-Raghu Varier

An Alpha Defense Analysis

Very recently European defense firm MBDA was awarded a 500 million Euro contract to supply the CAMM ( Common Anti-air Modular missile) Sea Ceptor and upgrade the Sea Viper Command and Control system for the UK Royal Navy’s Type 45 Destroyer. Fitment of CAMM onto type 45 will result in a 50% increase in the destroyer’s air defence missiles. The installation is said to be of 24 additional VLS modules of CAMM thereby enabling the existing 48 cells to be reserved for the Aster-30 which has relatively longer range. This upgrade indicates a significant rise in firepower for the destroyer. With the arrival of this news, some of us started wondering whether the same principle is applicable to INS Kolkata. This article aims to explore such a possibility as pragmatically as possible.

What is similar between INS Kolkata and Type 45?

Whenever one tries to make a comparison between two warships, it is highly important that both of them are of same category. This means similar values of displacement, similar values of major dimensions, as much convergences in the installed propulsion, overall layout and similarities in armaments and weapons payload. The following tables and figures highlight the similarities.

ParticularINS KolkataType 45
Displacement74008400Long Tons
Length (L)163152.4m
Beam (B)17.421.2m
Draught (T)6.57.4m
Block Coefficient (CB)0.390.34
Credit: Alpha Defense

The overall particulars indicate that INS Kolkata has relatively less beam with respect to Type 45 although its length is higher. Slenderness wise, INS Kolkata is relatively more than Type 45. When it comes to VLS systems, deck space is the deciding factor. A comparative study of the ship profile and a rough prediction of the deck arrangement will serve vital to arriving at a realistic conclusion. Before that let us look at the existing missile systems on both these warships.

MissilesINS KolkataRangeType 45Range
Anti-air 32 cell Barak-8 VLS0.5 km to 90 km48 cell (mix of Aster-15 and Aster-30)1.7 km –  120 km
Anti-ship16 cell Brahmos VLS500 km+ ; Mach 3 supersonic8 Harpoons280 km;subsonic
2 Sea Eagle (1 x Sea King)100 km4 Sea Venom (1 x Wildcat HMA2; 2022 onwards)20 km; subsonic
20 Martlet SSM(1 x Wildcat HMA2; 2021 onwards)8 km; Mach 1.5
Naval Gun1 x 76 mm Oto Melara SRGM16 km to 40 km (based on round)1 x BAE 4. in Mark 827.5 km
Close range Defence4 x AK-630 CIWS4 km2 x Phalanx CIWS3.6 km
2 x Oerlikon 30 mm guns3.5 km to 5 km
Anti-submarine4 x Mark 46 Torpedo11 km; 40 knot2 x Sting Ray torpedo ( 1 x Wildcat HMA2)11 km; 45 knot
4 x Whitehead A244S Torpedo13.5 km; 30-39 knot4 x Sting Ray torpedo (1 x Merlin HM2)11 km; 45 knot
4 x Mk 11 Depth Charges4 x Mk 11 Depth charges
2 x Twin 533 mm Torpedo launchers2 x Twin Torpedo launchers
2 x RBU-6000 anti-sub rockets5.5 km
Italicized indicates either one of them is possible at any given time. Apart from these, machine guns are also mounted for LIMO. Credit : Alpha Defense

One can observe that the payload configuration of INS Kolkata has a preference to long range anti-ship missile given the significant advantage Brahmos offers whereas Type 45 has focussed more on anti-air Aster missiles. The option of using a Wildcat HMA2 instead of Merlin HM2 does give it a helo based anti ship capability but that would be at the expense of having minimal anti-submarine capability. Similar can be said about Sea Kings on INS Kolkata. Hence INS Kolkata and Type 45 provide a large flexibility of choosing the loadout based on the mission requirement.

Challenges for VL-SRSAM on INS Kolkata

Considering the above inferences, addition of Sea Ceptor CAMM on Type 45 will enhance it’s close range (upto 25 km) anti-air capabilities. VL-SRSAM based on Astra Mark 1 is planned for service in the Indian Navy by 2022 as a replacement to the Barak-1 PDS. VL-SRSAM has operational range of 20 km to 25 km. Clearly from a role perspective, it will provide INS Kolkata close range anti-air capability. However many question arises:

  1. Adding a new system requires space. Does INS Kolkata have that space? If yes, how many can be added?
  2. If there is no space, which existing payload can be replaced and by what quantity?
  3. How much will the displacement, the draught, stability characteristics, seakeeping performance and propulsive requirement change in either of these cases?

The last question is a very technical topic and it shall be covered upon in depth on our English YouTube channel eventually. Coming to question 1, does INS Kolkata have space?. Well it is known now that MBDA will be adding the Sea Ceptor CAMM missile VLS right in front of the 48 cell VLS of Asters.

