Kolkata-class destroyer: a step above the rest

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As the ship silently pierces through the high waves in the rather calm ocean . Invisible to the untrained naked eye under the shallow full moon the captain of the ship announces that all operational procedures are to be followed and proceed according to the orders. All hands were on deck. The only noise you could hear was the radio chatter in the background and the powerful 9,000 HP engine silently humming  propelling the ship in excess of 25 knots .

The uber powerful EL/M-2248 MF-STAR AESA (active electronically scanned array) radar with a range 250 km+ and can track hundreds of targets simultaneously . The Thales LW08 with an explicitly fast refresh rate and tracking does it’s job of tracking three high flying Bogeys armed with C-802 anti-ship missiles without breaking a sweat. With the fighters fast approaching the ship the various online radars,computer and systems starts processing vital information to the CIC(Combat information Center) . As, soon as the triad entered within the range of the Barak-8 missiles the Thales LW08 radars soon get into the action pinpointing the exact location of the aircraft. In the dark sky placed like a blanket on top of the ocean. Suddenly the ship roared launching a volley of three Barak-8 missiles one for each target , as they dashed across the sky powered by two stage, pulsed rocket motor in the process momentarily lighting up the sky and leaving a smoke trail. As the missiles enters into their terminal phase they flying at a piercing speed Mach 2 . The active radar seeker, on the missile locks onto the target along with guidance from the AESA radar despite heavy jamming from the Bogeys. The Barak-8 hits the fuselage of one of the bogey and the whole sky lights up like the fourth of July.

Meanwhile one of the other Bogey launches the it’s load the C-802 ( NATO reporting name CSS-N-8 Saccade) missile, with a high kill probability . As the missile darts through the open water. As soon as the missile reaches within the strike distance creating a “pop-up” effect near the target giving less time for it’s defense the missile switches it’s terminal guidance radar as soon as it enters into terminal phase missile’s terminal guidance radar with monopulse system possesses high anti-jamming capabilities. The high precision radio altimeter allows the missile to have a minimum-altitude flight above the sea, normally 20–30 m.The missile uses a 165 kg semi-armor-piercing anti-personnel blast warhead which relies on the missile’s kinetic energy for piercing the target. The MF-STAR AESA radar automation track kicks and into action on the ship giving a few seconds to the CIC (Combat information center) officer to react. With a volley of BARAK-8s ripping across the sky hurling towards the C-802 missile. With the guidance of the MF-STAR Radar the SAMs impales through the missile making the burning mass of a torn metal tube fall from the sky into the water . With the loss of one aircraft and another one running on a single engine the half dead bogeys decide to make way for home as they realized it probably late that they were seriously under-armed and vulnerable to the raw power of the radars and the perfect fusion of the sensors and SAMs on the Kolkata class Destroyer.


The Kolkata class destroyers are one of the most formidable class of warships the Indian navy has to carry out a variety of tasks.They displace almost 7500 tons when fully loaded. The Kolkata class packs a punch when it comes to the radar and sensors of the ship. These ships are a successor to the Delhi class ships. The destroyers are packed to the brim with modern sensors with a very well balanced combination of anti-submarine,surface and aerial warfare. These ships are being constructed by Mazagaon Docks Limited with each ship costing around $600 million. There are 3 ships under various stages of induction. Two have been inducted and another one is soon going to head for sea trials.

Radar and sensors

The main primary radar of the ship is EL/M-2248 MF-STAR multi-mission AESA radar along with Thales LW-08 long range volume search radar and EL/M-2238 S-band STAR surveillance radar from Israel Aerospace Industries. A Nagin active towed array sonar and a bow-mounted sonar HUMSA-NG (hull-mounted sonar array – new generation) are carried for sub-surface surveillance.For Anti-submarine warfare it has an indigenous sonar system called the HUMSA-NG. HUMSA-NG is an advanced Active cum Passive integrated sonar system capable of simultaneous operation in active and passive modes. It is capable of detecting, localizing, classifying and tracking sub-surface targets in both active and passive modes.
The system provides simultaneous long-range detection in active and passive modes. The sonar is capable of localization and automatic tracking of up to eight targets in both active and passive modes.

The sonar integrates the operation of the UWT and XBT systems. The UWT functions are controlled from the main sonar console. The data received from the XBT is processed and presented on the workstation and also displayed on the sonar console.

