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Indian Navy

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Title: Indian Navy  
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Subject: 2013 Durand Cup, Indian Armed Forces, Indian Naval Air Arm, Godavari-class frigate, List of submarine classes in service
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Indian Navy

Indian Navy
Bharatiya Nau Sena
Indian Navy crest
Active 1947–Present
Country  India
Allegiance Republic of India
Branch Navy
Size 58,350 active personnel
181 ships
250 aircraft
Part of Ministry of Defence
Indian Armed Forces
Headquarters New Delhi

शं नो वरुणः Transliteration: Sham No Varunah

(May the Lord of the Oceans be auspicious unto us)
Anniversaries Navy Day: 4 December
Engagements Portuguese-Indian War
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Bangladesh Liberation War
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Anti-piracy operations in Somalia
Decorations Indian Military Honour Awards
Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral RK Dhowan[1]
Vice Chief of Naval Staff (VCNS) Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba [2]
Admiral S. M. Nanda
Admiral Oscar Stanley Dawson
Naval Ensign
Naval Ensign (2004–2014)
Naval Ensign (2001–2004)
Naval Ensign (1950–2001)
Aircraft flown
Attack Mikoyan MiG-29K, BAE Sea Harrier
Dornier Do 228
Fighter Mikoyan MiG-29K, BAE Sea Harrier
Helicopter HAL Dhruv, Kamov Ka-28, Kamov Ka-31, Sea King Mk.42C, UH-3 Sea King
Patrol Boeing P-8 Poseidon Ilyushin Il-38, Tupolev Tu-142
Reconnaissance Dornier Do 228, IAI Heron, IAI Searcher Mk II
Trainer BAE Hawk, HAL HJT-16, Harrier T-60

The Indian Navy (Devanāgarī: भारतीय नौ सेना, Bhāratīya Nau Senā) is the naval branch of the armed forces of India. The President of India serves as the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), usually a four-star officer in the rank of admiral, commands the navy. The Indian Navy can trace its lineage back to the 17th-century East India Company's Marine; it succeeded the Royal Indian Navy, which was renamed in 1950 after India became a republic. The 17th-century Maratha emperor Chhatrapati Shivaji Bhosle is considered as the 'Father of the Indian Navy'.[3][4]

Though the primary objective of the navy is to secure the nation's maritime borders, India also uses its navy to enhance its international relations through joint exercises, port visits and humanitarian missions, including disaster relief. In recent years, the Indian Navy has undergone rapid modernisation to replace its ageing equipment currently in service, this is often seen as part of "India's drive" to develop blue-water capabilities and enhance its position in the Indian Ocean region.[5][6] As of 2014, the Indian Navy has a strength of 58,350 personnel and a large operational fleet consisting of two aircraft carriers, one amphibious transport dock, 9 Landing ship tanks, 9 destroyers, 15 frigates, one nuclear-powered attack submarine, 14 conventionally-powered attack submarines, 25 corvettes, 7 mine countermeasure vessels, 47 patrol vessels, 4 fleet tankers and various auxiliary vessels.


  • History 1
    • Early maritime history 1.1
    • 1612 origins to independence 1.2
    • Independence to the end of the 20th century 1.3
    • 21st century onwards 1.4
  • Current role 2
  • Command and organisation 3
    • Personnel 3.1
    • Branches 3.2
      • Naval Air Arm 3.2.1
      • MARCOS 3.2.2
  • Equipment 4
    • Ships and submarines 4.1
    • Weapon systems 4.2
    • Electronic warfare and systems management 4.3
    • Information technology cadre 4.4
    • Naval satellite 4.5
  • Fleet reviews and naval exercises 5
    • Fleet reviews 5.1
    • Naval exercises 5.2
      • Tropex 5.2.1
  • Exploration 6
  • Future 7
    • Overview 7.1
    • Modernisation and future orders 7.2
  • Accidents 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


Early maritime history

India has a maritime history dating back 5,600 years.[7][8][9][10] The first tidal dock is estimated to have been built at Lothal around 2300 BC during the Indus Valley Civilization, near the present day Mangrol harbour on the Gujarat coast.[11][12] The Rig Veda written around 1500 BC, credits Varuna with knowledge of the ocean routes and describes naval expeditions. There is reference to the side wings of a vessel called Plava, which give stability to the ship under storm conditions. A compass, the Matsya Yantra, was used for navigation in the fourth and fifth century AD.

Chola territories during Rajendra Chola I, c. 1030

The earliest known reference to an organisation devoted to ships in ancient India is to the Mauryan Empire from the fourth century BCE. Emperor Chandragupta Maurya's Prime Minister Kautilya's Arthashastra devotes a full chapter on the state department of waterways under navadhyaksha (Sanskrit for Superintendent of ships) . The term, nava dvipantaragamanam (Sanskrit for sailing to other lands by ships, i.e. Exploration) appears in this book in addition to appearing in the Sanskrit text, Baudhayana Dharmasastra as the interpretation of the term, Samudrasamyanam.

