(This was originally posted in Hindustan Times by Joydeep Bose)
In what comes as a significant boost to the country’s naval power, India is all set to launch its first satellite and ballistic missile tracking ship Dhruv on Friday. The 10,000-tonne vessel will be commissioned from Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh in the presence of senior officials from the Indian Navy, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), and the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), among others. INS Dhruv lies at the heart of India’s future anti-ballistic capabilities and the ship will play a key role in advancing the country’s presence in the Indo-Pacific region.
INS Dhruv, the latest addition to the Indian Navy’s arsenal, was built by the Hindustan Shipyard in collaboration with the DRDO and NTRO. The ship is equipped with multiple features that make it a state-of-the-art instrument in modern naval warfare.
Here’s a look at some of the features of INS Dhruv.
INS Dhruv: A key contender in anti-ballistic warfare
- INS Dhruv, with its anti-ballistic missile capabilities, will act as an early warning system for enemy missiles headed towards Indian cities and military establishments.
- Dhruv also possesses a state-of-the-art active scanned array radar (AESA), developed by the DRDO, which will enable it to scan various spectrums and monitor spy satellites watching over India, as well as monitor missile tests in the entire region.
- Dhruv is India’s first naval vessel that is capable of tracking nuclear missiles at a long range, which assumes a special significance with an increasing threat of nuclear ballistic warfare in the Indo-Pacific region.
- In addition to these, INS Dhruv is also equipped with the capability to map ocean beds for research and detection of enemy submarines.
How will India benefit from the addition of INS Dhruv to its arsenal?
The Indian Navy is expected to be able to increase its presence in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond with the likes of INS Dhruv in its arsenal, considering largely persisting threats from its neighbours China and Pakistan. Here’s a look at how the country is likely to benefit from the addition of INS Dhruv to its arsenal of naval warfare instruments:
- INS Dhruv will play a key role in India’s maritime awareness in the Indo-Pacific since it is being commissioned at a time when an era of underwater warfare and surveillance drones with the use of advanced submarines has arrived.
- Both China and Pakistan currently have nuclear ballistic capabilities and harbour land disputes against India. In such a scenario, INS Dhruv arrives as a major upgrade to India’s fortification and force multiplier in the maritime security architecture.
- INS Dhruv, with its state-of-the-art detection facilities, will also help the country’s defence and military researchers understand the true missile capability of the adversary when they test their ballistic missiles.
- With Dhruv monitoring the seas for spy satellites across a variety of spectrums, the Indian Navy can now keep an eye out in the entire region from the Gulf of Aden to the ingress route to the South China Sea via Malacca, Sunda, Lombok, Ombai and Wetar straits. India’s electronic intelligence-gathering spy agency, the NTRO, will be able to gather more data across these regions and be on the lookout for threats.
- Moreover, with INS Dhruv on its side, the Indian Navy can now strategise its military operations better across all three dimensions of naval warfare – sub-surface, surface, and aerial. This is especially important since China has recently moved to a ‘sea-based military doctrine’ with huge investments in long-range aircraft carriers, warships, and submarines.
India’s nuclear missile tracking ship will be manned by Indian Navy personnel with the Strategic Forces Command (SFC). With the addition of INS Dhruv, India will join an elite list of countries that presently consists of only France, the US, the UK, Russia, and China, who possess and operate such vessels.