Weapons

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CHAPTER 18

WEAPONS

PREAMBLE

The variety and technology of the new weapons that entered service between 1965 and 1975 significantly raised the Navy's weapon capability. This chapter describes weapon developments under five headings:

  • The New Weapons
  • Weapon Maintenance
  • Naval Armament Service
  • Naval Armament Inspection
  • Weapon Acceptance Trials and Work Up

THE NEW WEAPONS

Surface Warfare

Until 1967, the Navy's mindset regarding surface warfare was totally "gun" oriented. The effectiveness of Russian anti-ship missiles surprised the world with the sinking of an Israeli frigate during the 1967 Arab Israel War. This led to the Navy's acquiring missile boats from Russia.

Acquaintance with the capabilities of Russian missiles, combined with the damage that the missile boats caused during their attacks on Karachi harbour in the 1971 Indo Pakistan War, led to a review of future weapon fitment for surface warfare.

It was clear that heavy guns had been superceded by anti-ship missiles. It was equally clear that small missile boats could not decide a battle in mid-ocean, where operations at long distances from shore required not only endurance and sea keeping qualities, but also a multi role configuration to counter submarines. The future seemed to lie in retrofitting anti- ship missiles in existing ships, having anti-ship missiles in new warships and, wherever possible, have anti aircraft missiles and high rate of fire small calibre guns to provide defensive capability against incoming enemy missiles.

By 1975:

(a) Discussions with the Russian side had clarified the grey areas regarding the feasibility of fitting a missile boat system in the British anti submarine frigates TALWAR and TRISHUL. An entire missile launcher-fire control suite had been removed from a non-operational missile boat and was being installed in TALWAR. TRISHUL was to be similarly fitted in her next modernisation refit.

(b) Likewise, an entire missile launcher-fire control suite had been removed from another non-operational missile boat, installed at the Naval Coast Battery Bombay and successfully test fired.

(c) Agreements had been signed for the acquisition from Russia of frigates and ocean-going rocket boats having anti ship and anti aircraft missiles and high rate of fire, small calibre guns for anti aircraft and anti missile defence.

(d) The design of the indigenous Project 16 GODAVARI class frigates, which would follow the sixth Leander, featured anti ship and anti aircraft missiles and high rate of fire guns, similar to those in the new guided missile frigates and ocean going rocket boats being acquired from Russia.

(e) A second squadron of longer endurance, improved missile boats had been acquired from Russia for coastal defence.

Anti Aircraft Warfare

From 1966 onwards, the Russian acquisitions brought in 25 mm, 30 mm and 76 mm high rate of fire, anti aircraft guns.

In 1972, the British Seacat, short range, anti aircraft missile entered service in the first Leander frigate, the NILGIRI. In 1973, it demonstrated its capability to shoot down a towed target. In 1974, the second frigate, HIMGIRI, demonstrated its capability to shoot down a pilotless target aircraft (PTA).

The Seacat missile soon presented the Gunnery world with a problem. Sailors who had already proved their proficiency as "Gun Layers", having good "hand-eye" coordination, were the obvious field from which to select Seacat aimers. During practice runs on the simulator and during Seacat firing practices, however, it soon became evident that this was not so. The Seacat was a radio command guided missile whose control was achieved by using the right thumb on a ball, moving it - up/down and left/right - to send commands to the missile and optically guide it on to the target in the aimers sight. What was actually required was "thumb-eye" coordination. It took time for the Gunnery branch to shed its elitist possessiveness of this new weapon and accept that "thumb-eye" coordination was an aptitude which had to be culled after testing sailors of all branches. Thereafter, they had to be given a Seacat Aimers badge and an allowance as an incentive to hone this skill.

Anti Submarine Warfare

The arrival by 1961 of the British anti submarine frigates TRISHUL, TALWAR, KHUKRI, KUTHAR and KIRPAN had increased the maximum sonar detection range from the earlier few hundred metres, to a few thousand metres; the range of their anti submarine weapons had increased from a few dozen metres to a few hundred meters.

The Pakistan Navy's acquisition of "silent" Daphne class submarines made it unlikely that they could be detected on passive sonars. The vagaries of hydrology in the Arabian Sea favoured the submarine because the temperature layers in the sea refracted a ship's sonar transmissions. The range of the Daphne's class submarine's latest homing torpedoes exceeded by far the maximum detection range and the weapon range of the Navy's anti submarine frigates. There was, therefore, a pressing need for longer range sonars, longer range homing torpedoes, and variable depth/dunking sonar which could overcome hydrological constraints.

