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The Indian Navy is the world’s seventh largest navy. It consists of two fleets, the Eastern Fleet, homeported primarily in Visakhapatnam, on the Bay of Bengal, and the Western Fleet, homeported primarily in Bombay, on the Arabian Sea. India enters  the 21st Century with a small but formidable regional naval posture. Long considered a "blue water" navy, the Indian Navy faces major challenges as many of its major vessels near the end of their service lives. Indigenous shipbuilding efforts are struggling to achieve acceptable levels of productivity and efficiency. (Wg. Cdr. NK Pant) Its share of the budgetary allocation has never crossed 14 per cent of the total defence budget during the last half a century. Hence, it is not surprising that navy’s present strength has not seen any upward revision and remains same as was sanctioned as far back as 1964. The construction of strategic and prestigious Seabird naval base off the Karwar coast is hanging fire and may take a couple of years before it is completed. Moreover, the navy’s important combat projects such as building an indigenous air defence ship (ADS) and advanced technology vessel (ATV), a euphemism for the nuclear powered submarine have not been accorded the priority they deserved for funding.
    One of the ADS Designs

As a result, plans to commission a new air defence ship (small carrier) might not be realised for at least a decade. This would upset India's plans of possessing three air defence ships in the next five years. While one could be the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, the Navy wants to build the other two `smaller' carriers (which would, however, be larger than the present carrier INS Viraat) in the country. (Commander Vijay Sakhuja). The indigenous nuclear submarine designated Advance Technology Vessels (ATVs) programme has been under way for almost two decades. It has made little progress. The ATV submarine is expected to be of 4,000 ton displacement, and four to five such vessels are to be built. According to the Russian Defence Ministry's official newspaper, Krasnaya Zevezda, Russia is assisting India in building the nuclear submarine, which is a copy of the new Russian Severodvinsk class attack submarine, currently under construction in Severodvinsk. No denying, in the recent past some laudable efforts have gone into to fill up the deficiencies of combat vessels like induction of indigenously built guided missile destroyers INS Delhi and INS Mysore. The government has also sanctioned the construction of three next generation Type17 frigates and  two project 75 submarines.
The current Indian Navy submarine force is a mix of Russian and German origin boats. They belong to the Soviet Foxtrot (these will be retired soon) and Kilo class, and four HDW type 209/1500 boats (two built in India) of German origin. Reports suggest that, in 2001, India and France struck a deal to build French Scorpene-class boats (these are considered superior to the French supplied Agosta 90B to Pakistan) at the submarine production facility in Mazagon Docks, Mumbai. A thirty-year submarine construction plan upto 2025 aims at building an inventory of 24 submarines and boosting indigenous production. Future Indian submarines would incorporate stealth features and have the capability to fire missiles. The Indian Navy has shown interest in “Klub”, (codenamed SS-NX-27 by NATO) missiles for its submarines. The latest Kilo class submarine Sindhushastra, equipped with tube launched ‘Klub’ anti-ship missile, adds punch to the capability of conventional submarines. 



- Viraat VSTOL aircraft carrier


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 INS Viraat R22 was originally commissioned in the Royal Navy, as the HMS Hermes on 18 November 1959. In 1986, the Indian Navy purchased the vessel and gave it an extensive refit at the Davenport DY which gave it a life-extension refit of 10 years. This refit included new fire control equipment, navigation radars and deck landing aids. Boilers were converted to take distillate fuel and the ship was given improved NBC protection.

INS Viraat began another life-extension refit in July 1999, which will extend her serviceability to 2010. This refit included upgrading propulsion systems, a package of sensors to sound emergency alerts, a modern communication system, a long-range surveillance radar, new weapon systems, new hangar fire curtains, a revamped lift system to reduce reaction time in the event of an attack and a new flood alarm system.

INS Viraat underwent sea trials in December 2000 and will undergo missile trials in March/April 2001. The refit is expected to be complete by May/June 2001. The vessel took part in the International Fleet Review in Mumbai on 17 February 2001.

- Kiev Class  (Admiral  Gorshkov ) aircraft carrier ??