Sea lanes between India and neighbouring lands were the usual form of trade for many centuries, and are responsible for the widespread influence of Indian Culture on other societies. Powerful navies included those of the Chola dynasty, Maurya Empire, Satavahana, Gupta Empire, Pala, Pandya, Vijayanagara Empire, Kalinga, Mughal and Maratha Empire empires.[13] Particularly the Chola dynasty had a powerful navy which conquered parts of Maritime Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka in the 11th century during the reign of Raja Raja Chola I, Rajendra Chola I and Kulothunga Chola I.[14][15] The Palas and the Cholas excelled in foreign trade and maritime activity, extending their influence overseas to China and Southeast Asia. The Maratha naval power dominated the military scene in India for three centuries.[16] During the 17th and 18th centuries, the Maratha and Kerala fleets were expanded, and became the most powerful Naval Forces in the subcontinent, defeating European Navies at various times (See the Battle of Colachel). The fleet review of the Maratha navy took place at the Ratnagiri fort in which the ships Gurabs, Galbat, Pal & small ships called as "Sangmeshwari" participated. The 'Pal' was a three masted fighter with guns peeping on the broadsides.[17] Kanhoji Angre and Kunjali Marakkar, the Naval chief of Saamoothiri, were two notable naval chiefs of the period.

1612 origins to independence

In 1612, the English East India Company established the East India Company's Marine to protect its merchant shipping off the Gulf of Cambay and up the Narmada and Tapti rivers. Its first fighting ships in India were acquired on 5 September 1612. This force evolved into Her Majesty's Indian Navy in 1830, while most of India was under British rule. The force at this time had British officers and Indian sailors. The Navy saw action in the First Opium War of 1840 and in the Second Anglo-Burmese War in 1852. During World War I, the force then known as the Royal Indian Marine undertook minesweeping, as well as supply and support operations for the Allies.

Sub Lieutenant D. N. Mukherji was the first Indian to be granted a commission as an engineer officer in 1928. In 1934, the navy was renamed as the Royal Indian Navy (RIN).

The onset of World War II led to an expansion in numbers of vessels and personnel. The navy was actively involved in operations during the war around the world. Its sloops HMIS Sutlej and HMIS Jumna played a key role in Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily.[18] It was heavily involved in operations around the Indian Ocean, including convoy escorts, mine-sweeping, supply, as well as supporting amphibious assaults. At the end of the war, the navy underwent rapid, large-scale demobilisation of vessels and personnel. In 1946, Indian sailors started the Royal Indian Navy mutiny, a rebellion influenced by activities of Indian National Army and post-WWII political unrest in India on board ships and on shore establishments to protest discrimination against Indian officers and sailors by the British and the putting on trial of ex-Indian National Army soldiers and officers. A total of 78 ships, 20 shore establishments and 20,000 sailors were involved in the rebellion, which spread all over India. This rebellion failed as the rebels did not receive support from the political leaders. After the independence of India on 15 August 1947 and the ensuing partition, the RIN's depleted fleet of ships and remaining personnel were divided between the newly independent Union of India and Dominion of Pakistan.

When India became a republic on 26 January 1950, the Royal prefix was dropped and the name Indian Navy was officially adopted. The prefix on her ships was changed to Indian Naval Ship (INS).

Independence to the end of the 20th century

During the early years following independence, the navy still had many British officers who continued to serve with the Indian Navy. Vice Admiral Ram Dass Katari was the first Indian to assume office as the Chief of Staff of the Indian Navy on 22 April 1958. The first engagement in action of the Indian Navy was against the Portuguese Navy during the liberation of Goa in 1961. Operation Vijay followed years of escalating tension due to Portuguese refusal to relinquish its colonies in India. On 21 November 1961, Portuguese troops fired on the passenger liner Sabarmati near Anjadip Island, killing one person and injuring another. During Operation Vijay, the Indian Navy supported troop landings and provided fire support. INS Delhi (1948) sank one Portuguese patrol boat, while frigates INS Betwa (1960) and INS Beas (1960) destroyed the Portuguese frigate NRP Afonso de Albuquerque.[19] The 1962 Sino-Indian War was largely fought over the Himalayas and the Navy had only a defensive role in the war.

Indian Naval activity in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 largely involved coastal patrols. During the war, the Pakistani Navy attacked the Indian coastal city of Dwarka, although there were no military resources in the area. While this attack was insignificant,[20] India deployed naval resources to patrol the coast and deter further bombardment. Following these wars in the 1960s, India resolved to strengthen the profile and capabilities of its Armed Forces.

Aircraft carrier INS Vikrant (R11) during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. It played a crucial role in enforcing the naval blockade on East Pakistan and ensuring India's victory during the war.

