INS Chennai : A floating fortress of the Indian Navy | Daily News

INS Chennai : A floating fortress of the Indian Navy

D-65 INS Chennai
D-65 INS Chennai

There are five distinct periods in India’s maritime history - the Hindu period extending from our hoary past to the middle of the 15th Century A.D.; the Portuguese period from the closing years of the 15th Century to the end of the 16th Century; two British periods, one from 1612 to 1830 and the other from 1830 to 1947; and the Indian period which commenced on August 15, 1947. Considerable maritime activity took place in the waters around India during the Hindu period. As described by Megasthenes, the royal shipyards of the Mauryas built seagoing ships of various classes.

INS Chennai (D65) is the third ship of the Kolkata-class stealth guided missile destroyers of the Indian Navy. She was constructed by the Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) at Mumbai. On April 17, 2017, INS Chennai was dedicated to the city of Chennai. She is the largest warship built in India. This magnificent destroyer has a displacement of 7,500 tons. Its motto is Shatro Sanharaka – meaning Vanquisher of Enemies. INS Chennai has a length of 163 metres. She can sail at a speed of 30 knots. The vessel carries two sea king helicopters. The other two warships, INS Kolkata and INS Kochi have already been commissioned into the Indian Navy in 2014 and 2015 respectively. The INS Chennai is a potent platform capable of undertaking a variety of tasks and missions, spanning the full spectrum of maritime warfare.

INS Chennai has on her seal a robust bull symbolizing the Jallikattu festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu from where the ship associates its heritage. INS Chennai is the first Naval ship named after Chennai, capital city of the state of Tamil Nadu, India. The addition of INS Chennai to the Indian Navy’s operations and defence capabilities at the sea has also given a major boost to the country’s ship-building prowess. The ship is built to fight under NBC conditions (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical attack).

The India-designed ship is designed to have state of the art weapons and sensors, stealth features, an advanced action information system, a comprehensive auxiliary control system, world class modular living spaces, sophisticated power distribution system and a host of other advanced features. These ships integrate many new features and involve design changes that ensure a far more advanced weapon platforms compared to the earlier Project 15 ships.

The formidable warship is augmented with Hull Mounted Sonar ‘HUMSA-NG’ heavyweight torpedo tube launchers; Rocket Launchers and Towed Array sonar capability for defending ships from submarine attack. The ship’s air defence capability, designed to counter the threat of enemy aircraft and anti-ship cruise missiles, revolves around the vertical launch, long range surface-to-air missile system, co-developed by DRDO. INS Chennai is propelled by a powerful Combined Gas and Gas (COGAG) propulsion plant which consists of four reversible gas turbines. This allows the ship to achieve a top speed of over 30 knots, which is approximately 55 km/per hour.

The undersea warfare capability of the INS Chennai boasts of indigenously developed anti-submarine weapons and sensors. Prominently, it has the Hull Mounted Sonar ‘HUMSA-NG’, heavyweight torpedo tube launchers, rocket launchers and towed array sonar capability. INS Chennai comes equipped with ‘Kavach’ chaff decoy system. It is also fitted with a ‘Mareech’ torpedo decoy system for defence against torpedoes. Both of these decoy systems have been developed indigenously. The Kolkata-class destroyer is capable of engaging in anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare, land attacks, and air defence. The multi-mission ship is highly suited for expeditionary and surface strikes. Four AK-630 rapid-fire guns will provide the ship with close-in-defence capability while an MR gun will enable her to provide effective Naval gunfire support when engaging in direct combat.

India-developed twin tube torpedo launchers and rocket launchers will add punch to the ship’s anti-submarine capability. INS Chennai is fortified with the Barak 8- surface to air missile. The ship has 4 x8 cells to carry a total of 32 Barak missiles. The Barak 8 is an Indo-Israeli surface-to-air missile (SAM), designed to defend against any type of airborne threat including aircraft, helicopters, anti-ship missiles, and UAVs as well as ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and combat jets Both maritime and land-based variants of the system exist

INS Chennai is designed to carry the supersonic BrahMos surface-to-surface missile system. The system enables the ship to engage shore-based and Naval surface targets at long range making it a lethal platform for strike against enemy targets. The BrahMos is a Medium-range Ramjet Supersonic Cruise Missile that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land. It is notably one of the fastest supersonic cruise missiles in the world. The name BrahMos is formed from the names of two rivers, the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia.

The OTO Melara 76 mm gun is a naval gun built and designed by an Italian defence company. The system is compact enough to be installed on relatively small warships. Its high rate of fire and the availability of several types of ammunition make it capable for short-range anti-missile point defence, anti-aircraft, anti-surface, and ground support. Ammunition includes armour-piercing, incendiary, directed fragmentation effects and a guided round marketed as capable of destroying manoeuvering anti-ship missiles.

The RBU-6000 is a 213 mm calibre Soviet anti-submarine rocket launcher. It is similar in principle to the Royal Navy Hedgehog system used during the Second World War. The system entered service in 1960–1961 and is fitted to a wide range of Russian surface vessels.

It consists of a horseshoe-shaped arrangement of twelve launch barrels that are remotely directed by the fire control system. It fires RGB-60 unguided depth charges. The rockets are normally fired in salvos of 1, 2, 4, 8 or 12 rounds. Reloading is automatic, with individual rounds being fed into the launcher by the 60UP loading system from a below deck magazine. Typical magazine capacity is either 72 or 96 rounds per launcher. It can also be used for shore bombardment.

The kitchen of the ship can now make up to 800 hot chapatis every hour mechanically. The ship has also been designed in a more spacious manner, giving better amenities to every sailor on-board. The bunk beds are more spacious, have charging points and LED lights at each bed. The INS Chennai can sail with a complement of 40 officers and 330 sailors. The crew of the ship abides by the Sanskrit motto Shatro Sanharaka meaning Vanquisher of Enemies, epitomizing the warrior spirit and strong resolve to prevail and succeed in combat. INS Chennai is the pride of the Indian Navy.

(The writer wishes to thank the Defence Wing of Indian High Commission-Colombo)

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