Military


K 40 Veer Class
(Sov. Tarantul I)

Missile craft is a sophisticated warship, meant for destruction of enemy warships and landing crafts on the open sea. The hull is made of special, light weight, MS and aluminium alloy sheets. It is propelled by gas turbines to make it a fast and swift craft. It has an array of weapons to deliver lethal punches to enemy. Advanced weapons and additional sophisticated electronics make this vessel unique than the other vessels. A distinguishing feature of the vessel is that it is fitted with an indigenously developed gun and a very precise fire control system. More of indigenous equipment and fittings have been installed.

Veer class corvettes are stationed at Mumbai. In 1997 the Indian Navy placed an order for four modified Veer class vessels, though the order was later reduced to two. The navy already had 11 vessels of this class, but the new warships will be equipped with more powerful missiles and advanced sensors The new Veer-class ships are fitted with the Russian Uran surface-to-surface missiles which are also fitted on bigger warships like the missile destroyers INS Delhi and Mysore.

The Navy had acquired eight vessels of a certain class from a foreign supplier in 1971 and eight more during 1975-76. The life of these vessels was 10 years. Of these 16 vessels, one had been decommissioned, two had been rendered non-operational and five had been declared unsuitable for operational missions by January 1983. The remaining eight were also due for phasing out during 1985-90. Apart from replacing these vessels with new ones, the Navy felt a need to augment its fleet of this class of vessels to about 40 by the turn of the century. With this objective in view, it sought the approval of the Committee for Defence Planning (CDP) for building up a force level of at least 20 vessels by 1990, the remaining 20 to be acquired thereafter. The CDP approved the proposal in February 1983.

In pursuance of the approval of the CDP, five vessels were proposed to be acquired from the supplier and the remaining 15 were proposed to be built in the shipyards in India under licensed production for which the supplier had given consent in principle in December 1982. The Ministry considered that the shipyards were capable of delivering 15 vessels by 1990by undertaking production simultaneously in the two shipyards. The first three of the 15 vessels were proposed to be built with material packages obtained from the supplier and thereafter, it was expected that indigenisation would take place progressively.

The contract for acquisition of five vessels from the supplier at a cost of Rs.40.56 crores per vessel was signed in September 1984. The supplier indicated that early delivery of material packages for indigenous construction would depend on early signing of licence agreement. The supplier also made it clear that it could not ensure timely supplies unless orders were placed by last week of December 1984.

Approval of the Government was, however, obtained by the Ministry only in January 1985 for indigenous construction of 15 vessels at an estimated cost of Rs.675 crores. Subsequently in February 1985 the Ministry issued sanction to the acquisition of these vessels during 1985-90 plan period by entering into separate agreements with the shipyards. The contracts foi: indigenous construction of three vessels each in the shipyard 'M' and 'N' were signed only in April/May 1988. The Ministry attributed (December 1992) the delay to the time taken for sorting out various issues such as documentation, production and construction schedule, yard facilities, payment terms etc.

While initiating the programme for indigenous construction, the Ministry had stated (October 1984) that the shipyards had the capacity to build and deliver 15 vessels by 1990. The first vessel could, however, be delivered by Mazagon shipyard only in June 1991 and the second in March 1992. The delivery of the remaining vessel was expected by June 1994. Goa Shipyard had yet to deliver any vessel by December 1992 and it expected to complete the delivery of the three vessels only by July 1995. Contracts for the construction of the remaining vessels had not yet been concluded as of December 1992.

As against the estimated cost of Rs.135 crores for construction of the three indigenous vessels, the cost of these vessels to be delivered by Mazagon was expected to be Rs.260 crores as in April 1992. According to the estimate made by the Ministry in June 1990 the likely cost of 15 vessels was Rs.1800 crores as against Rs.675 crores approved by the Government in January 1985.

Owing to the delay in delivery of the indigenous vessels, the old vessels what was considered unsuitable for operational roles and had outlived their useful life, had to be retained in service by incurring expenditure on their extensive refits. One vessel of 1971 acquisition and eight vessels of 1975-76 acquisition continued to remain in service by late 1992.

Normal refit of the INS Nipat including change of gas turbine was planned for May 1995 without ensuring the availability of trained manpower and critical spares. Flag officer Commanding, Maharashtra Naval Area had pointed out in August 1995 that lack of technical expertise of the workmen engaged for carrying out this job would lead to undue delay in the completion of normal refit and require several rework. Yet no efforts were made to get this work attended to by Russian experts who were available from 23 June 1995 for carrying out similar work on INS Nirbhik. Eventually, the work could be completed in December 1996 by utilising 20 months period as against scheduled period of eight months. In the process, 21071 additional man-days costing Rs 1.57 crore were consumed. An emergency short refit of this was also off-loaded to MDL at a cost of Rs 9.97 lakh within two months during February - March 1997.