The dramatic change in the Indian Navy's capabilities and stance was emphatically demonstrated during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Under the command of Admiral Sardarilal Mathradas Nanda, the navy successfully enforced a naval blockade of West and East Pakistan.[21][22]

Pakistan's lone long-range submarine PNS Ghazi was sunk following an attack by the destroyer INS Rajput (1942) off the coast of Visakhapatnam around midnight of 3–4 December 1971.[23][24][25][26][27] On 4 December, the Indian Navy successfully executed Operation Trident, a devastating attack on the Pakistan Naval Headquarters of Karachi that sank a minesweeper, a destroyer and an ammunition supply ship. The attack also irreparably damaged another destroyer and oil storage tanks at the Karachi port. This was followed by Operation Python on 8 December 1971, further deprecating the Pakistan Navy's capabilities. Indian frigate INS Khukri, commanded by Captain M. N. Mulla was sunk by the PNS Hangor (S131), while INS Kirpan (1959) was damaged on the west coast. In the Bay of Bengal, the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant (R11) was deployed to successfully enforce the naval blockade on East Pakistan. Sea Hawk and the Alizés aircraft from INS Vikrant sank numerous gunboats and Pakistani merchant marine ships.[28] To demonstrate its solidarity as an ally of Pakistan, the United States of America sent Task Force 74 centred around the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise into the Bay of Bengal. In retaliation, Soviet Navy submarines trailed the American task force, which moved away from the Indian Ocean towards Southeast Asia to avert a confrontation.[29] In the end, the Indian naval blockade of Pakistan choked off the supply of reinforcements to the Pakistani forces,[30] which proved to be decisive in the overwhelming defeat of Pakistan.[31][32]

Since playing a decisive role in the victory, the navy has been a deterrent force maintaining peace for India in a region of turmoil. In 1983, the Indian Navy planned for Operation Lal Dora to support the government of Mauritius against a feared coup.[33] In 1986, in Operation Flowers are Blooming, the Indian Navy averted an attempted coup in the Seychelles.[34] In 1988, India launched Operation Cactus, to successfully thwart a coup d'état by PLOTE in the Maldives.[35] Naval maritime reconnaissance aircraft detected the ship hijacked by PLOTE rebels. INS Godavari (F20) and Indian marine commandos recaptured the ship and arrested the rebels.[36] During the 1999 Kargil War, the Western and Eastern fleets were deployed in the Northern Arabian Sea, as a part of Operation Talwar.[37] They safeguarded India's maritime assets from a potential Pakistani naval attack, as also deterred Pakistan from attempting to block India's sea-trade routes.[38] The Indian Navy's aviators flew sorties and marine commandos fought alongside Indian Army personnel in the Himalayas.[39][40]

21st century onwards

In the 21st century, the Indian Navy has played an important role in maintaining peace for India on the maritime front, in spite of the state of foment in its neighbourhood.[41] It has been deployed for humanitarian relief in times of natural disasters and crises across the globe, as well as to keep India's maritime trade routes free and open.

The Indian Navy was a part of the joint forces exercises, Operation Parakram, during the 2001–2002 India–Pakistan standoff. More than a dozen warships were deployed to the northern Arabian Sea.[42] In 2001, the Indian Navy took over operations to secure the Strait of Malacca, to relieve US Navy resources for Operation Enduring Freedom.[43]

Indian Naval doctor examines a patient.

The navy plays an important role in providing humanitarian relief in times of natural disasters, including floods, cyclones and tsunamis. In the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, the Indian Navy launched massive disaster relief operations to help affected Indian states as well as Maldives, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Over 27 ships, dozens of helicopters, at least 6 fixed-wing aircraft and over 5000 personnel of the navy were deployed in relief operations.[44] These included Operation Madad in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, Operation Sea Waves in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Operation Castor in Maldives, Operation Rainbow in Sri Lanka and Operation Gambhir in Indonesia.[45] This was one of the largest and fastest force mobilisations that the Indian Navy has undertaken. Indian naval rescue vessels and teams reached neighbouring countries less than 12 hours from the time that the tsunami hit.[44][46] Lessons from the response led to decision to enhance amphibious force capabilities, including the acquisition of Landing Platform Docks such as the INS Jalashwa (L41), as well as smaller amphibious vessels.[47][48]

During the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, the Indian Navy launched Operation Sukoon to evacuate 2,286 Indian nationals and expatriates, besides 436 Sri Lankan and 69 Nepali citizens, from war-torn Lebanon.[49][50] In 2006, Indian naval doctors served for 102 days on board USNS Mercy to conduct about medical camps in Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia and East Timor.[51] In 2007, Indian Navy supported relief operations for the survivors of Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh.[52] In 2008, Indian Naval vessels were the first to launch international relief operations for victims of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar.[53][54]

In October 1999, a coordinated effort by the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard led to the rescue of pirated Japanese cargo ship, MV Alondra Rainbow.[55]

In 2008, the navy deployed INS Tabar (F44) and INS Mysore (D60) into the Gulf of Aden to combat piracy in Somalia.[56] Tabar prevented numerous piracy attempts,[57][58][59] and escorted hundreds of ships safely through the pirate-infested waters.[60][61][62] The navy also undertook anti-piracy patrols near the Seychelles, upon that country's request.[63][64][65] In 2011, the navy launched Operation Island Watch to deter piracy attempts by Somali pirates off the Lakshadweep archipelago. This operation has had numerous successes in preventing pirate attacks.[66][67][68][69][70] On 14 August 2013, the submarine INS Sindhurakshak sank in Bombay Dockyard due to explosions aboard.[71]

On 16 November 2013, the then, Defence Minister AK Antony commissioned a modified Kiev class aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya in Severodvinsk in northern Russia.

