­sault op­er­a­tions, at­tack of tar­gets ashore, or sup­port of sea con­trol op­er­a­tions.

British Strate­gic Per­cep­tions in 1944

At the time when In­dia was on the thresh­old of be­com­ing an in­de­pen­dent na­tion, the Com­man­der-in-Chief, In­dia, as­sessed the fol­low­ing vi­tal strate­gic in­ter­ests of the British Com­mon­wealth in the In­dian Ocean: ● Oil sup­plies.

● Con­trol of the east­ern and west­ern ap­proaches to In­dia.

● Air com­mu­ni­ca­tions to Iraq, Cey­lon, Burma and Malaya. ● Con­trol of the seas and the is­land ter­ri­to­ries. Based on the above per­spec­tive, in April 1944, a plan was pre­pared by Vice Ad­mi­ral God­frey, the Com­man­der-in-Chief of the Royal In­dian Navy (RIN), for sub­mis­sion to the Chiefs of Staff Com­mit­tee. It had two phases. Phase I pro­posed the re­place­ment of in­ef­fi­cient ships by mod­ern frigates and sloops, ac­qui­si­tion of eight de­stroy­ers and train­ing of per­son­nel by 1947 to man a cruiser. Phase II en­vis­aged the ac­qui­si­tion of air­craft car­ri­ers and sub­marines with as­so­ci­ated train­ing and main­te­nance fa­cil­i­ties.

Post-In­de­pen­dence Plan

In Au­gust 1947, Rear Ad­mi­ral J.T.S. Hall was ap­pointed as In­dia’s first Flag Of­fi­cer Com­mand­ing, RIN. His Chief of Staff (now called the Vice Chief of the Naval Staff) was Com­modore Martin H. St. L. Nott. These two far­sighted of­fi­cers, guided by the then Rear Ad­mi­ral Lord Louis Mount­bat­ten, then the Viceroy of In­dia, and as­sisted by Cdr (later Ad­mi­ral) A.k. Chat­terji, the first Direc­tor of Naval Plans, Lt Cdr (later Vice Ad­mi­ral) N. kr­ish­nan, the Staff Of­fi­cer Plans and Lt Cdr Y.N. Singh, the Navy’s first avi­a­tor, pre­pared an “Out­line Plan for the Re­or­gan­i­sa­tion and Devel­op­ment of the In­dian Navy. It en­vi­sioned the fol­low­ing es­sen­tial roles for the In­dian Navy: ● To safe­guard In­dian ship­ping.

● To en­sure that sup­plies could reach and leave by sea in all cir­cum­stances. ● To pre­vent an en­emy land­ing on In­dias shores.

● To sup­port the Army in seaborne op­er­a­tions. The min­i­mum force rec­om­mended was two air­craft car­ri­ers, three cruis­ers, eight de­stroy­ers, four sub­marines and mis­cella- neous small ships to be built in 10 years. The plan en­vis­aged grad­ual devel­op­ment of the Navy to form two fleets, each to be built around a light fleet car­rier.

The plan clearly re­flected the In­dian Navy's aspi­ra­tion for re­gional pre-em­i­nence, apart from sev­eral sem­i­nal rec­om­men­da­tions to rem­edy the af­ter-ef­fects of the par­ti­tion of the Navy, like short­ages of man­power, con­struct­ing new train­ing es­tab­lish­ments, dis­pos­ing of old ships and ac­quir­ing im­me­di­ate re­place­ments.

Growth of the In­dian Navy

ever since, the In­dian Navys growth has strictly been in con­for­mance with the above dic­tum, with the pen­du­lum grad­u­ally shift­ing from the buy­ers Navy to builders Navy. Corner­stone of the doc­tri­nal trans­for­ma­tion of the In­dian Navy was self-reliance through in­di­geni­sa­tion.

