The Indian Navy has accepted the first in a new class of guided missile destroyers into service on Thursday ahead of a formal commissioning that could come within a month, according to local press reports.
Kolkata (D-63) is India’s first domestically built guided missile destroyer to feature a Western-style air search radar and stealth technology.
“The ship has finished construction with all user acceptance trials, sea trials and testing of the weapons systems completed,” retired Rear Adm. (retired) R.K. Shrawat, managing directors of shipbuilder Mazgaon Docks Limited (MDL).
The ship class is leap ahead for the Indian Navy’s surface fleet, Eric Wertheim, author of Naval Institute’s Guide to Combat Fleets of the World told USNI News on Friday.
“The Kolkata-class is really a step forward for the Indians,” Wertheim said.
“It’s the first class that was really built with modern technology. This class really brings the Indian destroyer community into the 21st century.”
The 6,900-ton ship is built around an Israeli Elta EL/M-2248 3-D air search radar and features a vertical launch system for its Barak surface to air missiles (SAM) and Brahmos PJ-10 anti-ship cruise missile.
The Brahmos is an especially effective missile with a range of 157 nautical miles and speed of up to Mach 2.8, according to the 2013 edition of Jane’s Naval Weapons.
The missile — tested last month from Kolkata — has a greater range than the U.S. Navy’s current Harpoon missile and can travel more than three times the speed.
The acceptance of Kolkata comes three years later than scheduled and is billed by some as a demonstration of the Indian industrial base’s technical ability.
Two follow on ships — Kochi (D-64) and Chennai (D-65) — are expected to enter the Indian Navy in 2014 and 2015.