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Commissioned by the Russian Navy in 1987, negotiations over the 44,000-tonne Admiral Gorshkov, have reportedly been on since 1994. The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding during Russian Prime Minister, Yevgeny Primakov's visit to New Delhi in December 1998, by which India agreed to acquire the vessel. In October 2000, during Russian President Putin's visit, an inter-governmental agreement was signed confirming the acquisition of the vessel for the Indian Navy. The price has not yet been finalised by both parties and this is causing delays in the deal being finalised.

According to the St. Petersburg-based Nevskoye PKB, the modernized vessel would be capable of carrying 24 MiG-29K (11 parked on the deck, the rest in hangers) and 6 helicopters or any combination thereof. Under the modernization plan, the 20-ton capacity elevator beside the ship's island superstructure will remain unchanged, but the aft lift will be enlarged and its lift capacity increased to 30 tons.


- Delhi class destroyers

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INS Delhi is the first of a new class of destroyer built by Mazagon Dock Ltd based in Mumbai. Under the Project 15 programme, the Indian Navy will acquire four Delhi class destroyers by the year 2002. The Delhi destroyer was designed by the Indian Navy with detailed and production design phase being carried out by Mazagon Dock. INS Delhi was commissioned in 1997, INS Mysore was commissioned in June 1999 and INS Bombay is due to commission in 2001.

With a displacement of 6,700 tonnes, overall length of 163 m and beam of 17 m, the Delhi class is the largest warship built in India. The ship is fitted with sophisticated anti-ship, anti-aircraft and anti-submarine sensor and weapon systems.

- Rajput (Kashin) class light destroyers

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Built as new construction for India at Nikolayev, Russia with considerable modifications to the Kashin design. The helicopter hanger has been replaced by a lift from the flight deck. The 76mm twin mount gun and the P-20M (SS-N-2D Styx) launchers are sited forward of the bridge It is possible than an Italian combat data system compatible with Selenia IPN-10 is installed. Immarsat is fitted. New EW equipment was fitted in 1993/1994. There are plans for modernization with Ukrainian assistance. First three vessels are based at Vizag and the last pair at Mumbai.

The last two vessels (INS Ranvir and INS Ranvijay) will reportedly be re-fitted with sixteen 3M-24 E (Kh-35 Uran or NATO: SS-N-25 Switchblade) AShMs, replacing the four P-20M (SS-N-2D Styx) AShMs. That, however, is yet to be confirmed from reliable sources.


- Talwar class (Modified Krivak type) frigates

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The Krivak III Class frigates are designed primarily for ASW warfare and for the air defense of warship task forces. Three Improved Krivak III Class frigates have been ordered, with construction of all three vessels well underway. The Navy wants to fill the gap created by the decommissioning of Leander Class frigates and until the Project 17 Class frigates enter service.

Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sushil Kumar, has said that construction is six months ahead of schedule, thus advancing the commissioning of the first vessel into IN service. The first vessel is expected to start sea trials in 2001. The vessels are being built at the Northern SY in St. Petersburg, Russia. The frigates will be the first IN warships to incorporate stealth technology. Plans to acquire another three vessels of the class is unlikely to occur, as priority is being given to indigenous construction, namely the Project 17 Class frigates.

- Godavari class frigates

Godavari10.jpg (92540 bytes) The Type 16 Class frigates are a modification of the original Leander Class design with an indigenous content of 72% and a larger hull.

The superstructure is steel, though INS Godavari shows signs of poor welding. INS Gomati is the first IN vessel to have digital electronics in her combat data system. The ships have a unique mixture of Indian, Russian and Western weapon systems, which initially led to some compatibility problems.

- Brahmaputra (improved Godavari) class large frigates

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The Type 16A Brahmaputra Class are a modification of the Type 16 Godavari Class with the same hull and propulsion characteristics. There are notable differences in the forecastle area around the AShM launchers. Unlike the Godavari class frigates , which mount the outer P-20M AShM canisters on sponsons, the Brahmaputra Class do not have the sponsons for mounting the 3M-24E AShM. Internally, these are very different from the Godavari Class frigates.

