INS Imphal Commissioned into Indian Navy, to Bolster India’s Naval Defence

Indian Navy

Mumbai: Indian Navy’s latest stealth-guided missile destroyer ‘INS Imphal’, named after a city from the northeast region and can fire extended-range supersonic BRAHMOS missiles, was commissioned into the Indian Navy in Mumbai on December 26 in the presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

During the commissioning of INS Imphal into India Navy in Mumbai, the minister in his opening address said: “India plays the role of Net Security Provider in the Indian Ocean Region; Together with friendly countries, we will keep the sea lanes secure to ensure that maritime trade touches greater heights.” Adding, “India’s growing power has filled some forces with jealousy & hatred; Perpetrators of attacks on Merchant Vessels ‘Chem Pluto’ and ‘Sai Baba’ will soon be brought to justice.”

“India has intensified patrolling of seas after recent attacks on merchant navy ships. The government has taken the drone attack on MV Chem Pluto and attack on MV Saibaba in the Red Sea seriously,” said defence minister Rajnath Singh.

Describing INS Imphal as a shining example of ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in defence and a reflection of the commitment of Indian Navy, MDL & all other stakeholders towards national security. “INS Imphal is a symbol of India’s growing maritime power and it will strengthen it further. It will bolster our principle of ‘Jalmev Yasya, Balmev Tasya’ (One Who Controls the Sea is All Powerful) in the Indo-Pacific region,” he said.

The minister defined INS Imphal as a conglomeration of different strengths of the nation. “BrahMos Aerospace installed BRAHMOS missile on the ship. Torpedo tube launchers are of Larsen & Toubro (L&T). Rapid Gun Mount has been installed by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), and Medium Range missiles by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL). In addition, many start-ups and MSMEs are involved in its construction. Just like many elements have given a concrete form to INS Imphal, people from all walks of life should work together for us to become ‘Viksit Bharat’. Every citizen is a carrier of India’s security and progress. Whenever one works, the betterment of the nation must be kept in mind,” he said.

He pointed out that with the Himalayas in the north and the hostile behaviour of Pakistan in the west, most of India’s goods trade comes through sea, which makes it an island country from a ‘trade’ perspective. He stressed on the need to continuously develop the Navy’s capabilities as global trade is of great importance to India to secure its national interests.

In his address, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar said, “The name Imphal is very significant. This is the first time we are naming a major warship after a city in the Northeast of Bharat. We have a community of about 400 personnel from Manipur and it just symbolises the way warship functions with personnel from all over the country, all districts, all blocks, all working together for one single cause which is of holding our tricolour and fulfilling the mission of the ship.”

He stated that INS Imphal possesses the distinction of being a shining symbol of the Indian Navy’s unflinching commitment towards achieving the vision of self-reliance in defence. He also termed it a testimony to ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ vision of the Government and added that the ship will not only tackle physical threats that emanate from the seas, but will also demonstrate the strength of an integrated country.

“INS Imphal will deter the various designs that try to harm national unity. It will breathe fire upon the enemy and demonstrate unflinching resolve in the face of adversity,” he said. He showed confidence that the fourth Project 15B stealth guided missile destroyer ‘Surat’ will be commissioned in 2024. Prior to the commissioning of INS Imphal, two destroyers of the same class INS Visakhapatnam and INS Mormugao were commissioned into the Navy in 2021 and 2022 respectively.

The chief of naval staff also spoke on the anti-piracy and anti-drone strike operations by the Indian Navy and said that robust action would be taken against the increasing number of drone and piracy attacks.

“You are aware that the Navy is undertaking antipiracy and anti-drone strike operations. It is a matter of concern now that the number of attacks has gone up. To put it into correct perspective, since November 19, there have been altogether 30 drone and piracy attacks. So between November 19 to date, about 35 days, that roughly translates to one attack per day or so. If we look to the previous year before we had barely 4-5 incidents. The frequency has definitely gone up,” he said.

The navy chief pointed out that to counter such incidents, the Indian Navy has deployed four destroyers of Project 15B and 15A class. Also, the P8I Aircraft, Dorniers, Sea Guardians, Helicopters and Coast Guard Ships have all been deployed jointly to counter these threats.

“The Navy has decided to take very robust action to protect merchant shipping. About 50per cent of these 30 attacks have happened in the Red Sea and no attacks have happened against any of the Indian-flagged merchant vessels. We’re going to board and search all the suspicious vessels. We will put in additional units to bring this under control, added the Navy Chief. “The Navy aims to induct at least one Agniveer from each district, each block and each village of the country.”

INS Imphal under Project 15 B was delivered to the Indian Navy on October 20 after completing a rigorous and comprehensive trial programme both in the harbour and at sea. It has been indigenously designed by the navy’s in-house organisation, Warship Design Bureau and has been constructed by defence PSU Mazagon Dock Limited, Mumbai. With 75 percent indigenous content, enhanced stealth features & state-of-the-art equipment, the ship to further strengthen India’s maritime power & safeguard national interests. The ship measures 163m in length, 17m in breadth with a displacement of 7,400 tonnes and is amongst the most potent warships built in India. It is propelled by four powerful Gas Turbines, in a Combined Gas & Gas configuration, and is capable of speeds in excess of 30 knots.

Its keel was laid on May 19, 2017 and the ship was launched on April 20, 2019. The ship sailed for her maiden sea sortie on April 28, 2023, and underwent comprehensive trials in harbour & at sea, with its delivery on October 20, 2023 marking a record time frame of less than six months. The time taken to build INS Imphal and undergo trials has been the shortest for any indigenous destroyer. The ship successfully completed the first-ever test-firing of extended range BRAHMOS missile prior to its commissioning, making it ‘weapon-ready’.

The ship has a total complement of about 315 personnel, and is commanded by Captain KK Choudhury, a Gunnery and Missiles specialist. It will enhance the Navy’s mobility, reach and flexibility in safeguarding the nation’s maritime security and interests. INS Imphal has enhanced stealth features resulting in a reduced Radar Cross Section, achieved through efficient shaping of hull, full beam superstructure design, plated masts and use of radar transparent material on exposed decks.

It is armed with sophisticated state-of-the-art weapons and sensors, including Surface-to-Surface Missiles, Surface-to-Air Missiles, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) rocket launchers & Torpedo launchers, ASW helicopters, radars, sonar and Electronic Warfare systems. The ship is equipped to fight under Nuclear, Biological and Chemical warfare conditions. The indigenous equipment/systems include Combat Management System, Rocket Launcher, Torpedo Launcher, Integrated Platform Management System, Automated Power Management System, Foldable Hangar Doors, Helo Traversing system, Close-in Weapon System, and the Bow-mounted SONAR.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde was also present at the event that marked the formal induction into the Navy of the third of four ‘Visakhapatnam’ class destroyers. Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command Vice Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi and Director (Finance) with Additional Charge of Chairman & Managing Director, MDL Sanjeev Singhal were among those who attended the commissioning ceremony.