Current role

Indian Navy flotilla including aircraft carrier INS Viraat escorting INS Vikramaditya on its way home in 2014

Currently the principal roles of Indian Navy are:[72]

  • In conjunction with other Armed Forces of the union, act to deter or defeat any threats or aggression against the territory, people or maritime interests of India, both in war and peace;
  • Project influence in India's maritime area of interest, to further the nation's political, economic and security objectives;
  • In co-operation with the Indian Coast Guard, ensure good order and stability in India's maritime zones of responsibility.
  • Provide maritime assistance (including disaster relief) in India's maritime neighbourhood.

Command and organisation

Indian Naval establishments.

The Indian Navy operates three Commands.[73] Each Command is headed by a Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the rank of Vice Admiral. The Eastern and Western Commands each have a Fleet commanded by a rear admiral, and each also have a Commodore commanding submarines. The Southern Naval Command is home to the Flag Officer Sea Training.

Additionally, the Andaman and Nicobar Command headquartered at Port Blair is a unified tri-services command under the Commander in Chief Andaman and Nicobar (CINCAN) who reports to the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) who is provided staff support by the Chief of Integrated Staff to the Chiefs of Staff Committee (CISC) in New Delhi. The Andaman and Nicobar Command, a unified Indian Navy, Indian Army Indian Air Force and Coast Guard Command was set up in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 2001.[74]

Commands HQ Location Current FOC-in-C
Western Naval Command Mumbai Vice Admiral Anil Chopra[75]
Eastern Naval Command Visakhapatnam Vice Admiral Satish Soni[76]
Southern Naval Command Kochi Vice Admiral Surinder Pal Singh Cheema[77]

In 2005, the Indian Navy commissioned the base, INS Kadamba at Karwar, 100 km from Goa. This is the third operational naval base after Mumbai and Visakhapatnam and the first to be controlled exclusively by the Navy without sharing port facilities with commercial shipping. Built under phase I of the Project Seabird, it is the largest naval base in the region.[78] The largest naval academy in Asia, INS Zamorin at Ezhimala, is operated by Indian Navy. The Indian Navy also has berthing rights in Oman and Vietnam.[79]


Guard of honour during a parade at the INA.
The Commander of the Navy is the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS). While the provision for the rank of Admiral of the Fleet exists, it is primarily intended for major wartime use and honour. No officer of the Indian Navy has yet been conferred this rank. (Both the Army and Air Force have had officers who have been conferred with the equivalent rank – Field Marshals Sam Manekshaw and Cariappa of the Army and Marshal of the Indian Air Force (MIAF) Arjan Singh.) As of 2010 the Indian Navy has 58,350 personnel on active duty (including 7,000 Naval Aviation, 2,000 Marine commandos),[80][81] and 1,000 Sagar Prahari Bal soldiers.[82]
Rank Insignia
Rank Admiral of
the Fleet
Admiral Vice Admiral Rear Admiral Commodore Captain Commander Lieutenant
Lieutenant Sublieutenant Midshipman


Naval Air Arm

P-8I Neptune of the Indian Navy.
A MiG-29K of the Indian Navy in flight over Indian islands

The naval air-arm is an important component of the Indian Navy. The Indian Navy air arm consists of MiG-29Ks and the Sea Harrier jets that operate from the aircraft carrier INS Viraat. The Kamov-31 provide the Airborne Early Warning cover for the fleet. In the anti-submarine role the Sea King, Ka-28 and the domestic built HAL Dhruv are used. The MARCOS use Sea King and HAL Dhruv helicopters while conducting operations. Reconnaissance operations are carried out by Boeing P-8 Poseidon, Tupolev 142, Ilyushin 38, Dornier Do 228 aircraft, as well as HAL Chetak helicopters. The aircraft used for carrying out roles of a strategic bomber and as a maritime striker are carried out by 4 (3 more on order) Tupolev Tu-22M, which is also capable of performing reconnaissance missions. The UAV arm consists of around 30 UAVs like Heron and Searcher-IIs that are operated from ships and shore for better surveillance. The Indian Navy also maintains a four-aircraft aerobatic display team, the Sagar Pawan. The Sagar Pawan team will be replacing their present Kiran HJT-16 aircraft with the newly developed HJT-36 aircraft.[83]