- Nilgiri (Leander) class patrol frigates

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Leander Class frigates was the mainstay & workhorse of the Indian Navy and they currently form the 14th Frigate Squadron. The last two vessels have more powerful engines than the remainder. INS Taragiri had a serious fire in July 1994, but was repaired and was back in active service in 1995.

Westinghouse has supplied the Indian Navy with ASW sonar systems, two hull mounted arrays and three visible depth sonar arrays which are installed inside towed bodies built by Fathom Ocean Ltd. Transducer elements in both cases are identical. At future refits, earlier vessels (F34 and F36) will have their armament brought into line with later ships.


- Type 25A Kora Class corvettes

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These vessels were intended to replace the ageing Petya-II Class corvettes. The first two were ordered in April 1990 and latter two in October 1994. The Type 25A vessels were to be fitted with the indigenous Trishul  SAM, marking the entry of the missile into naval service. However INS Kora and INS Kirch, have no evidence of the Trishul SAM on board and instead use two Strela-2M launchers.

In a statement on 15 March 2001, the now former Defence Minister George Fernandes said that the missile has to undergo further trials and will not be available for installation aboard naval ships before 2003.

- Abhay {Pauk II} Class corvettes

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Modified Pauk II Class built in Russia for export. Original order was placed in late 1983, but completion of the first vessel was delayed by lack of funds and the orders for the others was not reinstated until 1987. A fifth of the class was cancelled. Names associated with former coastal patrol craft. Classified as ASW vessels. All based at Mumbai as the 23 Patrol Vessel Squadron. The first two vessels were commissioned at Poti, Russia and INS Agray at Riga, Russia.

- Veer {Tarantul I} CLASS corvettes


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Veer Class corvettes form the 22 Missile Vessel Squadron, at Mumbai. INS Nirghat is the successor to the illustrious Osa-I Class fast attack missile boat which rained missiles on Karachi. The new vessel has preserved the red booster covers of the original P-15Ms that were lobbed at Karachi in December 1971.

An order for four modified Veer Class corvettes was placed in April 1997. This four-unit order has now been 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 and is due for commissioning in January 2002.


- Kilo class submarines

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The Kilo Class submarine has a single shaft with a double hull. Six compartments separated by bulkheads to enable it to remain afloat even when one is flooded. To reduce the submarine's acoustic signature, the flooding ports have been removed from the fore-body. Anechoic tiles are fitted on casings and fins.

The submarine also has a new gas-freeing system to reduce risk of detection. The hull of the submarine is covered with rubber anti-sonar protection tiles which have a special ozonising layer to combat the sun's effects in tropical waters. The bow planes are positioned close to the mid-ship to improve sonar performance.

An engine change is probable during major refits in Russia which started in 1997, with INS Sindhuvir. A German-designed, Indian-built main battery, with a five year life has replaced the Russian batteries in all the vessels. Battery cooling has been improved as a result of the change. Kilo Class submarines have been nicknamed 'Black Hole' by NATO for their silent operation in the sea.

- Foxtrot class patrol submarines

0101237.jpg (31561 bytes) Displacement: 2,400 tons submerged Dimensions: 92 x 7 x 6 meters (302 x 23 x 19.5 feet) Propulsion: Diesel-electric, 3 diesels, 2 shafts, 5,300 shp, 15.5 knots Crew: 75 Sonar: MF active and passive array Armament: 6 21 inch torpedo tubes forward, 4 21" tubes aft (22 torpedoes or 44 mines) Generally obsolete; only put to sea occasionally. USSR built for export. Number Name Year FLT Homeport Notes S20 Kursura 1970 EAST Vish. S40 Vela 1973 EAST Vish. In refit S42 Vagli 1974 WEST Bombay S43 Vagsheer 1974 EAST Vish.

- Shishumar class (Type 209) coastal submarines

0101238.jpg (24071 bytes) The Shishumar Class submarines have a central bulkhead and an IKL designed integrated escape sphere which can carry the full crew of 40 personnel, has an oxygen supply of 8 hours and can withstand pressure at least as great as those that can be withstood by the sub's pressure hull.