The Russian Petyas which started arriving from 1968 onwards greatly increased anti submarine capability. Their medium range sonars had a maximum detection range of several thousand metres; their anti submarine rockets had a range of a few thousand metres and the range of their heavy, anti submarine, homing torpedoes matched that of their medium range sonars.

The arrival of the Seaking helicopters in 1971, with their dunking sonar and lightweight air dropped homing torpedoes further increased the Navy's anti submarine capability.

The first Leander frigate the NILGIRI was being fitted with a variable Depth Sonar and her propellers would have the Agouti system to minimise cavitation noise.

PROBLEM AREAS

The induction of this large number of technologically advanced fire control radars, sonars and weapons raised two problems areas regarding the overall responsibility for their combat readiness:

  • Should the overall responsibility of the ships weapon system continue to be with the "user" department as in the past or should it be shared with the Electrical Department's maintenance personnel?
  • Should the responsibility for a complete weapon like a missile or a torpedo continue to be with the armament supply organisation as in the past or shared with the Electrical Branch?

Since both fire control systems and weapons now had considerable electronic content, the Navy's Weapon Maintenance Policy and the Division of Responsibilities had to be revised.

Another problem area was the need to reduce the proliferation of gun calibres in service. By 1975, the position was expected to be:

Calibres Phasing Out  Calibres Still in Service New Calibres
British two pounder Oerlikon/Hispano  20 mm Russian 25 mm
Pom-poms Bofors 40/60 mm Russian 30 mm
British twelve pounders British 4 inch
British 4.5 inch
British 4.7 inch
British 6 inch
Russian 57 mm
Russian 76 mm

WEAPON MAINTENANCE

EVOLUTION OF RESPONSIBILITIES FOR WEAPON MAINTENANCE

From 1939 onwards, gun mountings on board used to be maintained by ordnance engineer officers and ordnance artificers who formed part of the Ships Engineering Department. The repair of radars, sonars, gyros, communication equipment and electrical instruments were the responsibility of the Electrical Department. The remaining parts of guns like barrels, breech blocks and recoil cylinders were maintained and repaired by the Armament Supply Organisation. Torpedoes were the responsibility of the Armament Supply Organisation, which had a Torpedo Engineering Shop located in the Naval Dockyard.

Until 1958, the Navy's weapons had been entirely of Second World War vintage :

  • For surface action, ships had manually operated, hand loaded, 12 pounder, 4 inch, 4.7 inch and 6 inch calibre guns.
  • For defence against aircraft, ships had manually operated, hand loaded, two pounder pom poms, Bofors 40/60 and Oerlikon 20 mm guns.
  • For anti submarine action, ships had short range anti submarine weapons like depth charges and hedgehogs, compatible with their short range sonars.

From 1958 onwards, the eight new British frigates of post war design ushered in analogue computers and gyro stabilised fire control systems, together with remotely controlled, semi-automatic, longer range weapons. On board ships, things were manageable when everything worked efficiently. When things did not work properly, the problem arose as to who was responsible. The statutary regulations unambiguously stipulated that single point responsibility and accountability for battle readiness vested in the Gunnery and the Torpedo Anti Submarine (TAS) officers. They were responsible to the Commanding Officer for the efficient performance of both men and equipment in battle. Officers and artificers trained in ordnance engineering and gun mounting hydraulics formed part of these departments. Now, with the increase in electronics and power electrics, responsibility and accountability became unclear. How could the Gunnery and TAS

Departments be accountable for problems in the electronic and electrical equipment of their weapon systems?

It was clear that major changes were necessary in sailors' trades and departmental responsibilities. Could the seaman user also do the electrical maintenance - if so, could seaman sailors be trained to understand electronics? Or was it better that the electrical maintainer become the user? If so, was it cost effected for electrical sailors to perform seamen duties? The 1967 Committee for the Reorganisation of the Sailors Structure (CROSS Committee) examined these issues. No satisfactory via media could be found to evolve a User-Maintainer concept.

In 1968, the responsibility for the "functional efficiency" of weapons was transferred to the Electrical Branch and a new designation of Weapon Maintenance Officer was introduced:

(a) The ships Electrical Officer, as the weapon maintainer, was made responsible to the Commanding Officer for the efficient functioning of weapon equipment. The Weapon Maintenance Officer, where provided, was made responsible to the Electrical Officer for the efficient upkeep of weapon systems and the custody of spare gear and test equipment required for the maintenance of Gunnery and TAS equipment. The Weapon Maintenance Officer was to keep the Gunnery and TAS Officers informed of the state of serviceability of their respective weapon systems for operation and firing.

