VC 11184 Missile Range Instrumentation Ship
A naval vessel with a mystery name — VC 11184 — has been built at Hindustan Shipyard Ltd (HSL) at a cost of 725 crore under a classified project which began four years ago. The vessel is referred to by some soruces as as an "Ocean Surveillance Ship (OSS)" but in American nomenclature, this appelation would reference a sonar hydrographic monitoring ship, whereas this is in fact a Missile Range Instrumentation Ship, which would be designed as AGM. The sea trials of India’s first and most prestigious missile tracking ship built at the Ministry of Defence-owned Hindustan Shipyard Limited received an encouraging response, highly reliable sources told The Hindu in March 2019. The VC 11184 was floated out on April 25, 2016, at a ceremony. This was the first time when the HSL yard successfully undertook multiple float out of four different vessels (on the same date) at the same time in the "Building Dock".
The Indian government had asked its two state-owned shipbuilders to manufacture a specially designed ship that can monitor the flight trajectory of Indian intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles during test launches. However, the final product is an upgraded version that can also track the inbound flight trajectories of multiple maneuverable warheads. Like hush-hush construction of nuclear submarines, complete secrecy is being maintained by Navy and HSL on the missile-range instrumentation ship, which will be India’s most advanced and largest ocean surveillance vessel that can track ballistic missiles.
The ship’s keel was laid on June 30, 2014 and the shipyard has been given a timeline of December, 2015 to finish the project. A highly-placed source in HSL said, “We bagged the prestigious project three years ago and began construction at our ship-building yard. The ship is almost ready and once the trials get over, it will be officially handed to the Navy in 2018. Secrecy has been maintained on the project which is being monitored by PMO.” After HSL bagged project in 2013, ship was to be delivered by August 2015, but it was stuck in logistical delays. Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL), the Vizag-based shipbuilder, is hopeful that it will be able to meet the delivery deadline of the twin 9,000 kW diesel engine ship. Reliable sources in HSL and Navy told TOI the project is in trial phase and the warship will be handed over to Navy in a few months.
Publicly available information indicates the ship is fitted with primary X-Band and secondary S-Band active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar to monitor indigenously developed strategic and other missile systems. VC 11184 will have two AESA radar arrays, one in the S band and one X band. The S Band array is used for scanning large volumes of the sky for objects and for tracking missiles in flight, while the X band array is used for zeroing in on small hard to detect objects like reentry vehicles, missile interceptors, or even tiny satellites. It can also discriminate decoys with actual warheads fired from multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) warhead capable ballistic missiles. The vessel’s X-band precision tracking radar can track the inbound flight trajectories of multiple maneuverable warheads apart from monitoring the trajectories of intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
The ship has a long open deck with space for several tracking antennae located at the aft of the forward superstructure. Designed by Vik Sandvik Design India, it has a length of 175 meters [570 feet], a beam of 22 mt, a depth of 6 mt and 10,000 tons of steel are required for its construction.The warship has a displacement of 10,000-15,000-tonnes. It has a helicopter deck and hangar with a planned complement of 300 men. Powered by two 9,000 kw engines, the vessel’s maximum speed would be 21 knots. CODAD is a propulsion system for ships using two diesel engines to power a single propeller shaft. A gearbox and clutches enable either of the engines or both of them together to drive the shaft.
“Once ready, it will be a vessel for Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for tracking ballistic missiles, while Navy will operate it. The vessel will be used for long range surveillance of missiles,” a source familiar with the project told Deccan Herald 21 December 2014 . The vessel would have a special team on board from the technical intelligence bureau. The vessel will be handed over to the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), India’s sole technical intelligence agency, to gather electronic intelligence (ELINT) and monitor domestic strategic missile and under-development ballistic missile defence (BMD) programs. Accompanying NTRO personnel on board the OSS will be technicians and scientists from the government-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) responsible for India’s multiple missile programs.
Some sources reported that a second Missile Range Instrumentation Ship [MRIS], smaller in size and meant to monitor the flight trajectories of subsonic and supersonic cruise missiles, was also under construction at the state-owned Cochin Shipyard Ltd and was expected to enter into service in 2020. In fact, this second vessel is an Ocean Surveillance Ship (OSS).
|Builder||Hindustan Shipyard Limited|
|Cost||1,500 crore rupees|
|Laid down||30 June 2014|
|Type||AGM Missile Range Instrumentation Ship|
|Length||175 m (574 ft)|
|Beam||22 m (72 ft)|
|Draft||6 m (20 ft)|
||21 kn (39 km/h; 24 mph)|
|Sensors and processing systems||
|Aircraft||1 × helicopter|
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