The first two submarines sailed for India in February 1987, while the last two were delayed by assembly problems caused by faulty welding. In 1984 it was announced that two more submarines would be built at the Mazagon Dock Ltd. (MDL) in Mumbai, but this was overtaken by events in 1987-88 and the agreement with HDW was terminated at just four submarines. This was reconsidered in 1992 and again in 1997, but no orders were placed.


- Magar class landing ships

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Based on the Sir Lancelot design. Built at Hindustan SY but fitted at the Garden Reach DY. A third of the class with some major design changes was laid down in July 1996. INS Magar was refitted in 1995. Both vessels based at Vizag.

Based on previous performance with this class, it should be completed in 12 years. Carries four LCVPs on davits. Bow door. Can beach on gradients 1 in 40 or more. More vessels of the class might be built at Mazagon DY.

- Ghorpad (Polnocny-C/D) class small landing ships

Polnochny2.jpg (42695 bytes) All new construction from Gdynia Shipyard. The last four vessels are Polnochny D, with the flight deck forward of the bridge and different radars. All are being restricted operationally through lack of spares, but all are still seaworthy. Plans do exist, to modernize this class with Polish help though their exact status is uncertain. Based at Vizag. 

- Vasco Da Gama class utility landing craft

Mk3LC3.jpg (46844 bytes) Displacement: 500 tons full load Dimensions: 55.96 x 7.94 x 1.71 meters (183.5 x 26 x 5.5 feet) Propulsion: 3 diesels, 3 shafts, 1,245 bhp, 9 knots Crew: ??? Troops: 150 Cargo: 250 tons Armament: 2 40 mm, can carry mines Names of some unknown; L31-L33 may be additional units of this type.


-  Jyoti (modified Komandarm Fedko class) fleet oiler

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This was the third of a class of merchant tankers, modified for naval use for the IN and acquired in 1995. The ship was laid down in September 1993. Based in Bombay where it arrived in November 1996.

May be fitted with armament in due course. There are two replenishment positions on each side, and stern refueling is an option. A similar ship was sold to China and two others are in commercial service. To be fitted with close-in weapon systems - guns and missiles - for self-defence.

- Aditya (modified Deepak class) replenishment oiler

Aditya2.jpg (44510 bytes) Ordered in July 1987 to a Bremer-Vulcan design, GRSE Yard Number 3008. The Aditya Class, which is fully air-conditioned, is a lengthened version of the original Deepak  but with a multipurpose workshop. Four RAS stations alongside. Building progress was very slow and was plagued by propulsion problems, during it's sea trials in September 1999. 

- Shakti (Deepak class) fleet oiler

Shakti.jpg (33420 bytes) Displacement: 22,000 tons full load Dimensions: 168.43 x 23 x 9.14 meters (553 x 75.5 x 30 feet) Propulsion: Steam turbines, 2 boilers, 1 shaft, 16,500 shp, 20 knots Crew: 169 Aviation: helicopter deck and hangar; 1 Chetak helo Cargo: 12,624 oil fuel, 1,280 tons diesel, 1,495 tons aviation fuel, 812 tons water Armament: 3 40 mm, 2 20 mm (A57: 4 40 mm, no 20 mm) Built in Germany.


- BAE Sea Harrier Mk.51/T Mk.60

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The IN Air Arm has ±18 Sea Harrier Mk.51s and five T Mk.60 trainers in service, which fly with the No.300 White Tigers Squadron. The aircraft are currently based in Dabolim, Goa as the INS Viraat is undergoing a two-year refit, which began in July 1999.

In July 1999, a mid-life upgrade package, worth $200 million, was announced for the IN's Sea Harriers. However in late 1999, the upgrade package was put off, in favour of purchasing the MiG-29K for deployment on the Admiral  Gorshkov  - if purchased - and the Air defense ship. The Sea Harriers are now due to retire by 2010 along with the decommissioning of the INS VIRAAT  in the same year.