(b) The Gunnery and TAS officers, as the users of the weapons, remained responsible for the custody and accounting of the Gunnery and TAS equipment fitted on board, naval armament stores, diving equipment and minesweeps, as applicable.

This division of responsibility was recognised to be fragile but no better solution could be found.

The arrival of the Russian acquisitions from 1968 onwards imposed unforeseen strains on the Weapon Maintenance Policy which had just been promulgated:

  • The design and technology of Russian electronics and power electrics differred from that of the British. Russian weapons had greater automation, longer ranges and higher rates of fire.
  • Russian ships were crammed with electronic and electric equipment. The cramped spaces imposed limits on the maintenance and repair that could be done on board.
  • Russian ships did not have enough bunks to accomodate the Indian Navy's separate Seaman Branch weapon users and separate Electrical Branch weapon maintainers.

These difficulties were compounded by the lack of Russian maintenance and repair facilities in Visakhapatnam which took time to be set up. When all this combined with the compulsions mentioned elsewhere, like "Need to Know", rotation of personnel, and lack of spare parts, the shortfalls in the "functional efficiency" of Russian weapon systems became a cause for serious concern.

In contrast, the weapon spaces in the Leander class frigates were more spacious and enough bunks had been provided to meet the needs of the Navy's sailor trade structure of seperate users and separate maintainers. Moreover, Bombay being the main base of the Navy, the development of weapon maintenance facilities in Bombay had kept abreast of the inductions.

EVOLUTION OF WEAPON MAINTENANCE FACILITIES IN BOMBAY

In 1959, the Weapon Control Repair Shop (WECORS) was sanctioned for the repair of the gunnery and anti submarine fire control systems. WECORS developed in phases:

  • Phase 1 was completed in 1966 and enabled the repair of fire control equipment and gyros of all weapon systems in the new British frigates.
  • Phase 2 was completed in 1971 and enabled the repair of the heavy mountings in these frigates.

In 1965, it was decided that except for those functions looked after by the Armament Supply Organisation, all the repair work carried out by the different departments of the Dockyard on weapon systems and associated gunnery and electronic equipment should be combined. A separate Weapons Department was formed as part of the Industrial Manager's Department. Like the Constructor, Engineer and Electrical departments, the Weapon Department was headed by the Assistant Industrial Manager Weapons (AIMW) to administer the WECORS (then under construction), and the Gun Mounting Depot and the Torpedo Engineering Workshops. In August 1968, the Gun Mounting and Torpedo Depots at Bombay were combined and redesignated as the Weapons Equipment Depot (WED) Bombay under the AIM(W).

Apart from the maintenance of weapons system on board ships, the Weapons department of the Electrical Branch was involved in the following activities:

(a) The development and laying of deep and shallow degaussing ranges. Degaussing helped to minimize the magnetic influence of ships hulls and thereby decrease the likelihood of their triggering magnetic mines.

(b) The repair, in conjunction with INPL Cochin, of sonar transducers.

(c) Setting up calibration ranges for anti submarine mortars and carrying out calibrations.

(d) Testing and repairing buoyant minesweeping cables.

(e) Indigenous manufacture by Indian agencies of Leander gun mountings and anti submarine mortars in collaboration with the principals in Britain.

(f) Development of an underwater noise range.

(g) Repair of diving equipment.

(h) Modification of sonar domes.

(j) The half-life "strip and rebuild" of electronic weapon systems after approximately twelve years of service.

THE NAVAL ARMAMENT SERVICE

The Naval Armament Service had its beginning in 1932 with the formation of the Royal Indian Marine. A small Royal Naval Armament Depot was started in Bombay at Butcher Island, manned entirely by British civilians. In 1933, the entire British staff were transferred to the British naval base at Trincomalee in Ceylon. The needs of the Indian Navy were met by the Indian Army Ordnance Corps, who established a small group in the Naval Dockyard and at Butcher Island.

Developments During the Second World War 1939 to 1947

In 1940, the Admiralty deputed a senior Royal Naval Armament Service officer to India, to advise on the possibility of setting up a Naval Armament Supply (NAS) organisation in India. In September 1941, the first NASO (India) was appointed in Bombay.

