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The Indian Navy commissioned the INS Visakhapatnam, the first of four stealth guided-missile destroyers under Project-15B, on Sunday at the naval dockyard in Mumbai in the presence of Union defence minister Rajnath Singh.

Singh was the chief guest at the ceremony and after commissioning INS Visakhapatnam, he said, ‘There are some irresponsible nations with narrow partisan interests who violate rules of united nations convention on the law of the sea (UNCLOS). India is a responsible maritime nation and we believe in rule-based navigation and friendly and peaceful relation with all nations’.

Prime minister Narendra Modi’s SAGAR (security and growth for all) embodies the same values and principles, said Singh. Border disputes, maritime issues have been leading nations to bolster their militaries. Make India an indigenous ship-building hub for not only our country but also the world, said Singh.

The Indian Navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh said, ‘INS Visakhapatnam commissioning marks a milestone in indigenous shipbuilding, capability, firepower and intent in securing the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). Indian Navy is the primary manifestation of India’s maritime power’.

‘Of the 41 ships on order, 39 are being constructed in India. This is an example of Aatmanirbharata,’ said Singh.

The ship is capable of undertaking a variety of tasks and missions. Besides indigenous equipment in the ‘float’ and ‘move’ categories, the destroyer ship is also equipped with major indigenous weapons such as indigenous medium-range surface-to-air missile systems, surface-to-surface missiles, torpedo tubes and launchers.

Project 15B comprises four ships — Visakhapatnam, Mormugao, Imphal and Porbandar, and all are being built by the Mazgon Dock Limited (MDL).

Visakhapatnam ship can accommodate a crew of 312 persons, has an endurance of 4,000 nautical miles and can carry out a typical 42 days mission with extended mission time in out of area operation. The ship is equipped with two helicopters on board to further extend its reach. The ship is propelled by a powerful combined gas and gas (COGAG) propulsion plant, consisting of four reversible gas turbines, which enables it to achieve a speed of over 30 knots (approximately 55 km/hr).

The keel of Visakhapatnam was laid in October 2013 and was launched in 2015. The second ship Mormugao was launched in September 2016 and is currently in sea trials. It is expected to be commissioned next year. The third ship Imphal was launched on April 20, 2019, and is at an advanced stage of outfitting. The fourth ship is under block erection and will be launched within the current financial year.

‘The indigenous content in Project-15B class destroyers is 72% which is a notch above their predecessors’ project —15A (59%) the Kolkata class destroyers comprises three ships – Kolkata, Kochi and Chennai, all of which were built by MDL and commissioned in the last decade. The ship is constructed using indigenous steel DMR 249A and is amongst the largest destroyers constructed in India, with an overall length of 164 meters and a displacement of over 7,500 tons.

The ship is capable of undertaking a variety of tasks and missions. It is armed with supersonic surface-to-surface ‘Brahmos’ missiles and ‘Barak-8’ long-range surface to air missiles. Towards undersea warfare capability, the destroyer is fitted with indigenously developed anti-submarine weapons and sensors, prominently the Hull mounted Sonar Humsa NG, heavyweight torpedo tube launchers and rocket launchers.

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