The Indian Navy has commissioned the last of its four home-built anti-submarine warfare (ASW) stealth corvettes, the INS Kavaratti.

A stealth corvette is a small warship that employs stealth technology construction techniques to ensure it is not detected by radar, visual, sonar or infrared methods.

The commissioning ceremony on Oct. 22 was presided over by Manoj Mukund Naravane, the chief of Army staff, as the warship was inducted as a fully combat-ready platform into the fleet after completing sea trials of its equipment.

“The INS Kavaratti has been constructed using high-grade DMR 249A steel produced in India,” the Indian Navy said. The submarine was built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, Kolkata, and designed by the Directorate of Naval Design, the Indian Navy’s in-house wing.

It has a state-of-the-art weapon and sensor suite capable of “detecting and prosecuting” submarines. In addition to its anti-submarine warfare capability, the ship also has self-defense capacity and capacity for long-range deployments.

The corvette, at up to 109 meters (357 feet) long and 14 meters (46 feet) wide, with a displacement of 3,300 tons, moves at 25 knots. The vessel’s superstructure is made of composite material.

“The ship is propelled by four diesel engines. It has enhanced stealth features resulting in reduced radar cross-section and achieved by the X-form of the superstructure, along with optimally sloped surfaces. The ship’s advanced stealth features make her less susceptible to detection by the enemy,” the Navy said.

The ship is equipped with systems to fight in nuclear, biological and chemical warfare conditions. The Navy said the weapons and sensors’ suite is predominantly indigenous and showcase India’s evolving capability in this niche area.

Some of the major equipment developed indigenously includes the combat management system, torpedo tube launchers and infrared signature suppression system.

“All modern naval ships are capable of withstanding radiation as well as biological and chemical attacks and can traverse through contaminated zones,” said Alok Bansal, former naval officer and director at the India Foundation.

The stealth corvette “carries torpedoes, rockets and very good close-combat weapons as well,” said Lt. Gen. Gurmeet Singh. “It has a brilliant electronic warfare system. The ship gives very low radar signatures, and is a low noise creating ship from the perspective of technology which makes it excellent when it comes to stealth warfare.”

Singh said 90 percent of the materials used in the ship are Indian, and the cost to build was INR 17,000 crores ($170 billion).

He said the latest entrant will be a great operator in the ocean, and it was important to commission this ship right away because of the growing threat of China in the Indian Ocean region and the South China Sea.

The warship has several advanced automation systems such as the Total Atmospheric Control System (TACS), Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS), Integrated Bridge System (IBS), Battle Damage Control System (BDCS) and Personnel Locator System (PLS)  for optimal functioning.

The ship shares her name with the Arnala Class missile corvette, which was involved in the 1971 war for the liberation of Bangladesh, among many other operational deployments. During the war, Kavaratti was deployed for contraband control in the Bay of Bengal and to support the entrances to Chittagong in then East Pakistan. She captured the Pakistani Merchant Ship Baqir during this operation.

Kavaratti is the capital of Lakshadweep, India’s coastal union territory.

“In the Indian Navy, there is a tradition of naming ships after old decommissioned ships,” Bansal said.

The ship has a team of 12 officers and 134 sailors, and will be an integral part of the eastern fleet under the eastern naval command.

The first vessel of this class, the INS Kamorta, was commissioned on Aug. 23, 2014, followed by the INS Kadmatt on Jan. 7, 2016. The third vessel, the INS Kiltan, was authorized on Oct. 16, 2017.

The Indian Navy plans to buy short-range surface-to-air missiles (SRSAM) for its Kamorta class corvettes under the Buy Global category, which includes 150 missiles and a request for proposal.  The Buy Global purchase refers to the direct purchase of equipment from foreign or Indian vendors. In the case of foreign vendors, the government from both countries will be involved. Each SRSAM system will have a command and control system, a two-way data link, and a launcher for a particular number of missiles.

(Edited by Uttaran Das Gupta and Judy Isacoff.)

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