SOURCE: SATYAJEET KUMAR/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
Nearly 4 years ago, China launched the first Type 055 naval destroyer, a mammoth 12,000-ton vessel that is the biggest and most heavily armed warships on the planet, that made India’s latest Project- 15B “Visakhapatnam” class destroyers that displaces close to 8,200 tones that not only has outgunned India’s latest but also revealed China’s aggressive plans for the Indian Ocean Region when it was disclosed that China has plans to have a fleet of 18 Type 055 warships that will give it the firepower it desires put also the range it can operate.
Recent media suggests that the Indian Navy is finally taking this threat seriously and now plans to counter this mega warship with its equivalent when it will commence Project-18 under which it plans to manufacture 13000-ton stealth Guided Missile Destroyer, at an estimated price of over 50000 crores.
But more funds will need to be allocated to match the firepower of the Type 055 warships that have been seen with futuristic weapons. electromagnetic railgun and Ship-Mounted Laser Weapon to replace the present conventional Close-in Weapon System (CIWS) will be two critical next-generation weapons systems that will require high cutting edge research and development that needs to be taken up as a priority program.
The sheer size of Project-18 Class warships also makes it a viable candidate for the sea-based element of India’s Ballistic Missile Defence Shield against short to intermediate-range ballistic missiles, another class of next-generation weapons that will also require a considerable amount of funding. but the sea-based elements of BMD can be added at a later stage since the focus should remain to get the first few warships immediately before china races ahead with the construction of Type 005 class warship.
Present warship dockyard in India doesn’t have facilities and infrastructure that can cater to the manufacturing of the warships in the class of 13000 tons that could require additional funds for the development of new infrastructure. In all an all, it requires much more funds than what mear allocation just for the construction of the warship, but also for the development of next-generation weapons and the facilities that will need to be developed.
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