Kolkata-class and Visakhapatnam-class Destroyers: News & Discussions


New crest of Imphal

I don't know why but they changed it from the old crest.

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Missile specialist to navigation expert:The crew of INS Imphal

As INS Imphal prepares for operational deployment to further boost the navy’s readiness in the vast strategic expanse, HT gets you upclose with the crew whose job is to ensure that the destroyer is battle ready at all times.

The spanking new and highly capable guided missile destroyer INS Imphal will enable the Indian Navy to confront challenges in distant seas, including China’s carefully calculated power play for influence in the Indo-Pacific, defending the rules-based international order, the Arabian Sea emerging as a new front with Red Sea tensions escalating and counterpiracy in the Gulf of Aden, officials aware of the matter said.

Its sister ship, INS Mormugao, is among the five frontline warships that the navy has deployed in the Arabian Sea in the face of rising threats, including the recent attacks on two India-bound merchant vessels (MV) by Iran-backed Houthi rebels and the resurgence of piracy, the officials said.

That the navy will play a critical role in the region was amply evident when defence minister Rajnath Singh on December 26 warned those behind the attacks on MV Chem Pluto and MV Saibaba, saying India “will hunt them down even from the depths of the ocean”.
In response to these incidents, the navy has “substantially enhanced” the surveillance effort in central and northern Arabian Sea and augmented force levels, the navy said in a statement on Sunday.

“Task groups comprising destroyers and frigates have been deployed to undertake maritime security operations and render assistance to merchant vessels in case of any incident. Aerial surveillance has been enhanced too,” it added.

INS Imphal and INS Mormugao have been built under the ₹35,000-crore Project-15B class of four guided missile destroyers. INS Visakhapatnam and INS Mormugao were commissioned into service in 2021 and 2022, and Surat, the fourth one, is under construction at the Mumbai-based Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd and is expected to join the naval fleet next year.

As INS Imphal prepares for operational deployment to further boost the navy’s readiness in the vast strategic expanse, HT gets you upclose with the crew whose job is to ensure that the destroyer is battle ready at all times.

Captain Kamal Kumar Choudhury, Commanding Officer: Commissioned into the navy in 1998, Choudhury is the man with the overall responsibility of the warship. The 46-year-old led the commissioning crew that put the destroyer through its paces for a year before it was commissioned on December 26. His immediate focus will be on conducting trials of the Barak-8 medium range surface-to-air missile system, aviation trials and integrating INS Imphal with the navy’s Western Fleet. All other weapons and systems were fully tested before the warship’s commissioning, including the extended-range BrahMos supersonic surface-to-surface missile and Varunastra heavy-weight torpedoes. He is a gunnery and missiles specialist.

Commander Zorawar Singh, Executive Officer: He is Choudhury’s second-in-command. Singh, 37, is the principal warfare officer of the destroyer and oversees its fighting capabilities in all four domains – air, surface, underwater and electronic. The warship’s modern weapon-sensor fit, coupled with its advanced network-centric capabilities, makes it a potent combat platform for fleet operations. The destroyer is equipped with weapons and systems that can take down any kind of aerial threat, has the capability to carry out long-range surveillance and engagement of surface and land targets, and can attack submarines with torpedoes and rockets. Singh’s other responsibilities include the warship’s day-to-day functioning, discipline and morale.

Lieutenant Commander Anshu Bhau, Navigating Officer: His charter is twofold: navigation and operations. Bhau handles the navigation of the warship on the high seas, and its movement in and out of the harbour. His job includes supervising the operations room and extracting information on all four dimensions, collating it, summarising and putting it up to the executive officer for further action. A second-generation navy officer, the 33-year-old is from Jammu and was commissioned into service in 2013. Capability-wise, the destroyer is on a par with the world’s most advanced warships, he said.

Lieutenant Commander Manjit Kumar, Signal Communications Officer: He is the link to the outside world, responsible for sending and receiving all communication to and from the headquarters, other warships, aircraft and the maritime operations centre. Ensuring the security of communication falls under the 30-year-old’s domain. He is also a second-generation navy officer.

Lieutenant Commander Salik Imam, Senior Engineer Officer: He looks after the operation and maintenance of all machinery on board, including propulsion, power generation and auxiliary equipment, including fire-fighting systems and water pumps. The warship has a sophisticated integrated platform management system that amalgamates and automates all machinery, power management and damage control functions on board. Imam is 35 and hails from Gaya in Bihar.

Surgeon Lieutenant Commander Chaitanya Jha, Principal Medical Officer: He oversees the medical facility on board the warship with two beds and an operating table. The facility is equipped with life-saving equipment and medicine chests are stocked to last at least six months. The warship has an integrated telemedicine facility with a direct satellite link to the naval command hospital INHS Asvini in Mumbai. This will allow him to seek the opinion of super specialists for treating personnel on the high seas.

Sub Lieutenant Anjali Mohapatra, Deputy Logistics Officer: She must ensure that the destroyer doesn’t run out supplies and is fully equipped at all times to perform the assigned mission – from food to fuel and spares to clothing, Her role is critical as the destroyer will sail out for extended deployments with a crew of 360, including 20 women. The 24-year-old officer is currently the only woman serving on board, and the first woman to be part of a warship’s commissioning crew. The navy is set to assign women sailors to INS Imphal in February-March 2024. It is the first warship with separate accommodation for women officers and sailors. It has berthing facilities for eight women officers and 12 Agniveers.