India is set to commission its indigenously designed, missile-tracking ocean surveillance ship (OSS) in 2018 to support the country’s classified strategic weapon and ballistic missile defence (BMD) programmes, official sources have told Jane’s .
Designated VC11184 after the yard in the Indian port city of Visakhapatnam where it has been under construction since 2013 by the Ministry of Defence (MoD)-owned Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL), the secretive OSS programme is under direct control of the prime minister’s office via the national security advisor.
This monitoring arrangement is similar to that of India’s secretive Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) programme that was launched in the 1970s to indigenously build nuclear-powered submarines at Visakhapatnam.
Designed by private-sector Vik-Sandvik Design India (VSDI) and costing around INR15 billion (USD231.29 million), the 175 m-long OSS with a displacement of more than 10,000 tonnes is being fitted out by HSL before undergoing sea trials from early 2018.
Powered by two imported 9,000 kW engines – in a combined diesel and diesel (CODAD) configuration – capable of attaining a speed of 21 kt and equipped with three 1,200 ekW auxiliary generators, the OSS is fitted with primary X-Band and secondary S-Band active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar to monitor indigenously developed strategic and other missile systems. Besides gathering electronic intelligence, the ship is expected support the second phase of the locally designed multitiered BMD shield.
Manned by a crew of 300, the OSS has a large top deck with space to install multiple missile tracking antennas in addition to an embarked helicopter.
Security officials told Jane’s that only four other countries – China, France, Russia, and the United States – operate similar platforms.
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