In a major shot in the arm for the government’s ambitious Aatmanirbhar Bharat mission in the defence manufacturing sector, the defence ministry on Thursday inked a pact worth ₹1700 crore with BrahMos Aerospace for the acquisition of 35 additional dual-role capable surface-to-surface BrahMos missiles for the Indian Navy. The induction of missile systems would significantly enhance the operational capability of the naval force’s fleet assets. According to the contract signed between the ministry and Brahmos Aerospace, the missile maker will be required to supply 35 combat and three practice BrahMos missile systems to the Indian Navy for its two Project 15B Ships, which means that of Visakhapatnam-class guided-missile stealth destroyers The Indian Navy commissioned the first warship of Visakhapatnam-class or P-15B in November last year in Mumbai. Within two months of its induction, INS Visakhapatnam successfully conducted the test-firing of an upgraded variant of the BrahMos anti-ship missile.
It was subsequently followed by another successful test-firing on February 18 this year.
Presently, under the P-15B or Visakhapatnam Class, a total of four warships are planned to be inducted. The warships are Visakhapatnam, Mormugao, Imphal and Surat.
The second ship of P-15B — Mormugao has completed the maiden sea trials and has been planned to be inducted into the force soon. The other two ships are expected to join the service by 2024.
The contract of ₹35,800 crore for the construction of these four ships was signed in 2011. It should be noted that the contract was signed weeks after the Indian Navy commissioned the first-ever indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant earlier this month at Kochi. It would take another two years for it to become fully functional. BrahMos Aerospace is a Joint Venture between India and Russia, making a crucial contribution to augmenting the new generation of Surface-to-Surface Missiles (SSMs) with enhanced range and dual role capability for land as well as anti-ship attacks.
“This contract is going to give a further boost to indigenous production of the critical weapon system and ammunition with the active participation of indigenous industry,” the ministry said.