Air­craft Car­rier Pro­gramme: Since the de­com­mis­sion­ing of the first ever air­craft

In­duc­tion of 16 MRH is yet to re­ceive the ap­proval of Cab­i­net Com­mit­tee on Se­cu­rity. In a new devel­op­ment, the two lead­ing con­tenders, the US Siko­rsky and Euro­pean NH In­dus­tries, have been asked to ex­tend va­lid­ity of their com­mer­cial bids.

car­rier INS Vikrant, the In­dian Navy has op­er­ated with a huge void in this sphere. INS Vi­raat was kept oper­a­tional through pe­ri­odic cy­cle of ex­ten­sive re­fit to pro­vide life ex­ten­sion. The lat­est ex­ten­sive re­fit in­cluded re­fur­bish­ment in its en­tirety, to in­clude strength­en­ing of the hull wher­ever nec­es­sary, ma­jor over­haul of its propul­sion sys­tem, com­pris­ing twin-steam tur­bines, re-tub­ing of its boil­ers, etc.

The ac­qui­si­tion of ex­ten­sively re­fit­ted and mod­ernised, for­mer Rus­sian in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile (ICBM) car­rier Ad­mi­ral Gor­shkov, now com­mis­sioned as INS Vikra­ma­ditya, at the fi­nal cost of $2.35 bil­lion, has added new di­men­sion to the In­dian Navys blue-wa­ter ca­pa­bil­ity. Vikra­ma­ditya has reached its home port and is cur­rently en­gaged in ex­ten­sive fly­ing op­er­a­tions to in­te­grate the MiG-29k air­craft into the Air Wing of the car­rier.

Indige­nous con­struc­tion of the pres­ti­gious 37,500-tonne indige­nous air­craft car­rier (IAC), for­merly known as air de­fence ship is on track. Vikrant was launched at the Cochin Ship­yard Ltd in Au­gust 2013 and is likely to be com­mis­sioned by end 2015. Vikrant would em­bark a mix of up to 30 air­craft, in­clud­ing MiG-29ks, indige­nous LCA (Navy) Te­jas, as also ro­tary-wing as­sets to in­clude ka-31 air­borne early warn­ing (AeW) he­li­copters. Fixed-wing air­craft op­er­a­tions would be based on short take-off but ar­rested re­cov­ery (STOBAR) con­cept on an an­gled flight deck with a 12-14 de­gree ski-jump. The car­rier will be pow­ered by four Hin­dus­tan Aero­nau­tics Lim­ited (HAL)built Gen­eral elec­tric LM2500 gas tur­bines driv­ing two shafts that would give the ship a top speed of over 28 knots.

The fol­low-on pro­gramme of two ad­di­tional IAC of 45,000 tonnes has the ap­proval of the govern­ment. The de­sign fi­nal­isa--

tion of IAC II and III is in works with the naval de­sign­ers. Yard nom­i­na­tion for this project would be de­cided post ap­proval of the de­sign, ton­nage and di­men­sions of the fu­ture car­ri­ers. Suc­cess­ful launch of the IAC and its fol­low-on pro­gramme would re­sult in re­al­is­ing the pre-in­de­pen­dence dream of the In­dian Navy to have two fleets with an in­te­grated Car­rier Bat­tle Group each.

eADS (now Air­bus De­fence and Space) is cur­rently con­sult­ing with the pro­gramme to op­ti­mise the plat­form for flight test­ing of light com­bat air­craft (LCA) Navy Mk. I. There are se­ri­ous mis­giv­ings that the indige­nous LCA Navy Mk.1 may never ac­tu­ally land on an air­craft car­rier, as re­port­edly, the air­craft is too un­der­pow­ered for safe car­rier op­er­a­tions. There­fore, In­dia’s first home-built car­rier-borne fighter jet may ac­tu­ally be the LCA Navy Mk.2, pow­ered by a Ge F414 tur­bo­fan, which meets the thrust re­quire­ments pre­scribed by the In­dian Navy.

