IDF celebrates the completion of India’s powerful 7,500 ton ‘Made In India’ Type 15A Missile Guided BrahMos-Barak-8 destroyer Chennai as she joins the Fleet. IDF thanks PRO Navy (DPR) for excellent inputs.
IDF wishes all on board fair winds and following seas, the traditional good wish to a ship as RM Manohar Parrikar commissions her at Mumbai’s Naval Dockyard on 21st Nov and the Navy takes her over from Mazagon Docks Shipyard Ltd (MDSL) so that MDSL can get on with three TYPE 17B and four TYPE 17A and five Scorpenes worth Rs 60,000 cr !
INS Chennai is among the largest destroyers constructed in India, with a length overall of 164 meters and displacement of over 7,500 tons. The ship is a potent platform with ASEA SEA AIR M/F STAR ELTA E/L M 2248 and AMDR ELTA E/L 2238 for Barak 8 long range AA defence and RAWL -08 Thales BEL radar, ELLORA EW and a WEESE BEL Command system based on the Russia ‘Cashmere’. She is propelled by 2 powerful RUSSIAN GAS TURBINES and two MAN diesels, in Combined Gas and Gas (COGAG) propulsion plant, consisting of four reversible gas turbines, which enables her to achieve a top speed of over 30 knots (approximately 55 kilometers per hour). The ship boasts of a very high level of automation with sophisticated digital networks, such as ATM based integrated Ship Data Network (AISDN), Combat Management System (CMS), Automatic Power Management System (APMS) and Auxilliary Control System (ACS). She is what is called a DREAM COMMAND in her first commission.
The ship is capable of undertaking a variety of tasks and missions, spanning the full spectrum of maritime warfare with GSAT 7 Rukmini Internet and links. She is armed with supersonic Surface to Surface ‘BrahMos’ missiles, and ‘Barak-8’ Long Range Surface to Air missiles. The undersea warfare capable boasts of indigenously developed anti-submarine weapons and sensors, prominently the Hull Mounted Sonar ‘HUMSA-NG’, Heavyweight Torpedo Tube Launchers Rocket Launchers RBU -6000 by L&T and Towed Array sonar capability when available.
For defence against enemy missiles, the ship is fitted with ‘Kavach’ chaff decoy system and for defence against enemy torpedoes, it is fitted with ‘Mareech’ torpedo decoy system, both developed indigenously in India. The ship is designed to carry and operate up to two multi-role helicopters.
The ship’s crest depicts the outline of the iconic Fort Saint George at Chennai in the background, a part of the adjacent beach in front, and a sloop on blue and white waves in the background. The crew of the ship abides by the Sanskrit motto ‘Shatro Sanharaka’ meaning ‘Vanquisher of Enemies’. The motto epitomizes the warrior spirit and strong resolve of the ship and her crew to prevail and succeed in combat.
INDIA’S MARITIME HERITAGE
India has a rich maritime heritage harking back 5,000 years . The world’s first tidal dock was built at Lothal in 2300 BC during the Indus Civilisation , a tourist attraction near the port of Mangrol on Gujrat coast, few visit .
Today modern India wishes to reclaim its proud maritime heritage and the Indian Navy is an important constituent in that strategy in the 21st Century, called the Century of ‘Maritimization’ coined by Adm Bernard Rogel. Indians will have to wake up to Geo-economics which can be used as an economic means and as a tool of Geopolitical influence and Indians will have to appreciate that maritime power and a powerful Navy will be essential as it was to make Indus civilization so rich and influential.
The IN was established in 1830, and became known as the Royal Indian Navy (RIN) as monarchist Britain ruled India, though it traces its beginnings back to 1620, when the East India Trading Company set up a naval force to protect its ships and trade routes. The RIN mutiny by Indian ratings in 1946 gave a jolt to the British, and possibly made the British feel it was time to leave India.
India gained independence in 1947, and on 26th January, 1950 RIN became the Indian Navy (IN) but held on to its Royal Navy pedigree, traditions and moorings. RN Admirals Sir Charles Thomas Mark Pizey was Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) till 21 July 1955, Sir Stephen Hope Carlill till 28 April 1958, when UK trained Vice Admiral R D Katari took over, as the first Indian CNS. This intrigued Stalin. Currently Adm Sunil Lanba is the Chief of Naval Staff, a second generation naval officer and a graduate of RCDS and slated to serve till 2019.
From small beginnings of twelve sloops and other smaller ships in 1947 it surprises many , how big the Indian Navy has become with 140 ships and submarines and 225 aircraft , putting it in the top league, behind America, Russia, China and Japan and possibly eclipses the European Navies. Indian Navy’s swift actions with alacrity with 32 ships in the Indian Ocean in the 2004 Tsunami had a favourable effect on Indian attitudes and planning.
But it was the Chinese naval expansion in the last twenty years that made Indian planners realise it had been outnumbered and in some cases out-classed by China’s intention to be a major world naval power and would even interfere in the Indian Ocean where Indian Navy has been mandated to be the, ‘ Net Security Provider’. This happened a bit late, but Navy planned for such a scenario, despite funds crunch (12 % of defence budgets). Chennai is one fruit of that planning made in India. SHAN NO VARUNA.