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Default The Indian Navy - Combat Fleet

The Indian Navy - Combat Fleet

"To be secure on Land, we must be Supreme at Sea”. - Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru

This photo essay covers the current combat fleet of the Indian Navy (IN). Only the main vessels have been covered. The essay is in a narrative form to tell the story of the men in white with tit bits of history and factoids to spice the way. Have tried to keep it crisp so that the vastness of the subject does not make this too lengthy to enjoy reading. I threw out all abbreviations but a few crawled back in.

1 knot = 1.85 kmph; IN, Indian Navy; INS, Indian Naval Ship; ASW, anti-submarine warfare; SAM, surface to air missile; SSM, surface to surface missile;


An Indian naval warship is the last 400 feet of our nation's foreign policy.

70% of the earth's surface is covered by oceans. Under international law all vessels are free to sail over the oceans in good faith. No nation owns the oceans. A country's territorial waters, considered its legitimate law enforcement property, extend to only a few kilometers from the coastline. This lends any Navy worth its sea salt to serve as a tool of diplomacy and military signaling through many shades of grey without provoking war or turmoil. A warship can signal powerful intent of its nation by simply turning up 20 kms off some adversary's coastline and parking herself there. A warship is a piece of India that can move our borders to the Red Sea or the South China Sea or the coast of Makran.

The Indian Navy sees its roles in four areas -

Military role: As a military force to protect India's interests at sea in defence or offense

Naval Diplomacy: As a diplomatic asset to signal our intention to others where we see our interests at stake. The IN can say a lot by showing up in a sensitive region or sometimes by staying away.

Constabulary Duties: Playing a constabulary role to keep our Exclusive Economic Zone properly policed - especially the parts that border other coastal neighbours.

Benign Role: And performing the humanitarian role in times of a crises - natural disasters, evacuations, rescues, rushing food supplies and so on.

These roles, especially the first three are delivered through various missions such as - power projection by an aircraft carrier, establishing sea control over a critical geographical part of the seas, anti-submarine warfare patrols, mine sweeping, amphibious landings on enemy shores, patrolling the EEZ, reconnaissance, electronic warfare missions, blockade of an enemy harbor, protecting of off-shore oil assets and so on.

We are located right next to the Straits of Malacca to the east and Straits of Hormuz to the west - the two most heavily used narrows in the world through which a bulk of the world's trade flows. We also sit astride the shipping routes that link China to its markets in Europe, its oil in the Middle East and its mineral exploitation & farming in Africa. And if that is not enough we sit next to some very serious state sponsored terrorism to our immediate west.

We Indians in general and our politicians and bureaucrats in particular are, like the Russians, sub-continental in thought and not sea-minded like the Brits or the Japs. They do not always understand the role of the sea in our geo-political protection or potential. With economic exploitation of the EEZ becoming a reality we need to police 2.3 million sq kms of sea which is now our exclusive economic area.

PART I - Submarines, Aircraft Carriers & Destroyers

Submarines are what submarines do

The original stealth weapon

The submarine is a superb stealth weapon that can exercise sea denial and provide a strategic nuclear deterrent. Water as a medium is opaque to most of the electromagnetic spectrum except the very very low frequencies. This makes it a wonderful medium in which to patrol unobserved. The nature of sound waves in water and their refraction characteristics often mean that a submarine underwater can hear a surface ship miles away while the surface ship may not, in many circumstances, detect a submarine only 2 kms away.

Denying the enemy use of a critical patch of the ocean, choking a harbour or strait, attacking ships, laying mines are what subs do best. What they do they are lethal at but they cannot perform all the tasks a Navy is called upon to deliver in peace, in grey troubled times of no peace-no war and in full war.

The Indian submarine arm commenced in December 1967 with the commissioning of INS Kalvari a Foxtrot class 2400 tonne sub built by the Russians. Our submarine arm reached a peak in 1991 with 19 boats and drifted to a minimum strength of 14 in the early years of the current decade. With the local production finally kicking in numbers will climb but slowly. The skills developed in 1985-95 building 2 German designed HDW Type 1500s were frittered away by not continuing with the programme. They have been rebuilt with much effort at Mazagon Docks and L&T through the Kalvari and Arihant programmes.

Comparable size of submarine fleets for the world's 9 largest submarine fleets are - USA 66; Russia 59; China 66; Japan 17; India 16; South Korea 15; Turkey 12; UK 10; France 10. A qualitative comparison is complicated as these round numbers hide the mix of nuclear vs conventional, modern vs old, missile armed vs only torpedoes and so on.

PS: Submarines are always called a boat, never a see ships are what submariners sink!

INS Arihant, nuclear powered ballistic missile carrying submarine (SSBN).

First submarine and first nuclear powered vessel to be designed & built in India. Done in collaboration with the Russians. The enormity of this achievement is not to be underestimated - three new disciplines had to be married - nuclear plant that can be squeezed into the 33' beam of a sub, ballistic missiles that can successfully launch from underwater (and not get lost) and a large submarine hull. A SSBN is like the queen of the chess board it keeps strategic mischief in check simply by being there hidden in the vast opaque ocean. We need 3 to achieve a minimum true second strike deterrence and 5 to be fully set.

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No photos have been released. This is an artists rendition. Broad parameters are expected to be - Dived displacement ~6000 tonnes; top speed 24 knots (44 kmph); Weapons - 12 K-15 ballistic missiles with a range of 750kms or 4 K-4 with a range of 3500kms plus long range 533mm dual purpose torpedoes (ie effective against submarines and ships) or medium range cruise missiles to attack ships or coastal targets with.

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INS Arihant serves as a first of class operational prototype for an eventual squadron of maybe 4 or 5 such vessels. Each subsequent boat will be an improvement in terms of ballistic missile range and accuracy and associated sensors and guidance systems. INS Aridhaman, the second of the class will join the fleet in 2019. The 3rd & 4th of the series have been laid down. By 2025 we should have all 4 or 5 in commission.

The Navy worked with ISRO, L&T, Tata Electric, Walchandnagar Industries and DRDO as a partner to make this happen and not as a stand off customer as happened in the case of HAL & IAF on the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft. The design was developed in-house by the Navy in collaboration with the Russians.

INS Chakra, nuclear powered attack submarine (SSN)

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The ultimate great white shark of the seas that can sail underwater without surfacing for months limited by food and crew endurance. Most SSNs maintain a sustained top speed underwater much higher than the dash speed of a warship. Nuclear Attack submarines are armed to attack ships, submarines and land targets (through cruise missiles). In the Falklands war the British announced that one of their SSNs was in the area and that alone was deterrent enough to force the Argentine Navy's carrier and surface fleet to stay locked up in port.

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INS Chakra, a Russian Akula II class boat on long lease to India. The Akula II is the first Russian class of submarines that is quieter than the current American mainstay the Los Angles class. That is quite something as silence is a submarine's first line of both defense and offense. Displacement - 8000 tonnes surfaced; Top speed of 35 knots+(~65kmph+); Endurance 100 days. Diving depth not known -likely around 450 to 500+ metres. At that depth water pressure on the hull is 51 bars or ~52 kgs/ sq cm.

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She carries 40 weapons of a mix of dual purpose homing torpedoes and the Novator land attack/ anti-ship missiles. The egg shaped object at the top of the after hydroplane contains a towed array sonar - a string of listening hydrophones trailing several kilometres behind a slow moving submarine. This enables the sub to listen through the ocean searching for its target. A second Akula class is likely to be leased by 2020.