Projects 17 & 17A: All three ships of the Project 17 Shiva­lik class, stealth frigates built by Mazagon Dock Lim­ited (MDL) have been com­mis­sioned. The ships stealth ca­pa­bil­ity is pro­vided through the in­cor­po­ra­tion of sys­tems to min­imise its sig­na­tures. These in­clude an in­frared sup­pres­sion sys­tem (IRSS) pro­vided by Canadas Davis en­gi­neer­ing; acous­tic and vi­bra­tion sig­na­tures would be sup­pressed by use of noise and vi­bra­tion-proof mounts and the de­sign caters to re­duced radar cross-sec­tion. These ships are ca­pa­ble of car­ry­ing two ad­vanced multi-role he­li­copters. The fol­low-on pro­gramme of seven stealth frigates un­der Project 17A will be with de­sign mod­i­fi­ca­tion to ac­com­mo­date new gen­er­a­tion weapon sys­tems, like Barak-2, medium-range sur­face-to-air mis­sile (MR SAM)/eL/M-2248, MF STAR com­bi­na­tion, plus BrahMos ver­ti­cally-launched su­per­sonic multi-role cruise mis­siles. These new gen­er­a­tion plat­forms will be of 6,700-tonne with lat­est stealth fea­tures, in­clud­ing fully con­cealed weapon sys­tems and sen­sors. The seven ships will be con­structed on the mo­du­lar con­cept, with four as­signed to MDL and the bal­ance three to Gar­den Reach Ship­builders and en­gi­neers (GRSe). All of the seven stealth frigates are ex­pected to be in­ducted by 2023.

Projects 15A & 15B: Ap­proved in 2000, the three fol­low-on Delhi class de­stroy­ers form the Project 15A have been named as the kolkata class. The sec­ond and third ships will be named as kochi and Ben­galuru. These ships are con­sid­er­ably dif­fer­ent from their pre­de­ces­sors with the in­cor­po­ra­tion of stealth fea­tures and ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy. The ma­jor changes will in­clude the fit­ment of up to 16 ver­ti­cally-launched BrahMos mis­siles and the new long-range Barak NG, long-range sur­face-to-air ( LRSAM) be­ing jointly de­vel­oped by the De­fence Re­search and Devel­op­ment Or­gan­i­sa­tion (DRDO) with Is­raels IAI, as also new sen­sors. These three ships are ex­pected to join In­dian Navy be­tween 2014 and 2016. The govern­ment has also ap­proved ad­di­tional four ships of the same class to be des­ig­nated as Project 15B and the con­struc­tion load to be shared be­tween MDL and GRSe. Although the de­sign is the same, these are likely to have en­hanced weapons and sys­tems such as BrahMos II and the

ex­tended-range Barak (eR-SAM).

Tal­war Class: Three fol­low-on Tal­war class GM frigates con­structed in Rus­sia have been de­liv­ered. These ships have been com­mis­sioned as Tej (sword), Tarkash (Quiver) and Trikand (Tri-Pronged). The ma­jor change in the new se­ries of stealth frigates is re­place­ment of the klub mis­siles with the BrahMos sys­tem.

Project 28 ASW Corvettes: Four new stealth ASW corvettes in­dige­nously de­signed are be­ing built by GRSe, kolkata. The first of the line is likely to be com­mis­sioned shortly. At 2,500 tonnes and en­tirely de­signed in­dige­nously for a min­imised sig­na­ture pro­file to pro­vide stealth ca­pa­bil­ity, these ships would con­sid­er­ably aug­ment the Navys ASW ca­pa­bil­ity.

Am­phibi­ous Ca­pa­bil­ity: With the in­duc­tion of the land­ing plat­form dock ( LPD) Jalashwa, the In­dian Navy has con­sid­er­ably aug­mented its am­phibi­ous ca­pa­bil­ity. To­gether with the five land­ing ship tanks (large), a sealift ca­pa­bil­ity for over 3,500 troops and a squadron of ar­mour now ex­ists. The Jalashwa also car­ries six SH53 troop car­ry­ing he­li­copters, which to­gether with the ex­ist­ing fleet of the Sea King 42C pro­vides an el­e­ment for ae­rial en­vel­op­ment. To aug­ment its am­phibi­ous lift ca­pa­bil­ity, the In­dian Navy is now look­ing to build larger am­phibi­ous ships of the LPD va­ri­ety. This project may be pur­sued through ex­ter­nal de­sign col­lab­o­ra­tion on the model for the IAC project. Dis­cus­sions are said to be on with var­i­ous prospec­tive ship­builders for se­lec­tion of suit­able de­sign re­quire­ments.