After the British surrender at Singapore in February 1942 and the British Navy's withdrawal from Trincomalee, a large number of Indian subordinate officers and senior supervisors from the Naval Armament Depots (NADs) at Singapore and Trincomalee moved to Bombay. With this experienced staff and the storage accomodation readily available in Butcher Island, the NAD Bombay expanded overnight. NASO Bombay operated directly under the Admiralty in Britain to meet the needs of the British Eastern and Pacific Fleets. In addition to the NAD at Butcher Island, mine issuing and armament store issuing ships were based in Bombay. The first Indian NASO was appointed in 1944, but for all practical purposes, the NAD was run by the Director of Armament Supply (DAS) at the Admiralty and under the Deputy DAS in Colombo.

In preparation for the offensive against Japan, small armament depots were opened at Karachi, Cochin, Madras, Visakhapatnam, Calcutta and Chittagong. Bulk naval armament stores were kept at the inland Army Depot at Phulgaon. A Director of Armament Supply (India) was appointed in 1945. After the end of the war, all the small depots were closed down in 1946, except for Visakhapatnam where the Navy moved into the Transit Depot vacated by the Army. The British Navy's Torpedo Depot in Bombay was handed over to the RIN's Armament Supply Organisation in 1946.

The main problem during 1946 had been the closure of armament depots and the disposal and redistribution of surplus ammunition. To this was added, in 1947, the problem of division of assets at the time of partition.

DEVELOPMENTS FROM 1948 to 1965

By 1948, the Navy's expansion plans had crystallised. From 1949 onwards, the development of the NAS organisation concentrated on three main activities:

  • Building up the NAS cadres of officers and supervisory staff.
  • Building new NADs to accomodate the war reserves and practice requirements of ammunition for the ships being acquired from Britain.
  • Building up in the NADs the capability and capacity to refurbish explosive items and conserve foreign exchange.

BUILDING UP THE NASO CADRES

From 1949 onwards, batches of officers and senior supervisors started being sent to Britain for training. By 1951, they were able to relieve most of the Admiralty's British staff in India. The last British DAS left in 1955.

In the 1950's, the first batch of NASOs having mechanical and electrical engineering degrees was recruited to man the NADs. On joining, they underwent a year's technical training on naval armament activities. In 1966, to attract better talent, NASOs started being inducted through the Union Public Service Commission's annual Engineering Service Examination. The response was short of expectations. In 1975, approval was accorded to constitute a separate service for NASOs as a recognised cadre known as the Indian Naval Armament Service.

BUILDING THE NEW NAVAL ARMAMENT DEPOTS (NADs)

BOMBAY

In 1952, the old NAD at Butcher Island had to be vacated to make way for the construction of an oil terminal jetty. Tankers bringing crude oil to feed the new oil refineries being established near Trombay would secure to this jetty.

Karanja was selected as the site for the new NAD. Since it would take time for it to come up, an interim NAD needed to be found. The vacation by the Army of its Transit Ammunition Sub Depot at Trombay was fortuitious. Trombay was connected by rail and road with Kurla and the disused Coastal Forces pier at Cheetah Camp was revived. The movement of stores to Trombay started in 1952 and was completed by 1953, whereafter it became NAD Bombay.

During these years, the NAS Organisation had two wings. The NAD Bombay, stored the ammunition and mines. The NASO's section, located inside the Naval Dockyard, looked after the Torpedo Depot, took wear measurements of barrels, replaced weapon barrels when necessary and maintained and repaired weapon parts like breach blocks and recoil cylinders. It also served as the front office for liaising with ships regarding ammunitioning and de- ammunitioning.

The construction of the NAD Karanja was implemented in phases. It started being occupied in 1959 and continued expanding thereafter to store the ammunition of the new British frigates.

In 1961, the arrival of the aircraft carrier VIKRANT brought with it large holdings of bombs, rocket and gun ammunition. All these were stowed in the NAD Karanja and older holdings were distributed to the NAD's at Trombay, Alwaye and Visakhapatnam.

It was intended that ships go alongside a new jetty at Karanja which would have sufficient depth for ships to secure alongside and embark/disembark ammunition. During its construction, however, the jetty was afflicted by such severe siltation that its dredging became prohibitive in cost. Various schemes were examined to make the jetty usable but to no avail. Ships anchored in ammunitioning berths in the vicinity of the jetty and barges ferried the ammunition between the jetty and these berths.

