India is all set to commission the INS Dhruv (codenamed VC 1118) ship, capable of tracking nuclear missiles and satellites from a distance, into the Navy. This ocean surveillance ship is also equipped with game changer active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars that can help India collect accurate data not just about an enemy nation’s missile range and capabilities, but will also track our own strategic missiles that are in the trial stage.
The sophisticated surveillance systems needs 14 MW of power to fire up and that will be generated by INS Dhruv itself.
The highly classified project is being given the final touches in Vizag before the commissioning. It has gone through a series of tests and sea trials starting 2018. According to sources aware of the development, INS Dhruv is now ready to be commissioned after being delayed by months due to Covid-19 pandemic.
The timing could not be better as India faces an aggressive relationship with China which is not just in eastern Ladakh, but in the Indian Ocean region too. The Chinese Navy, now the biggest in the world, is a force to reckon with. INS Dhruv is being seen as a force multiplier that will give the Indian Navy a 360 degree view of the Indo–Pacific and help plan offensive operations with a high degree of accuracy.
INS Dhruv has been jointly developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) and Indian Navy. The indigenously-developed surveillance ship has been built at Hindustan Ship Yard Ltd in Vishakhapatnam under the Make in India initiative. This 15,000-tonne ship, which is also one of the largest warships built at an Indian shipyard, has cost nearly Rs 725 crore.
During the initial days of its construction, the ship was kept under wraps in a covered dry dock to keep it away from the prying eyes of enemy satellites and spying missions.
So far, only four other countries — China, France, Russia and the US — have the capabilities that INS Dhruv carries.