This past spring India launched the Visakhapatnam, first of a new class of Project 15B guided-missile destroyers. She is being built domestically in Mumbai by the shipyard Mazagaon Dock Limited. Four of the Project 15B destroyers are planned for delivery between 2018 and 2024. The Visakhapatnam, expected to carry a crew of around 350, is an enhanced version of the three-ship Kolkata-class destroyers (Project 15A) that began entering service in 2014. Displacing 7,300 tons, the new destroyers feature improved signature-reduction measures, as well as better survivability, seakeeping, and maneuverability compared to their predecessors. The class has a length of 535 feet with beam of 57 feet, and is powered by four gas-turbine engines capable of a top speed of 30 knots. Two multi-role helicopters will be carried on board in addition to a 3-inch gun and a battery of surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles.
By Eric Wertheim