The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, expressed pride as INS Imphal was commissioned into the Indian Navy, marking a significant moment for the nation’s growing self-reliance in defense. The commissioning ceremony took place at the naval dockyard in Mumbai, showcasing India’s naval excellence and engineering prowess. In a tweet, the Prime Minister underscored the achievement, stating, “Proud moment for India as INS Imphal has been commissioned into our Navy, a testament to India’s growing self-reliance in defense.“
INS Imphal, the latest addition to the Indian Navy’s fleet, is a stealth-guided missile destroyer equipped with advanced weaponry. Its commissioning ceremony was attended by top dignitaries, including Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who emphasized the warship’s role in showcasing India’s self-reliance in the defense sector.
The warship, part of Project 15B and the Visakhapatnam class, marks a leap forward in India’s indigenous naval capabilities. The four ships under Project 15B, including INS Imphal, are built by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDSL), a key Defense Public Sector Undertaking (PSU). These ships represent the latest evolution in India’s destroyer fleet, following the Kolkata and Delhi classes.
Project 15B was initiated in 2011 to develop advanced variants of the Kolkata class guided missile destroyers. The lead ship, INS Visakhapatnam, was commissioned in November 2021, followed by INS Mormugao in December 2022. INS Imphal, the third ship in the series, was launched on December 26, marking a crucial step in strengthening India’s naval capabilities.
The construction of INS Imphal, also known as Yard 12706, witnessed significant milestones. The keel laying ceremony, a traditional naval practice, took place on May 17, 2017, with the ship’s components being assembled in the dock. The ship was launched into the water on April 20, 2019, and underwent comprehensive sea trials, culminating in its delivery on October 20.
The Visakhapatnam class destroyers, including INS Imphal, possess impressive technological characteristics and armament. With a length of 163 meters, a width of 17.4 meters, and a displacement of 7,400 tonnes, these ships feature a ‘combined gas and gas’ (COGAG) configuration, allowing a maximum speed of 30 knots and a range of 4000 nautical miles. The class’s design prioritizes superior ergonomics and habitability for the crew.
Equipped with a state-of-the-art combat management system, the Visakhapatnam class enhances operational efficiency by evaluating threats and allocating resources based on the tactical picture. The class incorporates advanced features such as multiple fire zones, elaborate battle damage control systems, and a total atmospheric control system (TACS) for protection against chemical, biological, and nuclear threats.
The strategic significance of destroyers lies in their high speed, maneuverability, and striking capability. The Visakhapatnam class, being a follow-on of the Kolkata class, incorporates feedback from the Navy and introduces new features. Its stealth capabilities, combined with a high indigenous component, make it a formidable asset in naval operations.
INS Imphal holds particular significance as it pays tribute to the city of Imphal and the North-eastern region’s contributions to India’s freedom struggle. The Ministry of Defence highlighted the city’s historical importance, from the Anglo-Manipur War of 1891 to the Battle of Imphal during World War II. Commissioning INS Imphal underscores the city’s and the region’s role in national security, sovereignty, and prosperity.
As India continues to strengthen its naval capabilities, the commissioning of INS Imphal stands as a symbol of the nation’s commitment to self-reliance in defense and its ability to navigate the complex challenges of the maritime domain. The Visakhapatnam class represents a new era in India’s naval prowess, ready to secure the seas and contribute to the nation’s strategic objectives.