Diesel Electric Attack Submarines (SSK) i.e. submarine hunter killers

These are modern super silent diesel electric powered submarines designed to attack both ships and other submarines and (now) coastal land targets through cruise missiles. While they do not possess the unlimited underwater endurance of a nuclear powered submarine during the days or weeks they are patrolling underwater on batteries they are silent and very very difficult to detect. They can wait silently at choke points or outside harbours deftly utilizing underwater thermal and acoustic layers to become invisible to ship mounted sensors. In war games these submarines have created a number of unexpected upsets by scoring war game 'torpedo hits' against large aircraft carriers.

India has 14 of these boats in service, 1 on sea trials, 4 under construction and 6 more being planned for.

INS Kalvari, India's newest & most modern submarine

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INS Kalvari (Tigershark)constructed by Mazagaon Docks has completed its first of class sea trials and will shortly be commissioned into the fleet. A second boat INS Khanderi is also undergoing sea trials and four more are under construction. These are super silent submarine hunter-killers optimized to hunt and destroy both submarines and ships. Their quietness and small size lend these boats to discreet operations such as commando insertions, mine laying and coastal reconnaissance.

Compared to INS Chakra (above) the Kalvari class are like the Skoda Superb to the Audi A6. It has almost all the capabilities, except land attack, for a much lower price.

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INS Kalvari, French Scorpene class design. Displacement~1800 tonnes; Length 62 metres; Top speed 20 knots submerged; Diving Depth ~350+ metres; Range 12,000 kms at periscope depth and ~1000 kms submerged - submariners never reveal endurance and diving depth, these are the official figures. Armed with 18 533mm dual purpose long range homing torpedoes and Exocet anti-ship sea skimming missiles or up to 30 sea mines.

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Exocet SM39 - submarine launched sea skimming anti-ship missile. Kalvari class's primary anti-ship weapon with an effective range out to 70 kms.

Kilo Class; the super silent backbone of the underwater squadron

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India has 9 Kilo class Russian built submarines inducted over 1986 to 1999. In the 3000 tonne class these are very very silent submarine hunter-killers. They are believed to be covered with sound absorbing ancheoic tiles that absorb the sonar waves of a enemy sonar thus reducing the range and quality of the enemy sonar's capability to detect and identify.

In war games with the US Navy, Kilo's of the Indian Navy are believed to have tracked and homed in on US nuke subs for hours without being picked up themselves. This is attribute to both the sensors and stealth of the design and the skills of our submariners.

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Armed with 18 long range dual purpose homing torpedoes for use against other ships or submerged submarines. The Kilo's have a tear drop shaped hull which gives outstanding hydrodynamic efficiency that leads to better maneuverability and longer endurance on batteries. They are powered by a main electric motor, a silent creep motor for patrolling and two auxiliary motors for maneuvering in shallow or confined waters and as an emergency 'get you home' back-up propulsion.

Very capable boats but sadly two of them have been involved in accidents resulting in one being written off.

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HDW Type 1500; the first to be built in India; an utterly reliable German workhorse

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The Shishumar class or Type 1500 displaces 1850 tonnes submerged; tops 22 knots underwater; has a range of 8000 nautical miles (~14,800 kms) snorkeling at 8 knots and carries 14 torpedoes for use against both ships and submarines plus 24 sea mines. Unique to any submarine in the world they carry their own escape capsule in which all 40 crew can be squeezed in and the capsule floats up to the surface through natural buoyancy. [/i].

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[i]With German training and know-how we built two vessels INS Shalki (1992) and INS Shankul (1994). Two more were to have been built but budgetary pressures and a lack of understanding in our bureaucracy of the time and effort it takes to build national capabilities threw this opportunity away. Sadly all that was lost for literally a couple hundred million $. Our worthy bureaucrats wasted billions and 20 years to save millions.The skilled work force and know-how developed at Mazagon Docks withered away for a decade and a half till the French Scorpene project commenced in 2009.

The saving grace has been that the boats have served the Navy well and proved most reliable in service. We have 4 in service of which two were built in Mumbai. They are likely to be upgraded.

A sea going airbase

India's aircraft carrier journey

The definition of an aircraft carrier is one that operates fixed wing fighter jets. The power of the carrier comes from the aircraft mix she deploys and the weapons those aircraft & helicopters can launch. The carrier is an instrument of power projection in peace and sea dominance in war. No other weapon system offers as much flexibility from showing teeth to a real attack as a carrier group and no other system can be a quarter way across the world in days and be fully self contained for a three weeks thereafter. A carrier group is like a mobile and powerful piece of your nation brought to bear onto the shores of a trouble making adversary.

In 1961 the old INS Vikrant commissioned into the Indian Navy. She was a Majestic class light carrier laid down in World War II and left 75% complete at war's end in 1945. The British offered her to us in 1957 with a package for completing her to a more modern level. Lord Louis Mountbatten advised Nehru that without a carrier our Navy wouldn't amount for much and it takes a generation to develop carrier operating capabilities and this chance may not come again soon (and how right he was about that). Nehru, being the visionary he was, decided for the motion. Good for us because in the 56 years since 1961 there have been only 4 instances of a carrier being sold by one nation to another (other than the sale of INS Viraat and INS Vikramaditya to India). Nations that know how to design & build carriers usually don't like selling them hence our journey to design and build our own.

India has strategically made every effort to develop and retain its carrier capabilities from 1961 and has done so successfully despite short budgets, Western sanctions from UK & USA and ageing ships & aircrafts. After the old INS Vikrant we purchased the ex-British HMS Hermes in 1986 and she became our much loved INS Viraat with Harrier jump jets. Later in 2013 With INS Vikramaditya our GDP and defence budgets have finally matched up with our ambitions and a happier situation prevails. Many other countries operated fixed wing jets in the 1950s and 1960s but dropped out of carrier ops due to costs and change of priorities - Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Netherlands.

Today only 7 countries maintain a meaningful fixed wing carrier capability - USA, France, Russia, India, Italy, Spain and China; 3 more have helicopter carriers - Japan, Australia and Egypt. Going forward only USA, UK, China & India have new fixed wing operating carriers under construction.

Our long term aim is to have three medium attack carriers. We have one in service , INS Vikramaditya, one under construction (the new INS Vikrant) and one being planned for. It would, I think, take us till 2030 to have 3 in service. The strategic power of carriers is so constant that the first strategic paper of what the IN should be like written in 1947 by a British officer, Commodore Nott, envisaged a 3 carrier fleet. All the geo-strategic changes in 70 years has not changed that need or vision. To this day the Navy has an annual strategic essay competition named for Commodore Martin Nott.

INS Vikramaditya, Medium Attack Carrier

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INS Vikramaditya is fitted with advanced search radars, air traffic control & landing aids, advanced command control & communications systems, data links and electronic warfare & jamming systems that maintain a protective bubble around the ship. She is also equipped with 30mm multi-barrel gatling guns and the Barak 1 missile system for shooting down sea skimming missiles and enemy aircraft that break through the outer cordons.

She carries a maximum of 30 Mig-29K's and 6 Kamov Ka-31 Airborne Early Warning helicopters though a typical air wing is smaller at say 16 Mig-29K fighter bombers, 6 Kamov Ka-31 AEW choppers and 6 Kamov Ka-28 ASW helicopters.

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Full load displacement 44,500 tonnes; Length 284 metres (930'), Beam across the flight deck 60 metres (196'), Draught 10 metres (33'); Size of flight deck about 8000 sq metres; Sustained speed 30 knots (56 kmph); Range at 18 knots of 13,500 nautical miles (25,000 kms); Powerplant Steam turbines giving out 180,000 shp.

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You are driving down in your BMW 3 at 225 kmph. There are three thin poles on the right hand side. You need to grab one of them as you zoom past with a hook fitted to the car's right side. If you do you come thudding to a halt in 30 metres flat. If you fail you must accelerate to 350 kmph in 50 metres and get out. And by the way it is pitch dark and you can see neither the poles nor your hook. Don't try it!. If you can do this become a naval aviator.

