With an operating range of 15,000 km, INS Kolkata, first of the three such ships that will join the Indian Navy in the next few years, is equipped to play a varied role. It has an in-built anti-submarine capability, can take on anti-ship missile and a fighter aircraft. It will the first Indian ship to be armed with the land attack, anti-ship Brahmos missile, again manufactured in India with Russian collaboration.
These capabilities give INS Kolkata an ability to operate without supporting fleet of ships. With an integral hanger and a landing deck for a helicopter, the guided missile destroyer will add teeth to the 140-ship strong Indian Navy, currently undergoing a massive expansion.
Although its delivery has been delayed way beyond the deadline, Kolkata's induction will further boost the confidence of Indian shipbuilders. With 44 ships of varying shapes, capability and size under construction in Indian shipyards, the Navy is betting big on local expertise to build and enhance its fleet in the coming decade.
The Parliament's Standing Committee on Defence was informed last year that while Indian shipyards have made remarkable progress in building hulls and associated equipment but still lag behind in building and manufacturing weapons and sensors.
Traditionally the Indian Navy has sourced most of its ships from the former Soviet Union but over the past decade, defence planners have leaned hard on Indian shipbuilding yards to deliver a variety of warship for the Indian Navy.