Mumbai: India added a new feather to its naval prowess on Tuesday, when it commissioned INS Imphal, a stealth-guided missile destroyer, at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai. The warship, which is the third of the four ‘Visakhapatnam’ class destroyers, is the first Indian Navy ship to be named after a city in the North-East region, in recognition of the valor of the Indian soldiers who fought in the Battle of Imphal during World War II.
The commissioning ceremony was attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who was the chief guest, along with Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, and other dignitaries. Singh congratulated the Indian Navy and the Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL), the public sector undertaking that built the warship, for achieving this milestone. He also lauded the indigenous design and development of the warship, which has 75 percent local content.
INS Imphal is a state-of-the-art warship, equipped with the capability to fire the extended-range supersonic BrahMos missile, which can travel at speeds of up to Mach 3 and hit targets beyond 500 km. The warship successfully test-fired the missile in November 2023, becoming the first indigenous warship to do so before its induction into service. The warship also has surface-to-surface missiles and surface-to-air missiles, along with a modern surveillance radar that provides target data to its weapon systems.
The warship has a length of 163 meters and a displacement of 7,400 tonnes, making it one of the most powerful warships built in India. It can achieve a speed of over 30 knots and has a crew of 300 personnel. The warship is capable of fighting in nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) warfare scenarios, as well as conducting anti-submarine, anti-air, and anti-surface operations.
INS Imphal was designed by the Naval Warship Design Bureau and constructed by MDL in Mumbai. The keel of the warship was laid down on 19 May 2017 and it was launched on 20 April 2019. It departed for its maiden sea trials on 28 April 2023 and completed an extensive program of trials both in port and at sea. It was handed over to the Indian Navy on 20 October 2023 within a record timeline of six months, the fastest process for a ship of this size.
INS Imphal is part of the ‘Project 15B’ of the Indian Navy, which aims to build four stealth-guided missile destroyers with enhanced stealth features and advanced combat capabilities. The first ship of the class, INS Visakhapatnam, was commissioned in November 2022, while the fourth ship, INS Porbandar, is expected to be commissioned by 2024. These warships will enhance the Indian Navy’s operational readiness and deterrence posture in the Indian Ocean Region and beyond.