India's latest destroyer, the Mormugao, is set to be launched for the first time on Saturday at Mumbai's Mazgaon Docks. The ship will then be fitted out and inducted into the Navy two years later. The Mormugao is the second of a class of Project 15-B destroyers -- slated to be the most advanced destroyers built in India. Four are being built at a cost of Rs. 29,700 crore.
With displacement of 7,300 tonnes, the Mormugao spans 163 metres in length and is powered by 4 Ukrainian gas turbine engines to achieve speeds in excess of 30 knots, approximately 56 km per hour. With a complement of 50 officers and 250 sailors, the Project 15B destroyers are designed to operate 4,000 nautical miles at sea. According the Navy,
"These ships are among the most technologically advanced guided missile destroyers in the world, with state-of-the-art weapons/sensors package, advanced stealth features and a high degree of automation."
The key sensor of the Mormugao will be its Israeli-designed Multi-Function Surveillance Threat Alert Radar (MF-STAR), designed to track targets in the air hundreds of kilometres away. Once a lock-on is achieved, the MF-STAR can direct several Barak 8 Long-Range Surface to Air missiles (LR-SAM) to intercept the targets. The LR-SAM is a joint venture between India and Israel and is considered among the most sophisticated missiles of its class in the world being designed to intercept enemy aircraft and supersonic missiles more than 70 km away.
The Mormugao is also armed with the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, which can hit targets at land and at sea 300 km away. All key systems are integrated onboard the ship through a Ship Data Network, a Combat Management System, an Automated Power Management System among a host of computer controlled systems, which monitor every parameter of the ship's operations. In fact, the Navy describes the new destroyers as a true "Network of Networks, representing a high level of automation for monitoring and control of various shipboard systems that would be integrated into the ship." The Navy is aiming for a 68% indigenisation target for the Project 15-B class. The other components are being imported and integrated by Mazgaon Docks Limited.
Compared to the Navy's Project 15-A destroyers, which are now entering service, the Project 15B ships will be less detectable by radar, use radar absorbent paint during its construction and its propellers will be more silent to make detection by enemy submarines and warships more difficult. In the last 6 years, the Indian Navy has inducted 8 frontline warships and has launched 5 warships which are in the process of being constructed.