Visakhapatnam

Until the Russian acquisitions started arriving in 1966, there were no combatant ships based in Visakhapatnam. The Transit Depot which had been taken over in 1946 had been converted into a NAD and was being used as a storage depot.

After China's attack in 1962, there was a major drive for self reliance in the production of components required to repair and refurbish ammunition. Since anti aircraft, time mechanical fuzes had to be refurbished every seven years, a Fuze Reconditioning Shop was established to recondition these fuzes. This shop also manufactured and assembled the fuzes for anti submarine mortars.

Cochin/Alwaye

The construction of the NAD Alwaye commenced in 1953. With the build up of the training schools at Cochin, there was a steady increase in musketry and small arms firing. In 1957, a detachment of the NAD was established inside the naval base to repair small arms. A full fledged NAD with magazines and armament workshops was inaugurated in 1958. Thereafter:

  • it supplied the Gunnery School's Naval Battery at Fort Cochin with ammunition for seaward firing practices and
  • it was made responsible for meeting the needs of all Naval NCC Units for small arms and small arms practice ammunitiion.

Goa

The NAD at Goa started in 1963. After INS HANSA and the Seahawks moved to Goa in 1964, the NAD was expanded in phases.

BUILDING UP SELF RELIANCE

From 1952 onwards, emphasis had been laid on attaining self sufficiency in the indigenisation of naval armament stores. The Navy's bulk requirements of cartridge cases, shells, cordite and shell fillings were projected to the Ordnance Factory Board for inclusion in the annual production plans. It took some time for the Naval Armament Inspection Organisation to establish itself and for the Ordnance factories to become familiar with the Navy's special requirements. By 1965, production had been established for the Navy's bulk requirements.

A vexed problem however was the non-availability of components for repairing ammunition. The requirements were too small to make their production economically worthwhile, either for the Ordnance Factories or for private firms. The armament workshops being set up in the new NADs were therefore provided the wherewithal to undertake the production of such components.

After 1962, when even greater emphasis was placed on self reliance, the NAD workshops were further augmented to undertake the manufacture of a larger number of components for subsequent assembly and filling.

By 1969, the indigenous manufacture of the older conventional armaments had been established and production was being farmed out to the civil sector. This enabled the NAD workshops to concentrate on the proof and evaluation of older ammunition to extend its life.

DEVELOPMENTS AFTER 1965

From 1966 onwards, homing torpedoes, anti submarine rockets and gun ammunition for the Russian acquisitions started arriving at the NAD Visakhapatnam. From 1970 onwards, anti ship missiles and gun ammunition started arriving in Bombay for the Russian missile boats. In 1971, homing torpedoes arrived in Bombay for the Seaking helicopters. In 1972, Seacat surface to air missiles entered service with the frigates of the Leander project. Within a short space of five years, the technology level of naval armaments rose sharply. In its wake, there followed the problem of division of responsibility for homing torpedoes and guided missiles.

Homing Torpedoes

The responsibility for the preparation for firing of Russian torpedoes was entrusted to the Weapons Department. The remaining activities remained with the Armament Supply Organisation. In the case of the British MK 44 torpedoes, the entire responsibility was that of DAS. However, in 1974, the responsibility for the preparation of Russian torpedoes was handed over to the Armament Supply Organisation.

Guided Missiles

In the case of the Russian missiles, the responsibility for non-integrated missiles was given to the Weapons department of the Electrical Branch, except for the warhead and the explosive components which remained with DAS. Integrated Russian missiles and Seacat missiles were made the responsibility of DAS.

Responsibility for Explosive Handling in Commercial Ports

The Navy's Armament Supply Organisation has the sole responsibility for supervising all defence and commercial explosive handling activity in the ports of India.

NAVAL ARMAMENT INSPECTION

DEVELOPMENTS UNTIL 1965

Prior to the formation of the Naval Armament Inspection (NAI) Organisation in India, the naval armament stores received from Britain used to be inspected by local Army Ordnance authorities on behalf of the Navy.

In 1949, when it was decided to set up a Naval Armament Stores Organisation, it was decided also to set up an NAI organisation. In 1950, a British Army Ordnance officer came on deputation from Britain to head the NAI Department. Along with him came British civilian technical officers.

