Indian Navy received its third Project 15B stealth guided missile destroyer, the “Imphal,” on October 20, 2023. Constructed at the prestigious Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL), this achievement signifies a substantial leap in India’s indigenous shipbuilding capabilities.
The Project 15B destroyer program is a continuation of the successful Kolkata-class (Project 15A) destroyers, commissioned over the last decade. “Imphal” follows in the footsteps of her predecessors, Indian Naval Ships Visakhapatnam and Mormugao, which were commissioned into service in the past two years.
Designed by the Indian Navy’s Warship Design Bureau (WDB) and meticulously built by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd, Mumbai, the “Imphal” is a testament to India’s prowess in indigenous shipbuilding. It stands as one of the most technologically advanced warships globally.
The destroyer boasts a displacement of 7,400 tons and an impressive overall length of 164 meters, making it a potent and versatile platform. It is equipped with state-of-the-art weapons and sensors, including surface-to-air missiles, anti-ship missiles, and torpedoes. Propelled by a Combined Gas and Gas (COGAG) propulsion system consisting of four gas turbines, “Imphal” is capable of reaching speeds exceeding 30 knots (approximately 56 km/h).
A highlight of the vessel is its remarkable indigenous content, accounting for approximately 75% of its components. These include the Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missiles (manufactured by BEL, Bangalore), BrahMos Surface-to-Surface Missiles (produced by BrahMos Aerospace, New Delhi), Indigenous Torpedo Tube Launchers (crafted by Larsen & Toubro, Mumbai), Anti-Submarine Indigenous Rocket Launchers (also from Larsen & Toubro, Mumbai), and a 76mm Super Rapid Gun Mount (manufactured by BHEL, Haridwar).
The journey of “Imphal” began with the keel-laying ceremony on May 19, 2017, followed by its launch into the water on April 20, 2019. Notably, the vessel embarked on her maiden sea trials on April 28, 2023, and has since undergone a comprehensive schedule of trials in harbor and at sea. Impressively, the entire process, from keel-laying to delivery, was accomplished in a record time frame of only six months, setting a new benchmark for the construction of indigenous destroyers.
The delivery of “Imphal” represents a significant stride in India’s ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) initiative. It exemplifies the collaborative efforts of numerous stakeholders and is poised to enhance the nation’s maritime capabilities significantly, particularly in the strategically important Indian Ocean Region. This achievement underscores India’s commitment to self-sufficiency and the modernization of its defense capabilities, marking a historic milestone in the nation’s naval strength.