Sea Ceptor on Type 45

A cutaway section of Type 45 Destroyer by Alex Pang. Source : https://www.amazon.com/Royal-Navy-Type-Destroyer-Manual/dp/0857332406 (Prof. Jonathan Gates, the author)

This turret chamber of the gun is roughly denoted by the Yellow paint on the deck. However notice that there is sufficient space for a 24 cell VLS of Sea Ceptor due to the less space occupied by the naval gun.

Space for 24 cell Sea Ceptor CAMM. Label added by Alpha Defense. Source : https://www.seaforces.org/marint/Royal-Navy/Destroyer/Daring-Type-45-class.htm

Now let us try doing a similar analysis on INS Kolkata.

VL-SRSAM on INS Kolkata

The Oto Melara SRGM used on INS Kolkata is also one such gun that occupies less space somewhat like the BAE 4 in Mark 8.

76 mm Oto Melara SRGM assembly. It can be seen space utilisation is minimized. Source : https://twitter.com/strategic_front/status/1289765412528250881?lang=en

And hence, from the below shown bird’s eye view of INS Kolkata, it can be reasonably said with some level of confidence that there seems to be extra space for VL-SRSAM. Astra Mk1 has almost similar length and diameter as CAMM. Hence the space needed for Astra VL-SRSAM will be more or less same as that needed by Sea Ceptor.

Possible space for 24 cell VL-SRSAM between Barak-8 VLS and Brahmos VLS. Source : https://medium.com/indo-pacific-geomill/indian-navy-kolkata-class-destroyers-d39fad8662e0

INS Kolkata is a warship well designed and developed to incorporate upcoming indigenous missile systems. With further VLS on INS Kolkata, it will be more deadlier and a force to reckon with.

-ALPHA DEFENSE

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By Alpha Defense

Alpha Defense initially a solo venture but now a defense group by people from various demographics of India covering defense news and updates. We believe in unbiased analysis of every subject in hand. Our mission is to provide simplfiied defense information to the public.

13 thoughts on “INS Kolkata with VL-SRSAM – a possibility?”
  1. If VLSRSAM missile is smaller in diameter it can be integrated like barak 1 which can accomodate 32 missiles with just 2 launcher modules.
    While VLSRSAM is not only a SRSAM as speculated range is around 50km which falls in the league of shitil SAM which is MRSAM , therefore it’s integration will help IN ships to have layered AD system.

  2. I think that they should quad pack anti air missiles with the existing brahmos launch canister and also integrate a missile which has anti ballistic missile capabilities.This will not only save space but will also reduce crew required for command and information centre.

  3. 1) can we not remove the two RBU anti submarine missile launchers and use that extra space for extra vrsam,barak 8 , smart torpedo missile , brahmos and other missiles based in requirement.

    1. Smart won’t make sense for a ship based system.
      It should be miniaturised for integration on the current vls that brahmos is integrated with. And RBU is not really useful agains any current threat it is not guided and has a max range just about 4km, removing it can add more space where UVLS or SAM system can be integrated.

  4. I’m still not able to understand the purpose of Kamorta class corvettes. Its double the size of Israeli corvettes, 5 times displacement of Swedish Visby class… and yet weapons are less than a cost guard vessel.
    What exactly is purpose of kamorta corvettes other than to accomodate a company size unit ?

    1. The issue is IN has a lack of variety offensive or defencive weapons , the RBU modules if removable can add space for 8 UVLS which possibly could hold miniaturised version of SMART missile , while is has space provided for a SAM system where the ew suite is being integrated.

        1. It can be possible but then it would require a redesign of ship bridge and command and information centre and to integrate UVLS for SAM missile or BrahMos missile the modification would go up to keel of ship which would be preety expensive and the ship’s command and information centre is already fixed for a particular VLS count and cannot be refurbished further

    2. lol..u said kamorta class (3300 ton displacement) hv less weapon than coast guard vessel. really?? kamorta hv 16 VLS, where they can fit 16 barak 8 or 32 VLSRAM. due to its bigger size it hv 6000 km range. mainly its role is ASW (anti submarine warfare). coast guard vessels dont hv VLS nd torpedo tubes. neither they hv karmota level radars. but yes navy is building 16 missile boats (700 ton), after that i think we should make six SAAR 6 class corvette, which is heavily armed. 🙏🙏

  5. When we have Barak 8 then what is the need of lesser range VL-SRSAM instead add more of Barak 8. If needed add LR-SAM or MR-SAM.

  6. Kolkata Class Destroyers have 4 AK 630 CIWS in total. That is way too much in my opinion. Even two is a lot considering all modern destroyers have only one CIWS gun and fill the vacancy with missiles instead. Indian Navy should also do that. Two of the AK 630s can be removed and replaced with 16-cell VLS for a total of 32 VLS for short range sams (Barak 1 or VL-SRSAM) similar to way done in Shivalik class frigates.

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