Following the purchase of the Soviet aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov (recommissioned as INS Vikramaditya), India purchased more MiG-29Ks to operate from the aircraft carrier.[84] The southernmost naval air station, INS Bazz was formally opened on 31 July 2012 by the Indian Navy Chief at Cambell Bay in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. With the commissioning of this station, the country acquired increased capability to keep vigil on the vital maritime channel of the Straits of Malacca.[85] Indian Navy has floated tenders for acquisition of 65 twin-engined Light Utility Helicopters capable of anti-submarine warfare, anti-piracy and anti-terrorism operations to replace its vintage Cheetah and Chetak choppers.[86]


The Marine Commando Force (MCF), also known as MARCOS, is a special forces unit that was raised by the Indian Navy in 1987 for direct action, special reconnaissance, amphibious warfare and counter-terrorism. In 1988, the MARCOS successfully rescued several hostages, including Maldives' then-Minister of Education, aboard a ship hijacked by PLOTE mercenaries during Operation Cactus. The MARCOS are typically deployed to prevent infiltration through the Jhelum River and Wular Lake and are also involved in covert counter-terrorism operations in and around lakes and rivers in Jammu and Kashmir.[87][88]

During the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, the MARCOS were also involved in the rescue mission of hostages captured by the terrorists in Taj Mahal Palace & Tower luxury hotel in Mumbai as part of a large terrorist attack in Mumbai metropolis in November 2008.[89]


Ships and submarines

Viraat (background) and Vikramaditya cruise in the Arabian Sea
MiG-29Ks operate from INS Vikramaditya
Shivalik class stealth multi-role frigate INS Sahyadri at Pearl Harbor to participate in RIMPAC 2014.

The names of all in service ships (and Naval Bases) of the Indian Navy are prefixed with the letters INS, designating Indian Naval Ship or Indian Navy Station. The fleet of the Indian Navy is a mixture of domestic built and foreign vessels. The Indian Navy presently has two aircraft carriers in active service, the INS Viraat and INS Vikramaditya. INS Viraat is planned for decommissioning after the induction of the first domestically built Vikrant class aircraft carrier.[90] In 2004, India bought the Russian aircraft carrier, Admiral Gorshkov for the equivalent of US$974 Million. It cost an additional US$1.326 billion to overhaul the vessel and refit it entirely with new electronic, weapon systems and sensors,bringing the total procurement cost to USD 2.3 Billion. INS Vikramaditya sailed to India after her commissioning on 15 November 2013. It joined active service by December 2013.[91] The Indian Navy has an amphibious transport dock of the Austin class, re-christened as INS Jalashwa in Indian service. It also maintains a fleet of landing ship tanks. It is expected that four more amphibious transport docks will be constructed in the future.[92]

The navy currently operates one Kolkata, three Delhi and five Rajput-class guided-missile destroyers. The ships of the Rajput class will be replaced in the near future by the next-generation Kolkata-class destroyers of which two others are in various stages of completion. Three vessels are expected to be commissioned with the first coming into active service in 2014. In 2011 the Indian government gave the go-ahead for an additional four Kolkata-class destroyers (Project 15B) which will feature a number of improvements.

In addition to destroyers, the navy operates several classes of frigates such as three Shivalik (Project 16 class) and six Talwar class frigates. Seven additional Shivalik-class frigates (Project 17A class frigates) are on order.[93] The older Godavari class frigates will systematically be replaced one by one as the new classes of frigates are brought into service over the next decade. The last remaining Nilgiri class frigate was decommissioned on 27 June 2013.

Smaller littoral zone combatants in service are in the form of corvettes, of which the Indian Navy operates the Kora, Khukri, Veer and Abhay classes corvettes. The next-generation Kamorta class of corvettes are currently under development with the first commissioned in August 2014. The Navy also plans to introduce stealthy trimaran vessels that can be modified according to mission requirements.

Replenishment tankers such as the Jyoti class tanker, the Aditya and the new Deepak class fleet tankers help improve the navy's endurance at sea. The Deepak class tankers will be the mainstay of the replenishment fleet until the first half of the 21st century.[94]

INS Chakra the nuclear attack submarine of the Indian Navy

The Indian Navy operates a sizeable fleet of Sindhughosh (Russian Kilo-class submarine design) and Shishumar (German Type 209/1500 design) class submarines and has started construction of six Scorpène class submarines with MESMA. The new submarines will feature air-independent propulsion and are expected to start joining the navy during the second half of 2015.[95] India issued a request for information for another six larger submarines in 2011 (Project-75India, or P-75I),[96][97] but the plan was delayed due to cuts in the defence budget during 2012–13.[98] India paid US$2 billion for the completion of two Akula-class submarine class nuclear-powered attack submarines which were 40–60% completed.[99] Three hundred Indian Navy personnel were trained in Russia for the operation of these submarines. India has finalised a deal with Russia, in which at the end of the lease of these submarines, it has an option to buy them. The first submarine is named INS Chakra and was handed over to India on 23 January 2012.[100] For the first time India has designed and built the first boat of a class of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines. It is designated the Arihant class with the first vessel currently expected to be commissioned at some point in 2014-2015.[101] The lead vessel of the class, Arihant, was launched on 26 July 2009 in Visakhapatnam and is currently undergoing sea trials.[102] The Navy plans to have six SSBN's in service in the near future.[103] These nuclear-powered submarines will be a vital part of the nation's much desired nuclear triad. Negotiations have begun to lease another Akula-II submarine from Russians as the defence establishment is serious about bolstering the underwater arm of the Navy.[104]

