The Indian Navy Is Undertaking A Huge Expansion
As India continues its import reliance on foreign military technology the transformation of its naval might has gone a different route. Even with parts and subsystems ordered from abroad the scale of ongoing warship construction taking place among local shipyards is incomparable and, slowly but surely, these efforts are pushing local capabilities forward.
Just last month the second of four planned Project 15B destroyers was launched from the Mazagon Docks Ltd. (MDL) shipyard. Displacing at 7,300 tons each of the Project 15B vessels, meant as follow-ups to the two Project 15 ships labeled the Kolkata-class, give the Indian Navy an indisputable edge against its closest maritime rival (Pakistan) and prepare it to command the vast Indian Ocean. It also cements India’s reputation in the select club of Asian countries, i.e. China, Japan, South Korea, who can develop and manufacture their own destroyers.
Another ambitious project are seven 120 meter missile corvettes. These aren’t additions to the Kamorta-class stealth corvette (pictured above) designed to hunt submarines, of which four were ordered and two have been commissioned so far. A little longer and heavier, the seven are a new class of vessel designed to be armed with the supersonic BrahMos missile. Classified as “multirole next-generation corvettes,” the scant details about this effort reveal the first of the class should be launched by 2023–just seven years from now.
But the Indian Navy’s plans are far from credible. The entire armed forces’ procurement apparatus is notorious for endless delays. The recent ordeal of the INS Vikramaditya as well as the teething problems suffered by the upcoming INS Vikrant suggest the larger the goal, the more difficult it becomes to fulfill on time.
The astounding fact is the Indian Navy is committed to launching at least 50 new warships, including six Arihant-class SSBNs, within the next 10 years. Ignoring whatever problems could arise in this timeframe the outcome would pole vault the Indian Navy to genuine peer-competitor status versus China.