Indian Navy must plan an answer to China’s Type 055 Class of Destroyers

Type 055 missile-guided destroyers ( Ranhai Class Super-cruiser ) currently being built by China has a displacement of 13000 tonnes. First of 055 out of total 6 being built, will be in service this year. Among other systems, it will be able to house 112 (some sources say 120) vertical launch tubes for a variety of surface to air, anti-ballistic, anti-ship, cruise missiles.

Even current missile-guided destroyers of China 052 Luhu class house 64 different types of missiles each.

By comparison, India’s Vishakhapatnam destroyer built under Project 15B which shall be commissioned this year has a displacement of 7400 tonnes and will be housing 16 Brahmos missiles and 32 missiles as part of Barak 8 system i.e. a total of 48 missiles. Still Vishakhapatnam class of destroyers are a remarkable achievement in their own right. Indian Navy says there is enough space on them to increase the number of Vertical Launch Tubes when refits will be done.

2nd destroyer under this project 15B – INS Mormugao will be commissioned in 2020, while the remaining two destroyers INS Paradip and INS Porbandar (which are expected to be more advanced) will be in service by 2022-2024.

Meanwhile India’s Next Generation Destroyer (NDG) Project is pending for Government approval. NDG will have displacement of 13000 tonnes. It will house 100-120 missiles. You can imagine its importance from the fact that America’s new Zumwalt Class destroyer has a displacement of 14000 tonnes. NDG will feature much advanced stealth design and low cross-section.

We agree that India at present cannot match China pound for pound. But still considering both China and Pakistan are turning increasingly bellicose in recent times, Indian government needs to bite the bullet. There will be no better time than this in view of the looming election of 2019. This government will gain immensely politically by announcing building of 4 Next Generation Destroyers.

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