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Comparison of all aircraft carriers across the world. More than the cost it is the skill to operate an air wing off a tiny moving deck that is difficult to develop and easy to lose.

Fun facts on INS Vikramaditya - consumes 650 litres of milk, 3000 eggs and 550 kgs of rice a day. The three automatic idli makers churn out 1000 idlis an hour. It has an ATM and a prison! I am curious to know where and how are the 200,000 eggs stored for a 60 day deployment or does our Navy carry along the hens!

If INS Chakra is the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S then INS Vikramaditya is the Maybach S500 - big car, big engine, powerful, loaded with features, lots of space etc. F.E?? Kitna deti hai....purely my own amateur calculation - at 28 kmph (15 knots) she probably burns 10,000 litres an hour on her steam turbines!! Mariners please opine and feel free to blast my calculations. An avian treading into aquatic territory needs to tip toe cautiously.

INS Vikrant II, indigenous medium attack carrier (under construction)

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Provisional outline of the new INS Vikrant. Provisional figures released indicate - displacement 40,000 tonnes; propelled by four LM2500 gas turbines from General Electric giving 100,000 to 120,000 shp; top sustained speed ~28 knots (~52 kmph); length ~260 metres, beam 62 metres; flight deck area ~10,000 sq metres. Fitted with a ski jump to accelerate the jet fighter to take off speed. This is a STOBAR design - Short Take Off But Arrested Recovery. While landing back the jets are halted by hooking an arrestor wire (see photo 2.3 above).

Note that the flight deck of the new Vikrant will be 25% larger than the current INS Vikramaditya. In a carrier it pays to focus the entire design on the needs of the aircraft wing and flight operations.

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INS Vikrant will carry about 30 aircraft - a combination of Mig-29K multi role combat aircraft, the Kamov Ka-31 Airborne Early Warning helicopters and the Ka-26 anti-submarine helicopters. The HAL Tejas for now is out of the reckoning but Tejas II could find a place. Like in most carriers the hangar deck, below the flight deck, is equipped to repair & maintain the aircraft, the engines and the weaponry in a confined space.

For self defence she is expected to be fitted with the license built Oto Melara 76mm rapid fire guns, the Russian 30mm close in weapon system and the Barak 1 and/or Barak 8 anti-aircraft missile system.

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India's first indigenously designed aircraft carrier was laid down in 2009 and is expected to commence sea trials in 2019 and enter service in 2020-2021. The ship is being built at Cochin. The design was developed in-house by the Navy itself. Unlike the Army & IAF the Navy has its own large and very competent design bureau. As expected with a first of its kind national project there have been glitches and hurdles. But given our past record on designing and building complex warships I fully expect the ship to commission in 2020.

She could have a life of 45 years if our creditable past record on maintaining carriers is any indication. Young BHPians likely to be around in 2065 may witness her retirement.

A large high endurance multi-role offensive warship

Destroyers are the primary multi-role, long range, offensive warships that can lead a squadron to war and act as the command nerve centre. Today destroyers are typically the largest combat ships in any Navy after aircraft carriers and large amphibious helicopter carriers. Modern destroyers usually have two helicopters; medium to long range attack capability in all three dimensions - air, surface and under-water; long sea legs like 12,000 kms + at cruise speeds; land attack capability via cruise missiles and extensive electronic warfare and monitoring abilities. Due to their size and reach destroyers act in many secondary war roles such as commando insertions & mine laying or other roles like anti-piracy, rescue, evacuations, natural disaster relief etc.

Nomenclature of warships by size - battle ships, cruisers, destroyers, frigates and corvettes - can confuse people. These are fluid, overlapping and change with time. To keep things simple for our readers battleships/battle cruisers went out with World War 2 and continue only in video games. The term cruisers is no longer applied to new warships though the US & Russian Navies use it for three old cold war designs. That leaves us with the current terms in use of destroyers-frigates-corvettes. All are surface warships of differing size, degree of multi-role capability and endurance at sea. As of today Destroyers range from 5000 to 11,000 tonnes, Frigates from 3000 to 7000 tonnes and Corvettes from 500 to 3000 tonnes. Think of it as the VW Phaeton, VW Passat and VW Jetta - all sedans, all serving essentially the same role but of differing sizes, power, equipment, features, electronics, luxury and cost.

India's modern story with destroyers started with the arrival in 1980 of a Russian built modified Kashin class guided missile destroyer INS Rajput. Today we design and construct our own. India has 11 destroyers in commission + 3 under construction + 1 on order. Destroyer strengths of major navies are - USA ~66; Japan 26; China 21; Russia 12; France 12; South Korea 12; India 11; UK 6; Italy 4.

Kashin class; the first modern guided missile destroyers of the IN

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In 1973 India decided to equip itself with modern guided missile destroyers that could serve as the fulcrum of a squadron (i.e. a mini-task force). In those days the only sources (USA, UK, France & USSR) had never sold guided missile destroyers to any one not in NATO or the Warsaw Pact. The Soviets agreed to build their Kashin design for us. The Kashin was an anti-aircraft missile armed ship. We needed more of a multi-role asset with long range attack ability against air, surface and under water adversaries. So came the Kashin II with medium range missiles, homing torpedoes and a Kamov ASW helicopter.

In the 1980s the western & Indian press criticized the Kashins for being too cramped, prone to fires, why does India need these, can the IN manage such complex ships, the hull plate will corrode (??!!) etc - propaganda & prejudice. The Rajput class as we call them have served us reliably for between 3 to almost 4 decades. So much so for our press ever ready to lap up Western propaganda and pout it.

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5000 tonnes, 480' long, 72,000 shp from 4 gas turbines driving two shafts, 35 knots; Armed with 2 twin launchers for the SAN-1 22km range surface to air missiles; Two 80 kms range anti-ship Styx missiles; (some) 4 Brahmos supersonic 290 km range anti-ship & land attack missiles; Four 30mm anti-aircraft mountings; 5 anti-submarine homing torpedoes; 1 Kamov ASW helicopter (Ka-25 or Ka-28) and 2 multi-barrel ASW rocket launchers. The Rajputs have been modified over the years. The above data is representative but correct. e.g. some have received the Barak 1 anti-missile missile system

The 5 ships are INS Rajput, INS Ranjit, INS Rana, INS Ranvir & INS Ranvijit.

Delhi class; first home designed & built destroyers

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Delhi class 6700 tonne multi-role destroyer showing off its rakish handsome lines. The work from concept to final design was wholly indigenous done by the IN's Corps of Naval Constructors. It was a national achievement and signaled the arrival of the Indian Navy as a builders Navy. Due to the economic situation in the 1990s we built only 3 instead of 6. At the International Fleet Review 2005 in the UK, Prince Philip, the Queen's consort, remarked that India's Delhi class was the most handsome and well proportioned of the 117 odd warships on parade that day.

The Delhi class are equipped for long range engagements for opponents on the sea surface or underwater and for medium range cover against an air attack. The ship is designed around the 2 Sea Kings and the two medium range SAM systems described here. These destroyers can sterilize the sea surface to a radius of 200 to 250 kms around the ship with their ship mounted and helicopter launched missiles

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In order of range: Surface engagements - anti-ship missiles from the Sea King helicopters, 16 Kh-35 anti-ship SSMs with a 130kms range and finally the general purpose 100mm gun. For underwater warfare - first the torpedoes and depth charges from the Sea King choppers, then the 5 anti-submarine 533mm heavy torpedoes and finally the 6 kms range ASW rocket launchers. The last mentioned are almost always found on Indian, Chinese & Russian ships but now never on Western designs. They are useful weapons to keep firing 'frighten off' rounds to keep a enemy submarine maneuvering for cover or preventing it from aligning to attack your core ships.

