Self-reliance is a fundamental pillar for the power of any country, which is related to defence initialization. India has made many efforts in the past, due to which India’s defence power has developed. This blog will talk about project 15B, specifically Bravo Class Destroyers. Project 15B means Project Bravo class, and four destroyers of the Visakhapatnam class are being built. Before that, the class was Kolkata class. The ship was handed over to the Navy in December 2021. The Naval Ship has been designed by the Directorate of Naval Design of the Navy and constructed by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited under the Make in India initiative. Today we will discuss Project 15B in this blog and know how it will benefit the Indian Navy and how this ship is being built indigenously. These ships also have a modern stealth mode ranging from missiles, which powers the Navy with indigenously developed equipment, although there is some equipment which is not of India but foreign.
A contract in January 2015 between Mumbai and MDL for constructing Visakhapatnam class destroyers with a budget of Rs 29,643 crore, including four warships. This project (Visakhapatnam class) is a follow-up to the Kolkata class project, i.e., Project 15A, as the old version used less indigenous equipment and the stealth mode was ineffective. This follow-up, i.e., Project 15B, has been developed by the Directorate of Naval Design in which ships are to be built in the names of four major cities of India for the protection of four sea corners of India. Four destroyers will be made in Visakhapatnam, Mormugao, Imphal and Surat under project 15B. Out of these four ships, the Visakhapatnam ship was completed and was handed over to the Navy on 28th October, 2022. It is called the first Visakhapatnam class, which was started construction by MDL in April 2015. The second class, Mormugao, has been under construction since September 2016 and is expected to be delivered to the Navy by 2022. Imphal and Surat, the third and fourth classes, are expected to enter service between 2023 and 2014, which will be handed over to the Navy. All these warships will be guided missile-less destroyers, which according to the Indian Navy, will be the most technologically advanced in the world. The state-of-the-art weapon sensor package, advanced satellite facilities, and all the self-controlled systems in these Destroyers. Each ship is 163 meters long and is powered by four combined gas turbines. Since all of these ships are stealthy, they give the Indian Navy the advantage of using advanced technology without being detected by the enemy. Each vessel can carry and hold two multi-role helicopter operators.
These ships are eligible to be called a truly ‘Networks of Networks’ system as this allowed networking of multiple networks. It is called ‘Networks of Networks’ because different networks merge into one network and create a new one, for example, the Internet, which we use daily. These ships have a transparent radar installed on the vessel’s deck to enhance the stealth mode, which would be very difficult to detect by the enemy. In addition, they have multiple Fire Zones, a Total Atmospheric Control System, Air Conditioning, Combat Control Damage System for the augmented revitalization distribution system and Emergency DAs. These ships will have 250 sailors with 50 officers.
When we talk about the firepower of these ships, they have been added sophisticated weapon sensors, as well as for long-range and sea base targets, including surface-to-air missiles and surface-to-surface missiles. There is a significant amount of indigenous material used in the construction of this ship, according to the Navy. Which includes machinery and materials such types of weapons. For example, about 65 to 75 per cent of the products in these Visakhapatnam class ships are domestically designed and produced, as well as Eleven Weapons and associated sensor systems.
INDIA IN THE GLOBAL RACE
As everyone knows that the Indo-Pacific region has always been a hot topic of geopolitics. In this part, under the China Built-in Road Initiative, its dominance has been growing very fast. China’s presence in the Indo-Pacific has always been a matter of concern for India. In such a situation, the Indian Navy needs an INS Visakhapatnam class destroyer with this new technology, but is this enough to do in front of a country like China? For perspective, we compare India, China, and the US equally. The 15B project provides India with strategic advantages, but competing with China’s superior naval power in the Indian ocean remains challenging; India must develop a defence system compatible with China’s for such a competition. Reportedly, China has the world’s largest Navy, where it has 777 vessels in comparison to India, which has only 235. if we talk about the destroyers, India has ten, and China has fifty. Between 2015 and 2019, China built around 132 vessels against 68 vessels made by the USA; during this time, India produced 48 vessels. Suppose the Indian Navy has to compete with the powerful Navy of China. In that case, India must act swiftly and strengthen its maritime defence, which will be possible with Project 15B as it has the Indian Navy’s new advanced automated system, which is its central point. However, they all have the identical drawback: these ships will be too late to be handed over to the Indian Navy, as only one destroyer has been given at present.
After the discussion regarding project 15B, we understand that it is significantly necessary for the Indian Navy to build a robust defence system. This time the destroyers are not being made by the Kolkata class. It was here that the Indian Navy upgraded itself, and the Visakhapatnam class is currently building the destroyer, an improved version of the Kolkata class. The minor difference between both classes is the structure of the destroyers would be the same as the Kolkata class, but the weapons and their places must be different to the last class. These destroyers could be used for hunting the enemy’s submarines or ships near the Indian coast. In addition to using indigenously produced materials in these ships, a wide range of industries, large or small, supplied steel, electronics, and other materials to the Visakhapatnam class. The destroyers can be used to protect the Sir creek line, disputed between India and Pakistan. Also, it can be used to protect the silk maritime situated in the Indian Ocean, where India wants to hold their position firmly through these vessels. Project 15B provides a new way to improve India’s maritime defence, so now India will be able to keep its eyes and security on the Maritime Borders along with the Land Borders.
Author(s) Name: Aditya Kohli (Dharmashastra National Law University, Jabalpur)
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 It means that the destroyers have advanced stealth technology, which could not be easily detected by the enemies.
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