Weapon systems

India has a number of foreign made cruise missile systems, including the Klub SS-N-27. It also has its own Nirbhay cruise missile systems under development. Another successful programme has been the adaptation of the Yakhont anti-ship missile system into the BrahMos by the NPO and the DRDO. The BrahMos has been tailored to Indian needs and uses a large proportion of Indian-designed components and technology, including its fire control systems, transporter erector launchers, and its onboard navigational attack systems. The successful test of Brahmos from INS Rajput (D51) provides Indian Navy with precision land attack capability.[105] India has also fitted its P-8I Neptune reconnaissance aircraft with all-weather, active-rader-homing, over-the-horizon AGM-84L Harpoon Block II Missiles and Mk 54 All-Up-Round Lightweight Torpedoes.[106] Indian warships' primary air-defense shield is provided by Barak-1 SAM while an advanced version Barak-8 is in development with join collaboration with Israel.[107] India's next-generation Scorpene class submarines will be armed with Exocet anti-ship missile system. Among indigenous missiles, ship-launched version of Prithvi-II is called Dhanush, which has a range of 350 km and can carry nuclear warhead.[108] The K-15 Sagarika (Oceanic) submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), which has a range of at least 700 km (some sources claim 1000 km) forms part of India's nuclear triad and is extensively tested to be integrated with Arihant class of nuclear submarines. A longer range submarine launched ballistic missile called K-4 is under testing, to be followed by K-5 SLBM.

Electronic warfare and systems management

Fregat-MAE 3D Radar on board the destroyer INS Delhi.

Sangraha is a joint carrier wave, pulse repetition frequency agile, frequency agile and chirp radars. The systems employ a modular approach facilitating deployment on various platforms like helicopters, vehicles, and small ships. Certain platforms, apart from ESM (electronic support measures), have ECM (electronic countermeasure) capabilities. Advanced technologies like multiple-beam phased array jammers are employed in the system for simultaneous handling of multiple threats.[109]

The Indian Navy also relies on information technology to face the challenges of the 21st century. The Indian Navy is implementing a new strategy to move from a platform centric force to a network-centric force by linking all shore-based installations and ships via high-speed data networks and satellites.[110][111] This will help in increased operational awareness. The network is referred to as the Navy Enterprise Wide Network (NEWN). The Indian Navy has also provided training to all its personnel in Information Technology (IT) at the Naval Institute of Computer Applications (NICA) located in Mumbai. Information technology is also used to provide better training, like the usage of simulators and for better management of the force.[112]

Information technology cadre

With increasing cyber terrorism and attacks on its networks, the navy has created a separate cell for communications, space and network centric operations (CS&NCO) under an officer of the rank of Rear Admiral. The cell would operate and maintain the naval network and will respond to cyber attacks from hostile hackers. It will be manned by a special information technology cadre of the Indian Navy.[113]

Naval satellite

India's first exclusive defense satellite UHF, S-band, C-band and Ku-band relay capacity. Its Ku-band capacity is expected to provide high-density data transmission facility, both for voice and video. This satellite has been provided with additional power to communicate with smaller and mobile (not necessarily land-based) terminals. This dedicated satellite is expected to provide the Indian navy with an approximately 3,500- to 4,000-kilometer footprint over the Indian Ocean region, and over both the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal region and enable real-time networking of all its operational assets in the water (and land). It also will help the navy to operate in a network-centric atmosphere.[114]

Fleet reviews and naval exercises

Fleet reviews

The President of India is entitled to inspect his/her fleet, as he/she is the supreme commander of the Indian Armed Forces. The first president's fleet review by India was hosted by Dr. Rajendra Prasad on 10 October 1953. president's reviews usually take place once in the President's term. In all, ten fleet reviews have taken place, including in February 2006, when former president Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam took the review.[115] The latest, on 20 December 2011, when President Pratibha Patil set sail in a warship INS Subhadra (P51) to take the 10th Fleet Review.[116] The Indian Navy also conducted an International fleet review named Bridges of Friendship in February 2001 in Mumbai. Many ships of friendly Navies from all around the world participated, including two from the US Navy.[117][118]

Naval exercises

Naval ships from 17 nations Indian Ocean Naval Symposium participated in Milan 2014, one of the largest joint naval drill.

