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17 Nov 2017

#DefenseDiaries: How the Delhi-class destroyers revolutionized India's naval shipbuilding?

In 1997, the Indian Navy commissioned INS Delhi, the first of three Delhi-Class Destroyers.

Weighing in at 6,700-tonnes, she was then the largest warship to be fully designed and constructed in India.

The INS Delhi and her sister ships, INS Mysore and INS Mumbai, have protected India's seas and beyond for over a decade-and-a-half.

Crucially, they helped revolutionize India's naval shipbuilding. We explain how.

In context

All about Indian Navy's Delhi-class destroyers


Delhi-class destroyers design based on Soviet warships

Development for the Project 15 warships began in the late 1970s.

They were initially conceptualized as lighter frigates but ended up as larger, more heavily armed destroyers.

The Soviet Union's Severnoye Design Bureau (SDB) served as a consultant for the project, which incorporated elements from the Soviet Sovremenny-class and Kashin-II class destroyers.

The dual-helicopter hangar from the Indian-designed Godavari-class frigate was also included.


The destroyers are armed to the teeth

The Delhi-class destroyer's main offensive weapon comprises of 16 Russian Kh-35 anti-ship cruise missiles.

It also comes with one 100mm cannon to counter ship and shore targets; and four AK-650 Gatling guns. The latter shoots down incoming missiles.

For air-defense, the destroyers feature 32 Israeli Barak-1 surface-to-air missiles (SAM) and 58 Russian Shtil SAMs.

The warship can also fire torpedos and anti-submarine rockets.

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Warships can carry 2 helicopters, have indigenous sensors

The Delhi-class destroyers are equipped with a variety of indigenous and imported radars, sonars and fire-control systems.

Each warship is powered by two Ukrainian turbine plants, capable of propelling it to the speed of over 28 knots.

The warship can carry two Sea King Mk.42B or HAL Chetak helicopters.

The Kh-35 missiles will be upgraded to carry the devastating Indo-Russian BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles.


True 'Make in India': Delhi-class destroyers spurred India's warship industry

Before the Delhi-class destroyers were commissioned, most (if not all) Indian Navy warships were imported.

Hence, the Delhi-class destroyers' lasting legacy is that they helped give birth to a domestic naval shipbuilding industry which considerably helped decrease the Indian Navy's reliance on imports.

In fact, the frontline indigenously-developed naval stealth destroyers of the Kolkata-class and Vishakapatnam-class are direct derivatives of Delhi-class destroyers.

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