“Those who control the seas control the world.”

Alfred Thayer Mahan

A Legacy Forged in Steel – INS Imphal

The name “Imphal” resonates with the echoes of past battles, conjuring images of fierce warriors and decisive victories. In the hands of the Indian Navy, this name now takes on a new meaning, gracing the hull of a modern marvel of maritime engineering – the INS Imphal. This stealthy destroyer, bristling with cutting-edge weaponry stands poised to uphold the legacy of its namesake in the ever-evolving landscape of global security.

As the world navigates the uncharted waters of the “Great Power Competition” era, with “Indo-Pacific” and “South China Sea” dominating strategic discussions, INS Imphal emerges as a critical symbol of India’s growing maritime influence. Its presence will serve as a potent deterrent against those seeking to disrupt the free and open Indo-Pacific maritime region, echoing the spirit of those who battled for freedom on the historic battlefields of Imphal

The Stealth Destroyer

The Indian Navy’s newest ship INS Imphal (D68), a powerful stealth destroyer is a testament to India’s growing maritime power. She is the third ship of the Visakhapatnam class, stealth guided missile destroyers of the Indian Navy. She is a modern warship built with cutting-edge technology and equipped with advanced weaponry/ sensors. She embodies the country’s unwavering commitment to safeguarding its vast coastline and ensuring capable #NavyForNation to safeguard its citizens. This article delves into the history, capabilities and significance of INS Imphal from the perspective of national security.

Salient Info

  • Builder: Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL), Mumbai
  • Launched: April 20, 2019
  • Sea Trials: April 28, 2023
  • Delivered to Indian Navy: October 20, 2023
  • Commissioning: End December 2023
  • Displacement: 7,500 tonnes (full load)
  • Length: 163 meters
  • Beam: 17 meters
  • Draft: 6.5 meters
  • Speed: Over 30 knots
  • Crew: Approximately 300 officers and sailors

INS Imphal Ship Building – Blueprint to Giant 

Constructed at the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) in Mumbai. She was launched on April 20, 2019 and third ship of the Visakhapatnam class destroyers. While sharing the core design and capabilities of the Visakhapatnam class destroyers, she has several advance features setting it apart from its predecessors. Some highlights of improved technological differences to enhance combat capabilities.

  • Enhanced Stealth – INS Imphal features an improved radar cross-section (RCS) reduction design, making it even more difficult to detect on enemy radars. This improved stealth offers a significant tactical advantage in modern warfare.
  • Advanced Sensor Suite – The integrated sensor suite on INS Imphal has improved range and resolution, allowing for better situational awareness and target acquisition capabilities. This includes upgrades to the electronic warfare suite, radar systems and sonar systems.
  • Upgraded Weapon Systems – She is equipped with the latest version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, offering increased strike range and lethality. Additionally, the ship may also be equipped with the Barak 8 NG air defense missile system in future upgrades, providing enhanced protection against aerial threats.
  • Crew Comfort and Accommodations – She has a dedicated accommodation for women officers and sailors, a significant step towards improved inclusivity and diversity within the Indian Navy. Additionally, crew quarters have been designed with a focus on improved living conditions and comfort.
  • Indigenous Material Integration – Showcases increased integration of indigenous materials in its construction, including the use of the advanced DMR 249A steel. This demonstrates India’s growing self-reliance and technological prowess in shipbuilding.
  • Improved Automation – Incorporates enhanced automation systems, streamlining operational efficiency and reducing crew workload. This allows for faster response times and improved decision-making capabilities in critical situations.
  • Future-proof Design – INS Imphal is designed with modularity and flexibility in mind, allowing for future upgrades and integration of new technologies as they become available. This ensures that the ship remains capable and relevant throughout its lifespan.

Unleashing Lethal Arsenal

Beneath its deceptively calm exterior, hides an arsenal of cutting-edge weaponry. This includes: –

  • Supersonic BrahMos cruise missiles – With the ability to strike targets over long distances and with precise accuracy, these missiles are a powerful deterrent against any potential threat. 
  • Barak 8 long-range surface-to-air missiles – These missiles form an impenetrable aerial shield, capable of neutralizing enemy aircraft and drones before they pose danger. 
  • AK-630  – This rapid-fire gun system provides the last line of defense against close-range attacks, ensuring protection from missiles and explosive laden speed boats. 
  • 76 MM Gun – This powerful cannon engages surface targets with precision and lethality, ensuring no threat goes unchallenged. 
  • ASW Rockets and Torpedoes  – These weapons transform the INS Imphal into a fearsome hunter, capable of detecting and eliminating enemy submarines lurking beneath the waves. 

Beyond the Arsenal- Human Prowess

Complementing its formidable arsenal, true strength lies not just in its technology, but also in the dedicated crew that operates it. Crew consist of experienced officers to skilled sailors. These individuals are trained to the highest military standards and are ready to face any challenge with courage and determination.

Significance of INS Imphal in Maritime Prowess

The INS Imphal is more than just a warship it’s a symbol of India’s growing maritime power. Its induction as potent powerful platform  serves as a strong deterrent to adversaries. Also ensures the safety and well-being of millions of Indians who rely on the sea for their livelihoods.

A Glimpse into the Future

Once commissioned, she will play a pivotal role in various naval operations, which includes-

  • Anti-piracy patrols – Safeguarding vital shipping lanes from the threat of piracy and ensuring the smooth flow of trade.
  • Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief – Delivering critical aid and support to affected communities in times of natural disasters.
  • Joint exercises and international collaborations – Strengthening India’s maritime ties with friendly nations and fostering regional cooperation.
  • Show of force missions– Demonstrating India’s naval capabilities and deterring potential adversaries from engaging in hostile activities.

A Legacy 

Overall, INS Imphal represents a significant evolution of the Visakhapatnam-class destroyers, incorporating advanced technology, improved capabilities and enhanced crew living conditions. These improvements solidify its position as a powerful and modern warship, capable of safeguarding India’s maritime interests. She is poised to become a cornerstone of India’s maritime security for years to come. She stands as a testament to the nation’s commitment to safeguarding its strategic interests.  Her shadow extends far beyond the horizon, casting a reassuring blanket of protection over the Indian Ocean and its people.