Sub­marines

Con­ven­tional: The sub­ma­rine fleet of the In­dian Navy is planned to be aug­mented to 30 plat­forms. These are part of In­dian Navys 30-year sub­ma­rine build­ing plan which was ap­proved in 1999. Un­der Project 75 (P-75), six new Scor­pene class, cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion at the MDL in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the French DCNS are three years astern of the orig­i­nal de­liv­ery sched­ule of 2012-17 and carry a cost tab of ` 23,562 crore. As per the re­vised time­lines, the first boat will be de­liv­ered in Au­gust 2015 and the last in Septem­ber 2018. The sil­ver lin­ing, how­ever, is that the fifth and sixth sub­marines of P-75 would be air in­de­pen­dent propul­sion (AIP) com­pli­ant at an ad­di­tional cost of ` 1,000 crore each. Con­sid­er­ing the fast de­plet­ing force lev­els com­pounded by de­lays in P-75, In­dian Navy may per­haps go for ad­di­tional three Scor­pene sub­marines. Few years ago, the govern­ment had ap­proved Project 75 In­dia (P-75I) for con­struc­tion of six new­gen­er­a­tion sub­marines with AIP tech­nol­ogy for greater un­der­wa­ter en­durance and land-at­tack mis­sile ca­pa­bil­i­ties in col­lab­o­ra­tion with a for­eign ship­yard un­der trans­fer of tech­nol­ogy (ToT) pro­vi­sions at a cost of over ` 50,000 crore As per orig­i­nally govern­ment-ap­proved plans, the first two sub­marines were to be im­ported along with ToT for indige­nous con­struc­tion of the re­main­ing four sub­marines at a se­lected ship­yard. Af­ter avoid­able de­lays of sev­eral years, the De­fence Ac­qui­si­tion Coun­cil has given a fresh go-ahead to In­dian Navys orig­i­nal pro­posal to di­rectly im­port two of the six diesel-elec­tric stealth sub­marines from the for­eign col­lab­o­ra­tor and even­tu­ally se­lected for P-75I. The re­main­ing four boats are to be built at the Mazagon Dock Ltd, Mum­bai and the Hin­dus­tan Ship­yard Ltd, Visakha­p­at­nam, un­der ToT agree­ment. A fresh ap­proval of the Cab­i­net Com­mit­tee on Se­cu­rity to float global ten­der to im­port two sub­marines is still awaited.

Nu­clear: In­dige­nously de­signed and de­vel­oped 6,000-tonne nu­clear sub­ma­rine Ari­hant, which was launched in 2009, at­tained crit­i­cal thresh­old of its nu­clear re­ac­tor in Au­gust 2013. On completion its sea ac­cep­tance tri­als phase, the boat is soon to em­bark upon var­i­ous stages of its ex­ten­sive har­bour ac­cep­tance tri­als phase. Go­ing by the cur­rent es­ti­mates, Ari­hant is ex­pected to be com­mis­sioned by end 2015. Ari­hant is said to be car­ry­ing 12xk15 sub­ma­rine-launched bal­lis­tic mis­siles with a range of 750 km, with both con­ven­tional and nu­clear war­heads. Ad­di­tion­ally, it will be fit­ted for car­ry­ing con­ven­tional tor­pe­does and anti-ship and land-at­tack cruise mis­siles. Re­port­edly at a later stage, Ari­hant and its two suc­ces­sor nu­clear-pow­ered bal­lis­tic mis­sile sub­marines (SSBNs) will be fit­ted for un­der devel­op­ment 3,500km, k-4 sub­ma­rine launched bal­lis­tic mis­siles, a sea-based ver­sion of the Agni-III with en­hanced range to pro­vide cred­i­ble sec­ond strike ca­pa­bil­ity. To ac­quire much needed train­ing and op­er­at­ing phi­los­o­phy of nu­clear-pow­ered sub­ma­rine, INS Chakra, a leased Rus­sian Akula II class SSN, Nerpa has al­ready joined In­dian Navy. Re­ports sug­gest that In­dian Navy has plans for three SSBNs and six nu­clear-pow­ered at­tack sub­marines (SSNs) to ac­quire cred­i­ble sec­ond strike ca­pa­bil­ity in the long run.