For aircraft and missile defence we have two Shitil SAM systems (fore and aft) with range out to 30kms+ and engagement speeds of Mach 2.0+ If the outer defence is penetrated then the Barak 1 anti aircraft, anti-missile SAM system takes over automatically creating a protective umbrella out to 8kms. Inside that are the 2 last ditch 6-barrel 30mm AK630 guns for last second rapid fire engagement. All of this of course is backed up by a comprehensive suite for electronic warfare, command & communications and reconnaissance.

The Indian Navy designs its ships to be physically large for the defined role. Size confers the advantages of sustainability, endurance and the ability to absorb damage and still continue operations.

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INS Mumbai
of the Delhi class led the naval part of the rescue operation in Yemen, March 2015, pulling Indians and foreigners fleeing the civil war-cum-Saudi attack. The rigid hull motor boat of INS Mumbai in the background is transferring the recued from shore to ship. We can well imagine the relief and lump in the throat for these citizens on seeing an Indian warship arrive to evacuate them to home and safety.

A total of 5600 were rescued by the Navy, the IAF and Air India - 4600 Indians and 1000 other nationalities. We rescued stranded citizens of 41 countries including several European nations, SAARC countries and USA who depended entirely on our efforts to rescue their citizens.

The class comprises of INS Delhi, INS Mysore & INS Mumbai.

Kolkata class; the current latest destroyer

Destroyers are like the BMW 7 series M760Li ie the largest practical powerful sports luxury top end that can be built and afforded. The Kolkata class 7500 tonne destroyers are the most Series 7-ish of the lot. They are the IN's latest, largest and best equipped surface warships. In capability they compare ahead of anything our two well known adversaries have and as good as the best any Navy other than the US Navy & Japan can field.

The Navy had designed the Delhi class. They took that basic design and retained the hull, power plant and auxiliary systems but added some upper hull stealth features to reduce radar cross section. To this we wove in a complete make over of sensors, action information systems and weapons. The result are the three ships of the class are INS Kolkata, INS Kochi and INS Chennai.

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Compared to its predecessor the Delhi class, the Kolkata class enjoys longer range SAMs (90 kms Barak 8 vs 30+ kms Russian Shitl), longer range SSMs (290 km BrahMos vs 130 km Kh-35 Uran), Indian developed sonar systems and the king pin Elta phased array multi-mission radar atop the main mast. The class is equipped with the indigenous Kavach missile chaff decoy launchers, Maareech torpedo decoy & deception system and Ellora electronic warfare suite. The BrahMos gives coastal precision attack capability.

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Launch of the Indo-Israeli Barak 8 long range Surface to Air Missile (SAM) with a reported range of 90 kms. The missile system along with the Elta radar can engage multiple targets to ward off a simultaneous attack.

In addition to their weapons and sensors large ships like destroyers carry several other resources to address important non-combat duties. For e.g. a large kitchen & medical clinic to cater to rescued people, rigid hull inflatable boats, the choppers themselves are multi utility, machine guns for pirates, a machine & carpentry workshop for self repairs. These are the humble but important parts.

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INS Chennai coming alongside for the first time, at the vibrant city of Chennai, being greeted by school children. Note the rakish clean lines and main mast carrying the Elta active phased array radar. An active phased array radar is the latest in sea going radar types. It is capable of simultaneously tracking multiple targets including small slow moving vessels (e.g. pirate boats or submarine periscopes), missiles, ballistic missiles and of course aircraft and warships. It then segregates the targets by threat perception and presents to the commander a filtered list. It is also, understandably, capable of engaging many targets simultaneously.

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A fine bow shot showing speed & power and depicting the inwardly angled upper hull that reduces the radar signature. The Kolkata class are the largest most advanced surface warships designed and built in India. They carry a full suite of electronic warfare, electronic reconnaissance and deception systems combined with advanced network centric capabilities. Like the Delhi class before them the Kolkata class is powered by 4 gas turbines. To optimize fuel efficiency at all speeds the ship can be powered by 1, 2 or all 4 turbines.

The Kolkata class - 7500 tonnes; 163 metres long; has a top speed of 30 knots + (56 kmph); a range of 17,000 kms + at a cruise of 30 kmph; and costs $700 mm a piece. They are likely to fly the Indian naval ensign till the 2050s.

"I can handle anything, you see I am a naval wife" my mother and the lakhs of naval wives of the IN

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Default re: The Indian Navy - Combat Fleet

PART - II Frigates and Corvettes

The basic blue water warship capable of independent operation

A frigate is the smallest blue water warship capable of operating alone in war. It is the maid of all work, the work horse, the fully capable yet not so expensive asset. A frigate is to the Navy what Toyota Camry or BMW 3 series or Volvo XC60 are to automobiles. With miniaturization of electronics and the advent of light and powerful gas turbines frigates can be packed with a lot more muscle today.

A frigate would be used for escorting merchant convoys, executing anti-submarine warfare, covering an amphibious landing, acting as the cordon for an aircraft carrier, leading a squadron of smaller ships, laying mines, blockading an enemy port and flying the flag that says 'I don't want to bite but I will if you do something stupid'. In size frigates have grown from the 3000 tonnes in the 1970s to 5000 tonnes today.

India has 13 frigates in commission, 1 under heavy repair and 17 planned for/ on order. We need about 24 but the budget limitations of the 1990s are coming home to roost two decades now.

Godavari class; first warship designed in India - a landmark achievement. The first in the world to have Western & Russian weapon systems integrated

India cut its milk teeth in warship building with 6 frigates of the proven British Leander design. The first, commissioned in 1972, was named INS Nilgiri. We then decided to design and build our own by marrying the proven hull & propulsion of the Nilgiri with Russian weapon systems and the British Seaking anti-submarine helicopter. This meant the need for a larger hull.

We had never designed a warship before and the British flatly refused to share design know-how even for a fee. So we sailed alone. We have a lot to be grateful to the British. Their attitude forced us up the path of self reliance a journey that for the Navy has been most successful.

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The Naval designers led by Captain NS Mohan Ram, an absolutely brilliant officer, took the Nilgiri design and expanded it by ~10% in all three axis increasing displacement by ~33% with exactly the same hydrodynamic hull shape. Hydrodynamics is more complex and lesser known than aerodynamics - we still get surprised by the way flowing water reacts. The Navy discovered to its joy that not only was the enlarged hull equally stable it actually needed ~10% less horsepower to achieve the same speed - and this with 33% more weight carrying capacity. The new hull had a superior wave pattern and wake (turbulence left behind the ship) that led to this efficiency.

The first vessel INS Godavari was built, at Mazagon Docks, between 1978 and 1983. She was retired last year after 33 years of service.

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Godavari class - Length 414' Beam 48'; Full load displacement ~4000 tonnes; Propulsion Steam Turbines driving two propellers, 30,000 shp; Maximum speed 29 knots (54 kmph); Range ~ 4500 nautical miles. Endurance 60 days at sea. The Godavari's were fitted with the Indian submarine hunting sonar designed by Captain AJ Paulraj. Later they were refitted with indigenous electronic warfare and support systems developed by BEL. The Navy developed its own hardware and software interfaces to marry the Soviet systems with Western ones. This was a most complex task not undertaken elsewhere in the world. We went up this hard road for geo-strategic reasons and developed expertise that stands us in good stead today.

Six ships were built - INS Godavari, INS Gomati, INS Ganga, INS Brahmaputra, INS Betwa and INS Beas. The last three were built with a more modern sensor and weapons fit some of which was retrofitted into the first three half way through their life. The detailed story of the Godavari class can be read here

Talwar class guided missile frigates

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Over 2003 to 2013 the IN acquired 6 Talwar class frigates from Russia to augment local production. The Russians modified their Krivak-III frigate to our requirements and came out with a powerfully equipped and very handsome ship design. The upper surface of the hull is slightly inclined inwards to reduce radar signature.

