The Indian Navy has officially inducted its new nuclear missile tracking vessel following a delivery delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The commissioning was carried out secretively in October last year, The Economic Times (ET) reported, citing sources aware of the development.

Referred to as VC-11184, the ocean surveillance ship (OSS) had been under construction since 2014.

The 15,000t class OSS is said to have completed all trials.

It was built by Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD)-owned shipbuilder, Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) under the Made in India initiative. The project cost was $99.73m (RS7.25bn).

The OSS’s entry into service makes India one of the five nations that use such platforms to track missile launches even at far-off distances. The other four countries are the US France, Russia and China.

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It will boost India’s ballistic missile defence capability and detect enemy launches.

Details about the vessel’s capabilities, onboard systems, and other specifications remain undisclosed.

According to ET report, the ship has a ‘large globe-shaped radar placed on the aft’, ‘specialised surveillance systems of three dome-shaped antennas packed with sensors’, and produces over 14MW of power for its tracking radars.

The OSS will be jointly operated by the Indian Navy, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), and the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), according to the publication.