On Wednesday, Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar commissioned the stealth guided missile destroyer INS Kochi at a ceremony held at the Mazagon naval dockyards in Mumbai, The Hindu reports.
The INS Kochi is the second in a series of three planned Kolkata-class (Project 15A) destroyers of the Indian Navy. The destroyers are designed to be multi-mission ships capable of engaging in anti-submarine/anti-ship warfare, land attacks, and air defense. Given their multi-purpose role, the destroyers are ideally suited for supporting expeditionary and surface strike groups.
An Indian defense official paraphrased by The Hindu outlined key features of the latest addition to the Indian Navy’s surface fleet:
The ship incorporates new design concepts for improved survivability, stealth, seakeeping and maneuverability. (…)Enhanced stealth features have been achieved through shaping of hull and use of radar-transparent deck fittings. A bow mounted sonar dome, the second of its kind in an indigenous naval platform, has been introduced to enhance sonar acoustic performance.
With a crew of 325 and powered by four gas turbines, the 7,500-ton vessel boasts a speed in excess of 30 knots and has a range of approximately 8,000 nautical miles (15,000 kilometers, 9,200 miles).
The ship’s armament consists of a 76mm Super Rapid Gun Mount, a fully-automated Russian AK-630 close-in weapon system, and RBU-6000 rocket launchers, as well as indigenous twin-tube torpedo launchers. The vessel also can carry up to 32 Barak-8/NGs — an Indo-Israeli surface-to-air missile (SAM) jointly developed by Rafael-IAI and India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO).
Furthermore, the vessel sports a vertical launch missile system for long-distance engagement of shore and sea-based targets. The INS Kochi’s principal anti-ship weapon is the BrahMos surface-to-surface supersonic cruise missile, which boasts an operating range of 290 km and was co-developed by the DRDO and the Russian defense industry.
The destroyer carries the Elbit Systems Deseaver MK-II decoy control and launching system to provide protection against anti-ship missiles. The ship’s Multi-Function Surveillance Threat Alert Radar (MF-STAR) is the Israeli equivalent to the U.S. Navy’s Aegis Combat System and allegedly on par with the Chinese “Aegis” system installed on the Type 052D Multirole Destroyer.
The INS Kochi also boasts a large flight deck and can carry two multiple-role aircraft (e.g., Sea King or HAL Dhruv helicopters).
The lead ship of the Kolkata-class, the INS Kolkata, was commissioned back in August 2014 after a four-year delay caused by repeated design changes, supply chain interruptions, and technical problems during sea trials. The third and final vessel, the INS Chennai, is slated for induction at the end of 2016. The INS Kochi is the tenth destroyer commissioned into the Indian Navy.