Prabal Class

An order for four modified Veer Class corvettes was placed in April 1997. This four-unit order was drawn down to two units: one at Mazagon DY, Mumbai and the other at Mazagon DY, Goa.

The first vessel, Prabal, was launched in September 2000. INS Prabal, an indigenously built Indian Naval missile boat, was commissioned by the Defence Secretary, Mr Yogendra Narain at an impressive ceremony held at the Naval Dockyard, Mumbai on 11 Apr 2002. The ship, on commissioning, joined the powerful 22 Missile Vessel Squadron of the Western Naval Command. INS Prabal is primarily a surface combat ship, meant to intercept and neutralise hostile warships, surface transports and amphibious vessels. She also has an air defence capability enhanced by modern SAMs and Rapid Fire Guns. She is equipped with the state-of-the-art sensors, communication equipment and electronic warfare aids.

The ship's name is synonymous with the firepower that has been packed into the ship by the Indian designers. The ship is an upgraded version of the six missile vessels commissioned in the 90s. Armed with sufficient number of surface-to-surface missiles the ship will provide the necessary impetus in strengthening the force levels and meeting the challenges in the western theatre. The ship has also been provided with a 76 MM combined surface and anti-aircraft gun and better radars and electronic warfare equipment. The ship, on commissioning, was administered under the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command and was based at Mumbai. The induction of the ship adds yet another feather to the nation's and the Indian Navy's effort in achieving indigenisation through self-reliance.

While lauding the role of Mazgaon Dockyark Ltd for constructing INS Prabal, Mr Narain said that the long gestation period and high cost of indigenous ship constructions are some of the grey areas that have to be overcome. Referring to indigenisation, Mr Narain said that DRDO has been tasked with indigenous development of underwater sensors for integration with naval platforms and for carrying out oceanographic studies for naval applications. They have also been tasked with the development of underwater and associate systems as well as chemical and biological control of marine evironment. The need of the day is an increased interaction between research, production and user agency, he added.

Prabal is the second ship of this name, the first being the earlier OSA class missile boat which took part in the historic missile attack on Karachi harbour in the 1971 war. INS Prabal is commanded by Cdr Benny M Antony and has a crew of seven officers and 70 sailors.

The Indian Naval Ship Pralaya built by Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) a Ministry of Defence Public Sector Undertaking has been commissioned into the Navy at Panjim 18 December 2002. Pralaya was commissioned by Governor of Goa Shri Kidar Nath Sahani.

Pralaya is the second ship of the 'Prabal' class and is totally indigenously built. It is the fourth missile vessel and the first of this class to be built by GSL. The ship has been named after the old Pralaya, an OSA II class missile boat which was decommissioned on June 18, 2001 after twenty-five glorious and fruitful years in the service of the country. The construction of INS Pralaya commenced in May 1998 and was launched in December 2000.

This 56 meter long ship is powered by four high performance gas turbine engines, akin to those fitted on aircraft, propelling her at a top speed of about 40 knots. The ship is made of special light-weight high strength steel and its upper structures are made of aluminum to save weight with a full load displacement of 560 tons.

Pralaya means 'Deluge'. With an ability to deliver a torrent of armament, on the enemy, the warship packs an impressive array of weapons and sensors. Pralaya is armed to the teeth with 16 long-range surface to surface missiles, a 76.2 mm main gun, two 30 mm anti-air weapons, shoulder launched surface to air missiles and false target launchers. Her sensor package is state of the art and gives the ship total surveillance capability in her area of operations. Once amalgamated with the fleet, INS Pralaya, with her reach and formidable firepower shall be a force to reckon with. The ship is ideal for her role of sea control and strike. Speed and stealth, both essential to achieve surprise and annihilate the enemy are inherent in her design. INS Pralaya will be based under the operational control of Captain 'K', 22nd Missile Vessel Squadron, Commodore Rajender Singh at Mumbai.

INS Prahar K98 suffered a collision with the M V Rajiv Gandhi, a container carrier of the Shipping Corporation of India, 35 km off the coast of Goa at 9:45 p.m. on 22 April 2006. The damage to the merchant carrier was nominal, however the damage to INS Prahar led to the vessel being sunk. There was no loss of life and all personnel were safely rescued. The captain of the vessel - Lieutenant Commander Yogesh Tripathi - was dismissed from service in September 2006, after a court martial was conducted in which he confessed to committing navigational error.





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