India often conducts naval exercises with other friendly countries designed to increase naval interoperability and also to strengthen cooperative security relationship. Some such exercises take place annually like the Varuna with the French Navy, Konkan with the Royal Navy, Indra with Russian Navy, Malabar with the US Navy, Simbex[119] with the Republic of Singapore Navy and IBSAMAR[120] with the Brazil and South African navies.[121] The Indian Navy also conducted exercise with the People's Liberation Army Navy in 2003 and will send ships to the South China Sea to participate in the fleet review.[122] Apart from the Indian Ocean, India has steadily gained influence in the Pacific Ocean. In 2007, Indian Navy conducted naval exercise with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and U.S Navy in the Pacific[123] and also signed an agreement with Japan in October 2008 for joint naval patrolling in the Asia-Pacific region.[124]

Indian and Russian warships carry out naval maneuvers during Exercise INDRA 14

India has also held naval exercise with Vietnam,[125] Philippines and New Zealand.[126] In 2007, India and South Korea decided to conduct annual naval exercise[127] and India participated in the South Korean international fleet review.[128] In addition, Indian Navy will also be increasing naval co-operation with other allies, particularly with Germany[129] and Arab states of the Persian Gulf including Kuwait, Oman,[130] Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.[131][132] India held the first Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS)[133] with an objective to provide a forum for all the littoral nations of the Indian Ocean to co-operate on mutually agreed areas for better security in the region.[134] The Indian Navy is increasingly used in international diplomacy.[135] Since 2000, the Indian naval ships have made port calls in Israel, Turkey, Egypt, Libya, Greece, Oman, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, South Africa,[136] Kenya,[137] Qatar, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait[138] and other countries in 2005–2007.

The first Atlantic Ocean deployment of the Indian Navy happened in 2009. During this deployment, the Indian Naval fleet will conduct exercise with the French, German, Russian and British Navies.[139]

In 2010, Indian naval warships were deployed in the Asia pacific region, and conducted courtesy calls at friendly ports.[140] Recently, Indian Navy carried out a Joint Naval exercise with Sri Lanka Navy codenamed SLINEX-II from 19 to 24 September 2011. The exercise was aimed at increasing the capabilities of the two nations in carrying out anti-piracy operations and exchanging professional knowledge.[141] Once in two years navies from the Indian Ocean region meet at the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the event is named as Milan.[142] MILAN included a passage exercise in 2010.[143]


In 2007, the TROPEX (Theatre-level Readiness Operational Exercises) was held during which Indian Navy experimented the doctrine of influencing a land and air battle to support the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force.[144] Tropex 2010 was held, with the Western and Eastern fleets taking part along with elements from the airforce.[145]


INS Tarangini is the only sail training ship in the Indian Navy and is an icon of India's rich maritime history.

The Indian Navy regularly conducts adventure expeditions. The sailing ship and training vessel INS Tarangini began circumnavigating the world on 23 January 2003, intending to foster good relations with various other nations; she returned to India in May of the following year after visiting 36 ports in 18 nations.[146] INS Tarangini returned to port, after a ten-month long overseas voyage named Lokayan 07.[147] Lt. Cdr. M.S. Kohli led the Indian Navy's first successful expedition to Mount Everest in 1965; the Navy's ensign was again flown atop Everest on 19 May 2004 by a similar expedition. Another Navy team also successfully scaled Everest from the north face, the technically more challenging route.[148] The expedition was led by Cdr Satyabrata Dam, belonging to the elite submarine arm. Cdr. Dam is a mountaineer of international repute and has climbed many mountains including the Patagonias, the Alps among others. This team's record is unmatched by any other navy. The Navy was also the first to send a submariner to summit Everest.[149]

An Indian Navy team comprising 11 members successfully completed an expedition to the Arctic pole. To prepare, they first travelled to Iceland, where they attempted to summit a peak.[150] The team next flew to eastern Greenland; in the Kulusuk and Angmassalik areas, they used Inuit boats to navigate the region's ice-choked fjords. They crossed northward across the Arctic Circle, reaching seventy degrees North on skis. The team scaled an unnamed peak of height 11,000 feet (3,400 m) and named it ‘’Indian Peak’’.[151]

The Indian Naval ensign first flew in

  • Official web site

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See also

Accidents in the Indian navy have been attributed to ageing ships in need of maintenance, delayed acquisitions by the Ministry of Defence, and human error.[182] However naval commentators also argue that as India's large navy of 160 ships clocks around 12,000 ship-days at sea every year, in varied waters and weather, some incidents are inevitable.[183][184] Captains of erring ships are dismissed from their command following an enquiry.[185][186] The accident on board INS Sindhuratna (S59) led to the resignation of the then Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral D K Joshi on 26 February 2014, who owned moral responsibility.[187]


In 2014 the Defense Acquisition Council announced a $13 Billion program that would include six domestically produced submarines.[181]

