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Project 15B Visakhapatnam-class

The first ship of Project15B guided missile destroyer, christened Visakhapatnam. was launched on 20 April 2015 at a ceremony at Mazagaon Dock Limited (MDL), Mumbai. The Visakhapatnam is the first of four destroyers of the class designed by the Directorate of Naval Design in New Delhi. The stealth warship has a displacement of 7,300 tons and is 163 meters long. These ships will be propelled by four gas turbines in Combined Gas and Gas (COGAG) configuration and are capable of achieving speeds in excess of 30 knots [the warships can achieve a maximum speed of 31-32 knots] with a maximum endurance of 4000 nm. The Visakhapatnam-class vessels are designed to carry two multiple-role helicopters and are equipped with a vertical launching missile system capable of engaging shore- and sea-based targets from long range.

The P15B destroyers incorporate new design concepts for improved survivability, sea keeping, stealth and ship maneuverability. These ships will be equipped to carry and operate two multi-role helicopters. State of art rail less helo traversing system is being introduced on these ships for efficient helicopter handling onboard. By increasing the cavitation inception speed the hydrodynamic noises and vibrations have been effectively reduced at the cruising speed in each of the ships of Project 15B.

These ships can truly be classified as possessing a Network of Networks, as they are equipped with Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS), Ship Data Network (SDN), Automatic Power Management System (APMS) and Combat Management System (CMS). While control and monitoring of machinery and auxiliaries is achieved through the IPMS, power management is done using the APMS. The CMS performs threat evaluation and resource allocation based on the tactical picture compiled and ammunition available onboard. The SDN is the information highway on which data from all the sensors and weapons ride.

Stealth has been a major thrust area in P15B design. Enhanced stealth features have been achieved through shaping of hull and use of radar transparent deck fittings which make these ships difficult to detect. The ship embodies features such as Multiple Fire Zones, Total Atmospheric Control System (TACS) for Air Conditioning, Battle Damage Control Systems (BDCS), Distributional Power Systems and Emergency DA to enhance survivability and reliability in emergent scenarios.

These ships have been designed for a complement of 50 officers and 250 sailors. The accommodation and working spaces have been designed with special emphasis on ergonomics and habitability.

The ships fire power consists of sophisticated weapons-sensor suite including vertically launched Surface to Air Missiles (SAM) and Surface-to-Surface Missiles (SSM) for long distance engagement of shore and sea based targets. It is also noteworthy that this ship has significantly high indigenous content, in the form of weapons, machinery and material. These ships therefore showcase the Nations growing capability in developing and delivering complex warships, which serves as a true hall mark of self reliance attained by our country in warship design and construction. This high level of indigenization has been achieved through participation of both public and private sector.

Visakhapatnam, home of the Eastern Naval Command of the Indian Navy, is a coastal, port city, often called "The Jewel of the East Coast", situated in the of Andhra Pradesh, located on the eastern shore of India, nestled among the hills of the Eastern Ghats and facing the Bay of Bengal to the east. It is the administrative headquarters of Visakhapatnam District. It is the second largest city in Andhra Pradesh with an area of 550 km, it is primarily an industrial city, apart from being a port city. It is also home to the Eastern Naval Command.

According to the history, the city was named after the god of Valor-Vishakha. It was a part of the Kalinga Kingdom, under Ashoka's rule in 260 BC. It passed on later to the Andhra Kings of Vengi. After this Pallava, Chola and Ganga dynasties ruled the city.In the 15th century, Vishakhapatnam became a part of the Vijayanagar Empire. It is often called the best tourism destination in Andhra Pradesh. From Lakes to cool Beaches, from beautiful Hill Ranges to Caves and Valleys, Visakhapatnam has them all. The district has many tourism spots that represent the Culture and Heritage of the true India.

The four ships of Project 15B ships being built at MDL,Mumbai have been designed indigenously by the Directorate of Naval Design, Delhi and bear testimony to the acclaimed legacy of Naval designers. With adisplacement of 7300 tons, each ship spans 163 meters in length and 17.4 meters at the beam and is propelled by four gas turbines to achievespeed in excess of 30 knots. The P15B destroyers incorporate new designconcepts for improved survivability, sea keeping, stealth and manoeuvrability.Enhanced stealth features have been achieved through shaping of hull and use ofradar transparent deck fittings which make these ships difficult to detect. These ships will be equipped to carry and operate two multiple role helicopters.