- Sepecat  Jaguar  IM

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Has armour protection for critical system components. Has provision for in-flight refueling with retractable probe forward of cockpit on starboard side. The canopy is bullet proofed against 7.5mm rifle fire.  The Jaguar IM aircraft have been upgraded with the Israeli Elta EL/M-2023 multimode fire control radar, replacing the old Agave maritime radar. The Jaguar IM has also been upgraded with integrated electronic warfare pods.

The IAF has a squadron of 16 Jaguar IM aircraft, which are equipped to carry the Sea Eagle AShM for the maritime strike role.

- Dornier  DO-228-101

dornier1.jpg (34423 bytes) Purchased from Germany principally to be used as a light transport aircraft in the IAF, they are used in a variety of roles such as maritime patrol, search & rescue and reconnaissance in the IN (±25 aircraft) and in the Coast Guard (±20 aircraft). HAL has received a $72 million order for seven license-built Do-228-101 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) from the Coast Guard. They are likely to be supplemented by an additional 12 aircraft, in the follow-on five-year plan period after 2007. Deliveries will commence in 2001 and will take two years to complete.

- Tupolev  TU-142 BEAR-F

Tu-142a.jpg (44456 bytes) The Tu-142 Bear-F is the maritime reconnaissance/strike version of the Tu-95 Bear which was a Russian nuclear weapons capable bomber. The aircraft's long range, can fly from Bombay to Johannesburg, South Africa and back without refueling, combined with its heavy payload of 20,000 lb. is a valuable asset to the Indian Navy's ASW and MR capability.

Negotiations are currently going on with Russia to procure 6 to 8 more aircraft. The aircraft will be probably from refurbished ex-VVS storage stocks.

- Ilyushin  IL-38 MAY

Il-38c.jpg (104247 bytes) Type: Long range maritime patrol aircraft. Number in Service: ±8 Operational Speed: 347 knots (645 km/h) Service Ceiling: 32,800 ft. (10,000 meters) Range: 3887 nautical miles (7200km) Sensors: 'Wet Eye' search radar, MAD, sonobuoys and ESM. Weapons: Various torpedoes, mines and depths bombs used for ASW purposes. Role: Shore-based, long-range ASW recon into the Indian Ocean.


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HAL Chetaks are carried mainly on the Godavari and Leander Class frigates, on Khukri Class corvettes, and on various other vessels that are in service with the Indian Navy. Around 23 are in service with the Navy and Coast Guard. Several helicopters roles still performed including embarked carrier-based SAR, utility and support to commando forces.

- Sea King Mk.42A/B/C

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The Sea King Mk.42 is licensed produced by the UK-based GKN Westland, from Sikorsky - a US company. The chopper forms the backbone of the Indian Naval Air Arm's helicopter fleet and has purchased more Sea King Mk.42s from GKN Westland than any other overseas customer. More than 40+ variants were delivered and an estimated 33 helicopters are still in service.

Sanctions imposed by the Clinton Administration for India's May 1998 nuclear tests, led to an acute shortage of critical spare parts for the Sea King fleet. On 23 November 2000, in a parliamentary session in the Lok Sabha, Defence Minister George Fernandes stated in a written reply that an acute shortage of critical spare parts had affected the operational efficacy of the Sea King helicopter fleet, with 60% of the helicopters grounded. On 19 January 2001, the Clinton Administration lifted the sanctions and go-ahead was given for the sale of spare parts for the Indian Navy's Sea King fleet.

- Kamov KA-28 Helix -A

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The Ka-28 Helix-A was purchased to replace the Ka-25BSh helo, although some are still in service with the Navy. The Ka-28 is the export version of the Ka-27PL and it's ASW capabilities are better than the Ka-25BSh. Around 18 Ka-28s are in service, on board various naval vessels.

The Scientific Research Institute of Systematic Equipment at St. Petersburg, Russia is currently developing a variant of the Fagot anti-ship warfare suite for the Ka-28 helicopters in service with the Indian Navy (IN). Unconfirmed reports, in September 2000, state that five Ka-28s are currently in the Sevastopol Aircraft Enterprise, Russia where they are undergoing a major overhaul. The overhaul is expected to take five months. The IN has ordered the Ka-31 Helix-B AEW helicopter.

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