The sonar provides target classification facility with advanced classification features in passive mode of operation.
The system is integrated with FCS systems such as IAC MOD ‘C and CAIO for exchange of relevant information. The sonar provides interface to the torpedo defence system to provide raw data for TD processing. Interfaces are also provided to obtain other ship house holding data such as course, speed, roll, pitch and GPS data.
To protect against anti-ship missiles coming from multiple directions, the ship carries the Elbit Systems Deseaver MK-II decoy control and launching system striking a perfect balance between ASW/ Surface and Aerial warfare. With the MF-STAR being an AESA radar operating on S-band Frequency the Radar consists of quad panels flanking each side of the main mast in slightly angular position.
Weapons system

Now for the defense and attacking targets the ship has a plethora of Israeli and Russian weapons. For the aerial defense the ship packs the Barak – 8 SAM which has a range of 90+ Km and is actually quite nimble. It’s minimum range is 0.8 km giving it the ability for point blank defense as it would give the ship a fighting chance to take down anti-ship missiles of Russian,French and Chinese origin commonly found in the region. And , in the Land attack category the Kolkata class it is one of the most formidable warships the Indian Navy has ever operated. For Land attack and anti-ship role the Kolkata class destroyers are packed with Brahmos cruise missile the fastest and most lethal anti-ship cruise missile. It is the primary offensive armament of the destroyer. The missiles can reach at a very high speed Mach 3.2 making it the fastest cruise missile in the world. It packs enough Kinetic energy to do significant damage to the target. According to reports an Aircraft carrier killer version is currently under development. by using it’s ability to do a steep dive it can do significant damage to a large target and disintegrate small ships. For naval gun fire support role during land operations the Kolkata class destroyers has been armed with a OTO melera 76 mm. The main gun is a dual purpose gun which means it is well-suited to varied roles such as short-range anti-missile point defence, anti-aircraft, anti-surface, and ground support. It has a range of 15 Km for land and water based target and 8 Km for aerial. It can fire 120 Rounds per minute giving it the capability to produce a shock and awe effect when fired rapidly on a single target. For Anti-submarine warfare it uses two Russian RBU-6000 Anti-submarine rocket system which can be fitted with mines,explosives, decoys with a range 6 Km. There are two launchers with a total of 24 rockets. The rockets are re-loaded automatically. The RBU-6000 Anti-submarine rocket system is complemented by twin torpedo launchers with a range of 40 Km and can fire heavy weight torpedos. The ships also pack quad Ak-630 CIWS capable of spewing 10,000 rounds a minute creating a wall of lead between the ship and any incoming bogey. It can be used for point blank defense.

Advanced Combat Management system

Each of the ship contains an advanced combat management system which uses all the sensors and radars and some specific equipment to give constant real time threat updates along with the analysis and the type of threat comes into one single place reducing the decision making time significantly.The warship is equipped with a hi-tech operation theatre.It has a strong tactical data link. It can have voice, data and video transfer through intranet, use of satellite. The operation theatre too is so well-equipped that a surgery can be conducted onboard with the help of telemedicine and video conferencing.

The Ship is equipped with sophisticated digital networks, such as Asynchronous Transfer Mode based Integrated Ship Data Network (AISDN), Combat Management System (CMS), Automatic Power Management System (APMS) and Auxiliary Control System (ACS). The AISDN is the information highway on which data from all the sensors and weapon ride. The CMS is used to integrate information from other platforms using indigenous data-link system, to provide Maritime Domain Awareness. The intricate power supply management is done using APMS, and remote control and monitoring of machinery is achieved through the ACS (Click for source)

Aviation capabilities

The Kolkata class destroyers are fitted with dual enclosed hangars which can accommodate a mix of Sea King, Chetak or Dhruv helicopters or even the S-70B Seahawk helicopters chosen by the Indian navy.

As the construction principal which has been followed in this ship is the use of raised platform. This Soviet unique tradition calls for the placement of weapons on the hull with a raised platform. This type of design has been seen on a number of soviet designed ships such as the Udaloy and Kashin class destroyers . This leads to the occupation of large amounts of space under the deck by the weapons system which reduces the space available on the ship. A lot of emphasis has been laid in the recent years on the comfort of the crew whilst constructing ships.


One thing which has been bugging a lot of people is why are the Kolkata class destroyers pack a lower number of missiles when compared to other ships of the same class ?

The answer is simple it is because if we compare American destroyers like Arleigh-Burke class destroyers they have 4 different types of SAM system each with a different role. and they main role of the American destroyers is to protect the aircraft carrier in a carrier battle group. Now when it comes to Russian destroyers they are packed to the brim. They can operate independently and a single ship can carry out a variety of roles. The Russian destroyers carry a large number of cruise missiles as they rely on overwhelming their enemies with supersonic flying tubes. So, are 16 Brahmos missile sufficient ? Yes they are because in a war time scenario ships won’t be travelling alone. Each ship in the fleet would have different roles but when it comes to the defense of the fleet it would be one common goal. Now the follow on class of the Kolkata class destroyers are the Vishakapatnam class destroyers which are heavier and pack more punch than the Kolkata class destroyers. The Kolkata Class destroyers marks a new beginning the construction of naval ships in India. With two ships already commissioned and the third one on it’s way. It gives the navy a serious teeth to counter a large number of threats in the Indian Ocean Region.

Written by – Cheifofsmoke