The Talwars displace 4000 tonnes and are powered by 2 main and 2 cruise gas turbines of ~ 60,000 shp wherein gas turbines of 2 different ratings work together. One or both cruise turbines are used for cruising and all 4 together can be used for sprinting at 32 knots(~60 kmph). Gas turbines are efficient at close to full power and their F.E. drops off dramatically at lower ratings. Hence warships often have a mix of smaller cruise and bigger boost turbines to sail at optimized F.E. across a broad speed spectrum.

The six ships of the class are INS Talwar, INS Trishul, INS Tabar, INS Teg, INS Trikand and INS Tarkash. They are named for traditional weapons.

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Photo depicting the launch of a Club 3M54E long range surface to surface (SSM) missile from the forward mounted vertical launch silo. The ASW rocket launcher is seen in the foreground. This missile goes out to 220 kms at a terminal velocity of Mach 3.0. A vertical launch system enables a larger number of missiles to be carried and for them to be fitted below decks in a semi-armoured silo.

The main armament of the Talwars are - long range SSM missile system for both anti-ship and land attack {Brahmos or the Russian Novator Club 3M54E}; medium range SAMs for air defence {Shitil SAN-12, 45 kms range} long range torpedoes for anti-submarine work; a large anti-submarine rocket launcher with a 6 kms range; and a Kamov Ka-28 ASW helicopter. These are augmented by a 100mm dual purpose gun and 2 close in weapon systems.

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The AK-630 close in weapon system {CIWS}is used across several IN ships as the primary anti-missile defence system. It comprises of six 30mm cannons firing 3600 to 5000 cannon shells a minute at on coming missiles or aircraft creating a wall of exploding steel that the missile is forced to fly through. With an effective range of ~4 kms it is a last ditch system that is fully automated. It can also be slaved to a visual-manual gun sight for defence against low order targets like pirate boats.

Shivalik class: first stealth frigate designed in India

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The experience of building the Godavari class frigates and the Delhi class destroyers was put to good use to design and build 3 modern, large stealth frigates of the Shivalik class. At 6200 tonnes these are large and very well armed for a frigate and would be classified as destroyers (a category higher) in several other navies. It is a sign of the maturity of the IN that warships we design are at the top end of their categories by global standards. The Shivalik are network centric warships which like most other ships described here can link up their action information systems to be able to 'see' what another vessel further away can.

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The ship has designed in features to reduce its radar, infra-red and acoustic signatures. In order to get the speed of gas turbines with the long legs of diesels the power plant comprises of 2 General Electric LM2500 turbines that take her to 32 knots and 2 SEMT-Pielstick (now MTU) diesels that give a top cruising speed of 22 knots. This is a configuration where either or both turbines or either or both diesels power the vessel; gas turbines and diesels cannot be used in unison. The diesels give it a long range which we can assume is about 15,000 kms+. She also carries a slew of electronic counter measures and jamming systems including chaff launchers and torpedo decoys.

The Shivalik class cost Rs 2300 crores each. Still cheap considering they will sail for 3 decades and more and cover ~ 4 million+ kms in that time - Rs 5800 of capital cost/km. They 3 ships,INS Shivalik, INS Satpura and INS Sahyadri, built at Mazagon Docks entered service between 2010 - 2012. Seven more of an improved version are on order.

In 30 years the IN has gone from the Godavari class to the Kolkata and Shivalik classes while HAL/DRDO cannot get Tejas Light Combat Aircraft into service.

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The BrahMos surface to surface missile developed jointly by DRDO and Russia is the most successful indigenous major weapon system. There are four versions - ship launched, aircraft launched, land launched and underwater submarine launched. 290 kms range; a large 300 kg warhead; Mach 2.8 to 3.0 cruise; and terrain following capability. Guidance is by a combination of inertial navigation, active radar and satellite course correction. The BrahMos (named for the Brahmaputra + Moskava rivers) is based on a Russian missile and borrows the propulsion motor from it and adds a wholly new guidance system and the ability to interface with multiple platforms. We have tested longer range versions going out to 450 to 600 kms. The IN uses the ship launched version for both anti-ship and land attack purposes. The missile comes in riding 3 to 5 metres above the sea at a speed faster than a bullet thus making evasive measures, reaction times and electronic counter measures rather difficult for the adversary. The submarine launched version has been tested and is under final development.

A single role ship. Traditionally the smallest vessel rated as a proper warship

After frigates come corvettes which are powerfully armed single role vessels. They would have significant capability in one dimension and self defence in the other two - so you may have an Anti-Ship Corvette or an Anti-Submarine Corvette. Corvettes are 500 to 2000 tonnes normally. In the 1980s and 90s we designed and built 8 Khukri class anti-ship corvettes but could not build more due to budget constraints. We have 23 in service, 2 under construction, 26 on order/planned for.

Though considered coastal vessels in many navies the corvettes designed in India have long sea legs and hulls meant for open ocean work. Our corvettes tend to be larger hulls for their weapon fit and role. A larger hull gives greater endurance, better damage survival capability and greater offensive sustainability (ammunition). It also reflects our philosophy that the sea defence of India is best executed a 1000 nautical miles away and not on our coasts.

Being smaller ships they afford a useful opportunity for younger officers to be in command and learn the ropes of naval leadership. Due to the wide size range corvettes cover the spectrum from the Renault Duster and Maruti Vittara Brezza to the Hyudai i20!

Kamorta class anti-submarine ocean going stealth corvette

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The Kamorta class are specialized anti-submarine ships with anti-ship missiles only on its single Seaking helicopter and only self defence anti-aircraft capability. Kamorta's anti-submarine suite of sensors, weapons and electronic warfare systems equal the best installed on destroyers (two levels up) but she has only self-defence capability against aircraft. Her large hull size and power plant of 4 diesels reflect the maturing philosophy of Indian naval designs ie build the largest feasible hull for the role and engines that give long ranges.

The Kamorta class has several stealth features built in to reduce radar, acoustic and infra red signatures. The most apparent is the X shaped hull sides which first slants inwards and then outwards and this lead to a dramatic reduction in radar signature. The Kamorta class are the second ship class globally, after a German type, to carry this feature. The 4 ships are INS Kamorta, INS Kadmatt, INS Kiltan, INS Kavaratti. In case you are scratching your head these are named for Indian islands. Recall the statement about Indians being 'continental' minded. Most educated Indians would struggle to name 5 Indian islands of the 246 we possess.

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Some traditional minded commentators have criticized this design for being under armed for its size. Wrong - the hull is consciously over sized for its armament. The reality is that like the US Navy and Royal Navy the IN too now first decide the role and weapon-sensor suite and then builds the largest possible hull around that configuration. Because, as mentioned earlier, large hulls provide sustained operations far from home and improve damage absorbing ability.

Abhay (or Russian Pauk) class anti-submarine coastal corvette

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3 Abhay class corvettes - INS Abhay, INS Ajay, INS Akshay - further acquisitions came to a halt with the collapse of the USSR. 16 more are now on order of a new design. These are used for keeping harbours and the coasts clear of hostile submarines, escorting along the coast and general patrol duties. These are long in the tooth and may be retired soon.

Khukri class medium range anti-ship corvette

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The Khukri class anti-ship corvette was the second class of warship designed in India. Eight entered service between 1989 -2004. Though the armament carried is identical to the smaller Veer class described next the Khukri's were built around a 1300 tonne hull and long range SEMT Pielstick diesels that gave them endurance and deep ocean capability.The size was used to fit a heli-deck to allow helicopters of other vessels to land and refuel.