Naval Avi­a­tion

The In­dian Navy has on or­der 12 Boe­ing P-8I long-range mar­itime re­con­nais­sance and ASW (LRMRASW) air­craft. These would be de­liv­ered by 2015. In a ma­jor boost to the In­dian Navys naval avi­a­tion mod­erni­sa­tion plan, the De­fence Ac­qui­si­tion Coun­cil (DAC) has re­cently ap­proved the pro­cure­ment of nine medium-range mar­itime re­con­nais­sance ( MRMR) planes worth $1 bil­lion and the lim­ited se­ries pro­duc­tion of nine car­rier-borne LCA (Navy), Te­jas to op­er­ate from IAC. The orig­i­nal re­quire­ment was for six air­craft which has now been in­creased to nine. The re­quest for pro­pos­als or ten­ders has al­ready been is­sued to Boe­ing, Lock­heed Martin, Ale­nia, Saab, Air­bus Mil­i­tary, Antonov, em­braer and IAI elta.

There are also re­ports to sug­gest In­dian Navy’s in­ter­est in ac­quir­ing a fixed-wing AEW plat­form for its air­craft car­ri­ers, first the INS Vikra­ma­ditya, then the three IACs. While Northrop-Grum­mans of­fer of e-2 Hawk­eye has been un­der con­sid­er­a­tion, the flex­i­bil­ity of the Bell-Boe­ing V-22, Osprey has in re­cent times caught the imag­i­na­tion of naval plan­ners.

UAVs: So far as UAVs are con­cerned, In­dian Navys pre­sent force lev­els of eight searchers and four Herons is woe­fully in­ad­e­quate to meet even a frac­tion of the sur­veil­lance re­quire­ment. Cur­rently, there are at least four ma­jor In­dian com­pa­nies with li­cences to man­u­fac­ture.

Sea­planes: Mod­ern sea­planes can pro­vide much needed is­land sup­port and off­shore as­sets pro­tec­tion, sur­veil­lance, long-range search and res­cue and ca­su­alty evac­u­a­tion, ul­tra long-range fleet lo­gis­tic sup­port, long-range visit board search and seizure op­er­a­tions, hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance and dis­as­ter re­lief op­er­a­tions, counter arms and drugs traf­fick­ing, hu­man mi­gra­tion, poach­ing, toxic cargo dump­ing op­er­a­tions, etc. Pos­si­bly, a fleet of 18 sea­planes would be re­quired to en­sure abil­ity to launch two mis­sions from three lo­ca­tions si­mul­ta­ne­ously to cover the en­tire North In­dian Ocean. A mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing ( MoU) on the trans­fer of tech­nol­ogy on this was con­cluded last year dur­ing the visit of Prime Min­is­ter of In­dia to Ja­pan. ShinMaywa is most likely to emerge as the pivot for in­duc­tion of sea­planes, if ap­proved for In­dian Navy.

Multi-role He­li­copter (MRH): In­duc­tion of 16 MRH is yet to re­ceive the ap­proval of Cab­i­net Com­mit­tee on Se­cu­rity. In a new devel­op­ment, the two lead­ing con­tenders, the US Siko­rsky and euro­pean NH In­dus­tries, have been asked to ex­tend va­lid­ity of their com­mer­cial bids. There is still no move­ment for­ward on an­other RFP for 91 naval multi-role he­li­copters. The Navy is still in the process of fi­nal­is­ing the up­grade pack­ages for the age­ing Sea kings. The Navy has 40-odd Sea king chop­pers in its air wing, but the strength has come down to about 30 he­li­copters due to mishaps. Re­place­ment of the Chetak he­li­copter fleet in­clud­ing meet­ing the Coast Guard re­quire­ments is also in the plans.

PHO­TO­GRAPH: In­dian Navy

INS Vikra­ma­ditya shines in tropics

PHO­TO­GRAPH: In­dian Navy

INS Trikand stealth frigate, the fol­low-on Tal­war class

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