These ships are also packed with an array of state of the art weapons and sensors, including vertically launchedmissile system for long distance engagement of shore and sea-based targets.With significant indigenous content, these ships are a true hallmark of selfreliance attained by our country in warship design and ship building.

As of late 2007 the Navy reportedly planned to order three more destroyers under Project-15B. As of December 2008 the Russian shipbuilding industry was in line for for the co-design and joint fabrication of five guided-missile destroyers under Project 15B (for which the 4,500 ton Project 22350 Gorshkov DDG was said to be offered). The follow-on Project 15B, with a reported displacement of 8,000 tons, could be delayed if more units are ordered under Project-15A. In November 2008 Vice Admiral Dilip Deshpande, Controller of Warship Production and Acquisition, said that while three destroyers (Project 15A) are under construction, "four more (Project 15B) are expected to be ordered shortly on MDL."

To bolster the Navy's combat capability, in February 2009 the government was reported to have approved building of four new power-packed destroyer warships. Mumbai-based Mazagon Docks Limited (MDL) would soon get the "follow-on orders" for building the new destroyers of the 'Kolkata' class. The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) gave in-principle approval to the Navy's proposal for construction of four new Kolkata class destroyers. The construction of the sophisticated ships under "Project 15B" would begin soon after the MDL completes building of the first three destroyers of the Kolkata class under "Project 15A". These would be indigenous combat vessels built with advanced stealth features and would have land attack capabilities. In all, the Navy proposes to have seven Kolkata class destroyers.

By March 2009 the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) - the top procurement body in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) - had cleared Project 15-B, the construction of four 6800-ton destroyers by Mazagon Dock Ltd, Mumbai (MDL). There was no competitive bidding for Project 15-B, since MDL is the only Indian shipyard large enough to build destroyers, which are significantly larger than frigates. Project 15-B, MDL hopes, will have fewer design challenges; it will differ from its predecessor only in weaponry and sensors. The navy wanted the first destroyer to roll out within four years, with the others completed at one-year intervals. By that ambitious timeline, if the order is placed on MDL by end-2009, the first 15-B destroyer would be commissioned in mid-2015.

Four Guided missile Destroyers of Project 15B (P 15B) are under construction at M/s Mazagaon Dock Shipbuilders Limited, Mumbai. The contract for construction of these four ships was signed on 28 January 2011. These ships are among the most technologically advanced Guided Missile Destroyers of the world, with state-of-the-art weapon/sensor package, advanced stealth features and a high degree of automation. The design of P15B ships has been developed in house by the Directorate of Naval Design.

By mid-2013 the navy's design center had completed designs for Project 15B, the enhanced version of the three Kolkata class destroyers under construction at Mumbai's Mazgaon Dock Limited (MDL).

The keel of Visakhapatnam was laid down on 12 October 2013 and she was launched on 20 April 2015 at Mazagon Dock Limited of Mumbai.

The Mazagaon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL)'s second Visakhapatnam Class-destroyer, with more than 60 per cent indigenization and increased stealth power, was launched ahead of its schedule. Mormugao, the Navy's newest stealth destroyer, was launched 15 September 2016 in Mumbai. The vessel was built by Maximum City's Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders - India's foremost shipyard - which has already delivered six major warship to the Indian Navy since 2010. More than 60% of the ship will be built in India. In other words, it will highly 'indigenized.' With a launch weight of 2844 tonnes, the vessel made its first contact with water at 11:58 AM with full fanfare during the launching ceremony graced by Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Sunil Lanba as the Chief Guest. In keeping with maritime traditions, Smt Reena Lanba, President, Navy Wives Welfare Association (NWWA), broke a coconut on the ships bow and launched the ship, as invocation from the Atharva Veda was being rendered.

The Navy plans to increase the degree of 'indigenization' in its 15B ships to 68%. The next ship in the 'Vishakapatnam' series is Paradip, the name of a coastal Gujarati city.

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