The primary armament is 16 Kh-35 anti-ship missiles with a 130 kms range or (in some older ones) 4 Styx P-20 missiles with an 80 kms range. Over the years they have been modernized with the Oto Melara 76mm dual purpose gun and indigenous electronic warfare systems. Useful ships. They have served the IN very well. They are named for different swords, daggers and bows - INS Khukri, INS Kirpan, INS Kuthar, INS Khanjar, INS Kora, INS Kirch, INS Kulish, INS Karmuk.

Veer (or Russian Tarantul) class anti-ship coastal corvette

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The Veer class anti-ship corvettes are high speed, very maneuverable boats that represent the ultimate evolution of the Soviet missile boat doctrine. We hoped to license build many. But the programme was caught by the geo-political collapse of the Soviet Union and only 13 were produced. Of these 10 are in service. Powered by 4 gas turbines these boats can hit a top speed of 38 knots (70 kmph). These are handsome coastal ships that pack a punch. They are commanded by young officers in their early 30s giving them real experience of leadership, executive command and the joys of the sea.

Relative strengths of Navies - Frigates & Corvettes

While evaluating relative strengths we could club frigates and corvettes. The stack is - Russia 88*; China 85; India 36; South Korea 29; Turkey 26; Italy 16; UK 13;France 11; US Navy 9**; Japan 6;
* - the Russian number is 'official' - most are over 30 to 35 years old and in uncertain state of repair.
** - the US Navy has so many destroyers that their need for frigates is lower. But a gap exists.

Some weapon systems made in India

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Oto Melara 76mm gun: This Italian designed gun licensed built in India is our main general purpose gun on most medium to major warships. It is the world's most successful and reliable medium gun with a rate of fire of 85 to 120 rounds per minute. It can fire several types of shells from an automated magazine under decks to suit the target and situation - anti aircraft proximity fused, anti-ship delayed impact fused, smoke, starlight, a specialized anti-missile shell and a land bombardment over sized high explosive version. The standard shell has a range of 16 kms against a target ship.

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RBU-6000 anti-submarine rocket launcher on board INS Trikand. Most Indian, Russian and Chinese warships carry one or two anti-submarine rocket launchers. India produces a indigenous rocket launcher derived from this design. These ripple fire rocket shells out to 6000 metres that explode at pre-set depths against an underwater target. They serve an important role in confusing and distracting the enemy submarine, preventing it from getting into a attack position while a homing torpedo is being let loose on it from another quarter. A most practical and effective asset. All western navies have ignored it favouring over dependence on electronic technology.

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No discussion of the IN can be complete without the Barak 8 long range surface to air missile jointly developed by Israel Aerospace Industries and DRDO. This is a super quick reaction missile that is effective against aircraft, drones, anti-ship sea skimming missiles and helicopters out to a range of 90 kms with a transit speed of Mach 2.0. The Barak 8 missile system can deal with saturation attacks by engaging multiple targets simultaneously. It will be assembled in India and will become the standard SAM of all three armed forces. Like the BrahMos the Barak 8 is on track for success.

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Where weapons go we save the best and most complex for the last - the Varunastra - heavy weight long range anti-submarine torpedo which entered service in 2016. It may surprise the reader but homing torpedoes are more complex than supersonic guided missiles in both electronics, mechanics & kinetic dynamics. The world of torpedo development is replete with weapons that failed to achieve satisfactory service. Varunastra is a wholly indigenous development unlike BrahMos which is a collaboration with the Russians or Barak 8 where we are partnering with the Israelis. Weight ~1.5 tonnes, range ~40 kms, speed to target 40 knots (74 kmph). With this India becomes the ninth country to develop its own torpedo and successfully put it in service.

PART-III Specialized Naval ships

Ships that move the Army off shore

An amphibious warfare ship is a warship employed to land and support ground forces, such as the Army or Marines, on enemy territory during an amphibious assault. An amphibious assault opens up your ability to attack the enemy from a hitherto unexpected quarter or occupy a strategic island. These ships either ride up the beach themselves or carry smaller craft and helicopters that transport the troops, guns and tanks to the beach. These are specialized unusual looking ships designed around this one function and do not carry weapons other than for basic self defence.

The Indian Navy's amphibious squadron consists of 9 large and 8 small amphibious warfare ships aggregating to ~50,000 tonnes. Relative to the size of the IN our amphibious strength is limited. It reflects the purpose of the IN - to deter and defend. We are not in the geo-political game of conquering others. In comparison China has 49 large and 18 small amphibious ships totaling ~ 300,000 tonnes of displacement and the US Navy has ~1.1 million tonnes of amphibious ships! The type of fleet you acquire reflects your country's geo-political aims and intentions towards others.

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In 2007 the IN acquired its first ever ship from the US Navy. INS Jalashwa (Hippopotamus in Hindi) is a large amphibious ship capable of sailing fast to the point of attack and then off loading its payload via landing craft and helicopters. At 16,600 tonnes displacement and 570 feet in length she is the second largest ship in the IN after the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya (not counting the oilers and supply ships here). Her military sealift capacity is 4500 tonnes of tanks, guns, armoured vehicles, trucks, fuel, ammunition, fresh water and a 1000 troops.

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The home built Magar class with 5 vessels, is the mainstay of our amphibious capability. At 5600 tonnes displacement and 390' in length these are very large for a ship that can ride up a beach and disgorge its payload of troops, tanks and guns directly onto the beach or through 4 landing crafts and 1 heavy helicopter. Capable of long ocean transits. The ships named for animals are INS Magar, INS Gharial, INS Shardul, INS Kesari and INS Airavat. More on the IN's amphibious ships can be read here

Addressing the new threats of state sponsored terrorism

The new paradigm on the high seas is the threat from terrorists, pirates, arms runners and infiltrators. All are non-state actors though many are actively funded, trained and controlled by certain states who wish to wage constant war by other means. India is in a very high threat region in this regard with Pakistan cheek and jowl next to Kutch, Straits of Malacca to our east and the Persian Gulf and Somalia to our west. This new treat of terrorism is an uneasy grey zone of no-war no-peace and without a clearly identifiable enemy.

This has given rise to what is at least numerically the largest fleet in the IN. These are Offshore Patrol Vessels (or OPVs) and EEZ Patrol Boats with a light armament, very long ranges and sometimes a helicopter for surveillance. USA, China and Japan along with India maintain large patrol fleets. Most other countries, even those with large defence outlays, invest relatively little in this very critical but non-glamorous end of the business. Given the reality of our threat and the importance of not allowing our worthy neighbor from opening up another front on the western coast India has 139 vessels in service from 50 tonne high speed interceptor boats to 2300 tonne helicopter carrying patrol ships. Making up these 139 are 10 large off shore long range helicopter carrying ships, 19 medium-sized high speed EEZ patrol ships and 110 high speed coastal interceptor boats. These 139 are made up of 6 classes of vessels. Three prominent ones in pictures below.

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Mine hunting and mine sweeping

Mines are laid at sea and on the seabed to blockade harbours or to control choke points making it impossible for ships to pass. A naval mine is a large object and could weigh up to two or three tonnes. Mines are very sophisticated these days and can trigger themselves to explode by sensing the noise or wave pressure or magnetic signature of a passing ship. With the advent of electronics they can be programmed to wait for large targets while letting smaller ones get through.

Hunting and sweeping mines is a very dangerous, painstakingly slow and arduous process. It is like searching for a needle in a haystack. And after the mine has been located it needs to be sweeped ie made to explode by mimicking a ship passing overhead. Sweeping is by mechanical cutters, magnetic field & noise generators and remotely piloted underwater vehicles. The mine counter measure vessels themselves need to possess the lowest possible acoustic and magnetic signatures to avoid getting sunk by a mine themselves. This requirement results in such vessels being small in size, powered by the smallest quietest practical engine and typically constructed of wood or fibre-glass or non-magnetic metals.