The Indian Navy is also envisaging a new 'Safety Organisation' to improve safety of its warships, nuclear submarines and aircraft in view of its planned increase in fleet strength over the next decade.[178] The Prime Ministers of India and Japan have also decided to set up a joint working group to study how India can acquire and operate the ShinMaywa US-2 amphibious aircraft.[179][180]

The Indian Navy has signed a deal with Boeing to supply twelve P-8 Poseidon Anti-submarine Warfare/Maritime Surveillance Aircraft.[174] The first aircraft was delivered on 21 December 2012. Boeing handed over another two on November 2013 and the remaining five by 2015. Also there are plans to induct four AEW&C aircraft that will be based on carriers.[175] The Navy is also planning to purchase more UAVs.[176] The Indian Navy has issued a tender for procurement of 16, multi-role naval helicopters to NH Industries and Sikorsky. The order is likely to grow to around 60 helicopters. The helicopters will be equipped with anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare equipment including missiles and torpedoes, and also be capable of being in-flight refuelling. The type will operate from both naval vessels and land bases.[177]

In November 2011, India's Defence Acquisition Council was looking for induction of large amphibious ships under the Indian Navy Multi-Role Support Vessel programme. The Navy sent out an international RFP for up to 4 amphibious operation vessels of the LHDs type with significant capability to carry helicopters and troops.[171] The contenders are expected to tie up with local shipyards for construction of the ships.[172][173]

Foreign companies, including Rosoboronexport's Amur 1650 (Russia), DCNS's Scorpene (France), HDW Type 214 (Germany) and Navantia's S-80 (Spain) were the possible candidates for the P75-I $11.8-billion project.[170]

The navy is acquiring the Kolkata-class destroyer, the Kamorta-class corvette and the Project 17A-class frigate. The navy will also procure eight mine countermeasure vessels (MCMVs) of the Future Indian minehunter class, to replace the Pondicherry class ocean minesweepers in service. First two will be built by Kangnam Shipbuilding Corporation and rest six by GSL.

In August 2013, India launched the first of two Vikrant-class aircraft carriers. Vikrant, which has a capacity to carry 36 fighter planes would undergo extensive sea trials in 2016, and is expected to be commissioned by 2018. The phase 1 contract, which included building the hull and fitting of the propulsion system, was awarded by the navy to Cochin Shipyard at a cost of INR1,160 crore. The aircraft being carried would include Naval LCA and MiG-29K fighters, and Ka-31, and Sea King Mk.42 helicopters.[164][165][166] The carrier was originally expected to be commissioned by around 2012-13, however construction was delayed by 4 years, and the carrier is now expected to be commissioned by 2017 or 2018.[167] The delay in the construction schedule has impacted the construction schedule of the second indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC-II) as well.[168] The IAC-II has not been ordered, but it is planned to displace around 65,000 tones, and is expected to be delivered to the navy by around 2025. The navy aims to have three aircraft carriers in service, with two fully operational carriers and the third in refit.[169]

The Indian Navy is currently undergoing a 15-year modernisation plan in an attempt to replace older in service equipment.[163]

LCA Tejas (now HAL Tejas) developed by India
The indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant under construction at Cochin Shipyard

Modernisation and future orders

The Indian Navy is in the process of constructing an Extremely low frequency communication facility to communicate with its Arihant class and Akula class submarines. This facility is expected to be operational by 2015.[162]

GSAT-7, India’s first fully-fledged military communications satellite, was launched. The 2,650-kg GSAT-7 is the last of ISRO’s seven fourth-generation satellites. Its foreign launch cost has been put at INR480 crore, with the satellite costing INR185 crore. Part funded by the Navy, it is built to meet the Navy’s a long-term modernisation plan that includes use of satellites and information technology.[161]

The Indian Navy has initiated Phase II expansion of INS Kadamba, the third largest naval base, near Karwar. Phase II will involve expansion of the berthing facilities to accommodate 40 more front-line warships, including the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, raise manpower to 300 officers and around 2,500 sailors, and build a naval air station with a 6,000-foot runway. This is to be followed by Phase IIA and IIB, at the end of which INS Kadamba will be able to base 50 front-line warships.

The Indian Navy has decided to increase its spending by around 75 per cent in the fiscal year 2012–2013. With an overall hike in the defence budget of 17 per cent, Indian navy has been allocated $4.77 billion which is roughly $2 billion more than the allocation for 2011–2012. The increase in expenditure will be utilised to procure several frigates and destroyers, speed up key projects and increase its strategic reach in the Indian Ocean region.[159] By the end of the 14th Plan (2027), the Indian Navy expects to have over 150 ships and close to 500 aircraft and helicopters. In addition to the existing mission of securing both sea flanks in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian sea, the navy would be able to respond to emergent situations far away from the main land. Marine assault capabilities will be beefed-up by setting up a new amphibious warfare facility at Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh.[160]

India plans to build seven Project 17A-class frigates



[158][157] Cdr. Dilip Donde completed the first solo circumnavigation by an Indian citizen on 22 May 2010.[156]

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