Enter the dragon: INS Vishakhapatnam

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MUMBAI: INS Visakhapatnam, the Indian Navy’s most powerful and lethal destroyer was launched into water for the first time today at Mazgaon Dock in Mumbai.

At 7,300 tonnes, INS Visakhapatnam is the largest destroyer commissioned in India. The 163-metre-long ship, the first of four P 15-B class of destroyers being built in a Rs. 29,340 crore project, is made entirely of Indian steel. It is equipped with four 30mm rapid-fire guns to provide close, in-defence capability.

“The launch of Visakhapatnam today marks a milestone,” said Admiral RK Dhowan, the Chief of Naval Staff. His wife, Minu Dhowan, launched the destroyer. ”I am sure the management and the workers will work with the same spirit to ensure that this warship gets delivered to the Navy on time,” Admiral Dhowan added. The ship is expected to be commissioned in 2018.

INS Visakhapatnam will be propelled by four gas turbines — to achieve a speed of over 30 knots – and will have a supersonic surface-to-surface missile system. Central to INS Visakhapatnam is its network-centric layout. The destroyer is equipped with a Ship Data Network, an Automatic Power Management System and a Combat Management System. That means, all information critical for the operation of the warship — during all manoeuvres — is available to key officers through a data information highway. The destroyer will also be equipped with the Israeli Multi-Function Surveillance Threat Alert Radar, which will provide targeting information to 32 Barak 8 long-range surface-to-air missiles on board the warship. The Barak 8 missile is being co-developed with Israel.

Eight BrahMos anti-ship missiles will be installed on the ship after it is ready. BrahMos is a supersonic cruise missile developed jointly by Russia and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation.

Except the machinery compartment, the rest of the warship will have a Total Atmosphere Control System. This system will enable the crew to operate the ship in regions of nuclear, chemical or biological fall out. Those working in the machinery section will have to wear specialised suits and masks to keep the destroyer moving.

The vessel will be able to carry and operate two multiple role helicopters during its missions.

“One feature that will make every Indian proud is that these ships are being built with Indian steel which has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation and produced by the Steel Authority of India Limited,” the Navy Chief said.

INS Visakhapatnam has been designed by the Directorate of Naval Design, the Navy’s in-house design organisation.

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