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Our squadrons of mine warfare vessels has dwindled to just 4 old ships from a healthy peak of 12 from 1989 through to 2006. We need 24 and in this area are lagging behind. By IN tradition we name our mine counter measure vessels after small ports. Above is INS Kozhikode.

The IN had floated a tender, in 2004, for 12 ships to be built in India with transfer of know-how. 2004 to 2014 were Rip Van Winkle years for Indian defence with a worthy 'do nothing' defence minister. Long story short we went around in circles for 10 years - you need serious skill and practice to do that - and finally placed the order in 2015 after the Govt changed. 24 new ships are to be built in collaboration with South Korea. But the Rip Van Wikle years mean we have a hole for a decade now while the IN labours along with old vessels.

Mapping the oceans for safe navigation & economic resources

The Indian Naval Hydrographic Department (INHD), headed by the Chief Hydrographer to the Government of India, is the arm of the IN responsible for hydrographic surveys and nautical charting in India. This includes electronic navigational charts. With the emergence of the Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ] out to 370 kms from the coastline we need more than ever before to map the continental shelf. The INHD also maps coastal areas on behalf of other countries as a part of our soft power goodwill. It also maps the weather and atmospheric variations in the middle of the Indian ocean from where cyclones start. Hydrographic departments of most major navies co-operate with each other under an international memorandum to keep sea navigation safe for all.

We have 9 ships in commission and a further 9 on order/under construction. One of the ships is INS Investigator. It is the only ship in the Navy to have an English name. Since the 1700s the IN and its predecessor formations have always had a hydrographic survey ship named INS Investigator. It is an auspicious tradition that has been carried forward after independence.

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Naval training of sailors and officers is conducted at academies on shore and on ships. Officer cadets, called midshipmen, are trained on a specialized training ship INS Tir.

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All officer candidates have to undergo a term of training on board the sailing ship INS Tarangini or its sister INS Sudarshini. The sea and its forces you learn best while manning a sailing ship. This is no longer followed in most navies but the IN and some others navies with deep history like the Germans, French and Italians take this seriously. TBHP members who sail will understand why it is important to man a sailing vessel to understand the sea.

Reach, Endurance and Sustained Operations

To sustain operations far from home ships need fuel, spares, food, ammunition, stores and so on. Reach, Endurance and Sustainability are essential for the deterrent component of a naval squadron. These are provided by combat support ships and oilers. These are very large vessels and usually the largest after the aircraft carriers. India has 4 such ships - INS Deepak, INS Shakti, INS Jyoti and INS Aditya. For our size & responsibilities we are short of combat support ships. Our support ships are traditionally named for words meaning Light, Motherhood and Female Energy.

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The men and women of the Indian Navy...its ultimate and finest assets

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The Naval Ensign flown on every ship

Reference Material

Blueprint to Bluewater; The Indian Navy 1951-65 by Rear Admiral Satyendra Singh; Lancer Publications (part of the official history of the Indian Navy)
Transition to Triumph, Indian Navy 1965 to 1975 by Vice Admiral GM Hiranandani; Lancer Publications (part of the official history of the Indian Navy)
Transition to Eminence, The Indian Navy 1976 to 1990 by Vice Admiral GM Hiranandani; Lancer Publications (part of the official history of the Indian Navy)
Transition to Guardianship, The Indian Navy 1990 to 2000 by Vice Admiral GM Hiranandani; Lancer Publications (part of the official history of the Indian Navy)
The Indian Navy, An Illustrated History; Published by Naval Headquarters
The Indian Navy, a Photo Essay by Rear Admiral Raja Menon; Published by Naval Headquarters
The Indian Navy, A Nautical Tryst; Published by Naval Headquarters

Carrier Aviation, Air Power Directory; AIR Time Publishing
The Encyclopedia of World Sea Power by Chris Bishop; Published by Crescent Books
The Encyclopedia of Modern Military Aircraft; General Editor Paul Aden; Publisher Amber Books, UK
World Naval Forces, Christopher Chant, Publisher Willow Collins
Modern Submarine Warfare by David Miller & John Jordan; Publisher Military Press, Salamander Books Ltd

Jane's All the Worlds Fighting Ships 2014 edition
Jane's Submarines by Robert Hutchinson; Published by Harper Collins

Photo Copyright/Source
$$ Indian Navy
%% Mazagon Docks, Mumbai or Cochin Shipyard, Cochin
## sourced from Wikipedia
^^ blog on malaysianmilitarypower
&& Bharat

"How much do you earn", they asked.
"1.3 billion salutes a day", the soldier replied.


Last edited by V.Narayan : 8th October 2017 at 22:04.
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Old 9th October 2017, 07:14   #3
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Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Commercial Vehicles Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 9th October 2017, 10:35   #4
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Narayan, just glanced, i need to go in details, but salute to your exhaustive coverage of Navy.
Indian navy has historically embarked on indigenous route with competent design beauro, they get proactively get involved in all their project entrusted, which is very important.
A fantastic effort. A reference post as primer to wikipedia.Hats off
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Old 9th October 2017, 11:02   #5
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What can I say V Narayan, but reading about these ships makes me very nostalgic and miss my Dad. He served on quite a few of them including the Queen of the IN fleet, the INS Vikrant (as XO), in the '60s and '70s. We used to go for family day functions onboard. I am sure you remember those outings.

Thanks a lot and I mean that with a lot of gratitude.
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Old 9th October 2017, 11:08   #6
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Great writeup as usual Narayan.

One thing I find puzzling is the Indian Navy Ensign.

The British left India 70 years ago , but we still hold onto to them it seems

Left is the Indian Navy Ensign and the right is the Royal Navy Ensign.
Attached Images

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Old 9th October 2017, 11:10   #7
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Thanks, for the details of the Indian navy.
BTW if anybody wants to have a look at submarine, they should go to
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Old 9th October 2017, 11:57   #8
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An outstanding post. Very well put together. Sharp and concise. Gave a full overview of IN vessels without any confusion. Got an understanding of the wide capabilities and their practical implications.
Thank you.
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Old 9th October 2017, 12:55   #9
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great piece of Information!! thanks a lot for sharing.
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Old 9th October 2017, 14:56   #10
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Narayan, some questions and comments:

1) How about a few words on AIP (Air Independent Propulsion) submarines? Kalvari class subs are likely to be equipped with DRDO developed AIP system. I read somewhere that they are quieter than even Nuclear subs (because nuclear subs need to keep pumping water in and out)

2) How good are surface ships like destroyers, frigates and corvettes against submarines? Won't a submarine spot surface vessels first and fire?

3) I think we need more submarines. It brings in asymmetric element against a more powerful enemy like China. And that is exactly what Pakistan Navy is doing against India. They already have 8 submarines and have recently signed a deal with China for acquiring 8 more:
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Old 9th October 2017, 16:17   #11
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Wonderful post on a topic very fond to me ! Thanks a lot ! Every time I visit Cochin i try to drive around the marine drive and Cochin Ship Yard to get some view of these breathtaking boats that safeguard our seas. I also have heard stories of how they train young navy cadets and especially the MARCOS - must say the general public knows less of these heroes compared to those in the Land and Air forces.

I was an avid viewer of "Sea Hawk" during my childhood, Apart from these ships the "Sea Harrier" was an aircraft that fascinated me, unfortunately they have been decommissioned now

Coming to the fondest of boats - the submarines, i just go gaga over them. Have had the privilege in my earlier organisation to work closely in designing some of the equipment that go into these subs. I keep repeat watching moves like Crimson tide, U 571, The Ghazi Attack i felt was a decent portrayal if not as good as the western ones. The life of a submariner is mind blowing'ly courageous and adventurous - imagine being shut in a steel container with no view of sunlight/sky or outside world for months together traversing the depths of the ocean and still thinking of nothing but serving our nation.

