The Indian Navy has launched the third Project 15B Visakhapatnam-class stealth guided-missile destroyer, the future INS Imphal.

The domestically designed vessel was unveiled by Indian Chief of the Naval Staff admiral Sunil Lanba during a launch ceremony at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited’s (MDL) facility in Mumbai.

MDL is under contract to build four warships under Project 15B for the Indian Navy.

Lead vessel of the class INS Visakhapatnam was launched in April 2015. The second ship, Mormugao, followed in September 2016.

The launch of the third Project 15B vessel marks yet another significant milestone in the country’s domestic warship design and construction programme, the navy noted.

Admiral Sunil Lanba was quoted by the Press Trust of India as saying: “The synergic partnership of MDL, Indian Navy, DRDO, OFB, BEL, other public sector enterprises and the private industry is ensuring that force levels are made available to meet India’s national strategic objectives.”

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Lanba commended the Directorate of Naval Design for helping develop the vessels and contributing to achieving the force’s aim of transforming from a ‘buyers’ to a ‘builders’ navy.

“The warships have a displacement of 7,300t and will be propelled by four gas turbines to cruise at speed of more than 30k.”

He added: “The Indian Navy stands fully committed and we are extremely proud of the fact that all of our warships and submarines on order today are being constructed within the country.”

Each Project 15B ship features advanced technology and spans 163m in length and 17.4m at beam.

The warships have a displacement of 7,300t and will be propelled by four gas turbines to cruise at speed of more than 30k.

Vessels built under the project are designed to carry and operate two multi-role helicopters. The destroyers offer improved survivability, sea keeping, stealth, and manoeuvrability.

The navy noted that shaping of hull and use of radar transparent deck fittings during the ship design have enabled enhanced stealth features, making the detection of these ships difficult.

The vessel is equipped with advanced weapons and sensors, including multi-functional surveillance radars and vertically launched missile system.

These features will enable the ship to perform long-distance engagement of shore, sea-based and air targets.