Had a fulfilling time reading this !
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Old 9th October 2017, 16:34   #12
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What a wonderful information put together here, V.Narayan sir!

This can serve as a landing page for everything you want to know about INS - and then go onto details of each one of these. One feel proud looking at the pictures.

Not to forget the ones who matters the most.

Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post

5.11Attachment 1683268$$
The men and women of the Indian Navy...its ultimate and finest assets
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Old 9th October 2017, 16:39   #13
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Thanks V. Narayanan for such an exciting and informative write-up, like earlier.

One fact impresses us: that the IN is a builder's navy. IN has developed capability to engineer (design) and build it's ships and boats. This shall surely give us an advantage.

Then comes to mind, the history of accidents that these machines meet. Unexpected explosions, collisions and what not. To eliminate the human errors behind these incidents, is it not possible to assign some operational and training roles to design (engineering) staff? And vice versa (for more workable and safe designs)?
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Old 9th October 2017, 20:02   #14
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Originally Posted by Rahul Bhalgat View Post
One fact impresses us: that the IN is a builder's navy. IN has developed capability to engineer (design) and build it's ships and boats. This shall surely give us an advantage.
Don't want to sound prejudiced but there are two reasons for this. First the IN kept our DRDO out of ship design and systems integration. Being the smallest of the 3 services it managed to do this under the radar till it was too successful to be changed.

The Navy has always had its own naval architects who design ships. This was long range thinking by the naval leaders in the 1950s long before DRDO was born. Also in any Navy the engineers who maintain and the executive arm who operate sail together on the same ship, live cheek and jowl and understand each others problems. In the IAF on the other hand the executive arm run by the flying branch has a more limited idea of the sheer complexity of design and manufacture. Hence the IN always says let me see what I have and improve it by 20% and keep doing that every 7 years. The IAF laid out the most superlative specs for the LCA 30 years ago and after billions we are still waiting for a full squadron to be in service.
Then comes to mind, the history of accidents that these machines meet. Unexpected explosions, collisions and what not. To eliminate the human errors behind these incidents, is it not possible to assign some operational and training roles to design (engineering) staff? And vice versa (for more workable and safe designs)?
We have had more than our share of accidents in the last 10 years - about 5 or 6 that would be classed as major. It is hard to say what is the common cause. It could be the increased tempo of operations not allowing time for training. It could be men being over worked and not getting enough sleep time. It could be that the men in uniform carry the burden of delivery in a dockyard while the civilian workers are always unionized. It could be inadequate budgets for deep maintenance of old ships and hulls and change of submarine batteries. It could also be poor training and some mix of all of the above.
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
Narayan, some questions and comments:

1) How about a few words on AIP (Air Independent Propulsion) submarines? Kalvari class subs are likely to be equipped with DRDO developed AIP system. I read somewhere that they are quieter than even Nuclear subs (because nuclear subs need to keep pumping water in and out)

2) How good are surface ships like destroyers, frigates and corvettes against submarines? Won't a submarine spot surface vessels first and fire?

3) I think we need more submarines. It brings in asymmetric element against a more powerful enemy like China. And that is exactly what Pakistan Navy is doing against India. They already have 8 submarines and have recently signed a deal with China for acquiring 8 more:
Smartcat, as expected you have come up with the most complex and thought provoking questions. I will answer on the weekend.

Originally Posted by Foxbat View Post
One thing I find puzzling is the Indian Navy Ensign.
The British left India 70 years ago , but we still hold onto to them it seems
Left is the Indian Navy Ensign and the right is the Royal Navy Ensign.
Foxbat, great question. This question was dwelt upon by the Navy about 17 years ago. There were the nationalists (read parochial politicians) who want everything to change to reflect their version of politically correct and there were the traditionalists who said keep things as they are. A lot in our Navy (and Army, IAF) are traditions, procedures, work culture, ranks and uniforms inherited from the British including the ethos of remaining apolitical.

The flag with the red cross & our tri-colour is the flag the Navy chose on 15th August 1947 to reflect the new India and the old past. It is the flag the Navy has fought under and carried to war proudly in 1965, 1971, Sri Lanka operations and 1999. It is a flag men have died for. And so after much heated debate and a short period with a different flag (change for its own sake) the Navy reverted back to the red cross and tri-colour and to quieten down the politicians added the Ashoka Lion and Satyamev Jayate in the centre. Unlike some other parts of our society the Navy is confident enough to embrace its past - even our erstwhile colonial exploiters - and move forward. When we are weak and unconfident we want to change names of roads to proclaim ourselves. When we are confident we can let Raffles Square in Singapore remain as that and not be re-named Lee Kuan Yew Square.

The red cross or St George's cross is a part of the naval ensign of some commonwealth countries - Ghana, Trinidad, India, New Zealand, Australia and of course UK and a few others. In my opinion the flag looks handsome and traditions should not be tinkered by politicians. After all our uniforms and rank insignia too are a derivative of the British. Hope this helps.
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Old 10th October 2017, 03:46   #15
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Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
Narayan, some questions and comments:

1) How about a few words on AIP (Air Independent Propulsion) submarines? Kalvari class subs are likely to be equipped with DRDO developed AIP system. I read somewhere that they are quieter than even Nuclear subs (because nuclear subs need to keep pumping water in and out)

2) How good are surface ships like destroyers, frigates and corvettes against submarines? Won't a submarine spot surface vessels first and fire?

3) I think we need more submarines. It brings in asymmetric element against a more powerful enemy like China. And that is exactly what Pakistan Navy is doing against India. They already have 8 submarines and have recently signed a deal with China for acquiring 8 more:
If I can interject, AIP is possibly one of the most crucial new developments. There's a great record of how well regarded the technology is that an early derivative of the Swedish Gottland class was leased by the US Navy. See below for the full story.

In the replacement for the Australian Collins class, DCNS has proposed a sort of super AIP sub, one that is fundamentally still a non nuclear submarine but by virtue of it's size and the advances in AIP tech, would offer the time on station that is so coveted and stubbornly held up as the pinnacle of nuclear sub tech. In fact there's a tremendous amount of debate within the US Navy itself that maybe given the tight financial situation, and the operational needs it has given the shift to a Pacific theatre with greater Chinese undersea numbers, it is silly to ignore making conventional AIP subs. This is how far the tech has come, that even within the dogmatic undersea corps of the USN, there are increasingly louder noises to abandon this nuclear only policy.

For India then AIP could offer an incredible cost effective (vis-a-vis nuclear propulsion of course) way to up hull numbers to balance the increasing numbers of potential subs from other states entering the IOR. You're absolutely right about the asymmetric warfare aspect. Chinese doctrine, along with many others now increasingly adopt an Anti-Access/Area-Denial A2/AD strategy that seeks to offset the overwhelming hardware advantage a potential adversary may have. We see the Chinese enacting this through their modern day sea basing programme, or as we better know it, their artificial islands within the First Island Chain, that have been weaponised with SAMs and airstrips to forward base some airpower. India in turn could seek to do similarly. Numerically and hardware wise India would be incapable of matching the PLAN. Instead India can count on the tyranny of distance for the PLAN operating so far out from home ports (though their String of Pearls is one solution to this). India should seek to establish a set of A2/AD missile batteries, maybe even forward base some light jets at Andaman and Nicobar and maybe a few of the smaller islands out there so the Malacca Straits can be choked to suit.

All this would be predicated on all other aspects of the ASW capability of the IN being ship shape. In this regard there's plenty of work to be done. ASW helo's are woefully old and no new platforms have been inducted to the best of my knowledge. As Mr Narayan correctly points out, a decade was lost under the dithering stewardship of AK Anthony.

Here's a good piece that might cover a few of your bases if you have time to spare, it covers the Indian situation from a different perspective (TWZ is fairly balanced in general):

On a lighter note, here's a fun little story of a submariner tradition:
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