Between 1949 and 1960, there were four British naval Captains who came on deputation as Directors of Naval Armament Inspection (DNAI). During the same period, thirteen Indian NAI officers underwent the Assistant Inspector of Naval Ordnance course in Britain. After 1960, Indian officers became DNAIs and the initial training of NAI officers was conducted at the Institute of Armament Technology (IAT) near Pune, conjoined with the Army's Technical Staff Course.

The duties of NAIOs, in conjunction with NASOs where appropriate, were to:

(a) Inspect all new ammunition and armament stores manufactured by the Ordnance Factories and by private trade for compliance with acceptance standards and conformance to specifications.

(b) Periodically inspect all ammunition and armament stores in service stored in the NADs and select representative samples for proof firing to confirm that they remained safe and fit for operational use.

(c) Investigate misfires/failures and initiate/promulgate remedial action.

(d) Inspect modifications to existing weapons and ammunition.

(e) Periodically inspect all gun barrels and launcher tubes on board ships to ensure their accurate and reliable functioning.

Senior Inspectors of Naval Armament were positioned at Bombay and Visakhapatnam. As indigenous production picked up, Naval Armament Inspectorates were established at places wherever naval ammunition was being manufactured. In addition, NAI wings were posted at the IAT Pune and the proof firing establishment at Balasore.

DEVELOPMENTS AFTER 1965

With the induction of guided missiles and homing torpedoes in the Russian acquisitions and the Leander Frigate Project, it became necessary to enhance the technical knowledge of NAIOs. In 1968, a separate post graduate Naval Technical Staff Course commenced at the IAT Pune. In 1978, the shortage of volunteers from the Executive Branch led to the introduction of the Direct Entry Scheme for the NAI Cadre. The educational qualifications prescribed were a degree in mechanical/electrical/electronic/ engineering or a post graduate degree in physics or electronics.

The responsibilities of NAIOs also diversified:

  • Indigenisation Cells were set up in Visakhapatnam and Bombay to prepare the drawings and specifications for and to inspect the indigenous manufacture of perishable and critical components of Russian and Western weapons.
  • Calibration Labs were set up in Visakhapatnam and Bombay to calibrate imported, special to type, measuring equipment.
  • Special targets were produced to test and evaluate imported and indigenous proximity fuzes at the Proof and Experimental Establishment at Balasore.
  • Inspections were undertaken of all repaired/refurbished guided missiles, homing torpedoes and mines.

NAIOs were also associated with the R&D and the indigenisation programmes to:

  • Improve the capabilities of homing torpedoes and refurbish homing torpedoes in stock.
  • Indigenise anti submarine rockets.
  • Improve the capabilities of mines.
  • Indigenise practice missile warheads.
  • Inspect and test imported weapons at their place of manufacture before despatch to India.

WEAPON ACCEPTANCE TRIALS AND WORK UP

WEAPON ACCEPTANCE TRIALS

By the end 1960s/early 1970s, it was clear that given the pace at which new weapons were being inducted and the inescapable lag in setting up the maintenance facilities ashore, some way had to be found of ensuring that weapon systems were combat worthy. It was decided to adopt the British Navy's system, whereby the weapon systems of refitted ships were systematically checked by an Acceptance Trials Team, independent of the Dockyard and the ship. There was opposition. The reasoning was that since the organisational constraints were known, nothing was going to be achieved by harping on the maintenance/repair shortcomings in weapon systems. The opposite point of view was that user personnel had no hope of acquiring any practical firing experience on their weapon systems if the systems were not working properly.

The acceptance trials of the NILGIRI showed how imperative the trials were. Eventually, by end 1975, the first elements of the much debated Harbour Acceptance Trial (HATS), Sea Acceptance Trials (SATS), Warship Acceptance Trial Team (WATT) and Warship Workup Organisation (WWO) were in place. The procedure was:

  • During HATS, critical parameters were checked against laid down schedules and parameters.
  • During SATS, the weapon system accuracy was checked in firing practices. Air target requirements were met by the Target Towing Dakotas based in Cochin. Surface target requirements were met by local ships (tugs/LSTs/coastal minesweepers) towing Pattern II targets and the heavier Battle Practice Targets (BPTs). Moored triplane targets were used to check sonar accuracy. Mortars were calibrated on a special range. On completion of Acceptance Trials, shortcomings were rectified before commencing workup.

WORKUP

The concept of Workup was that on the satisfactory completion of all weapon, radar and communication Sea Acceptance Trials by the Warship Acceptance Trials Team, the systematic work up of every ship for combat readiness should follow a progressive, logical sequence:

  • After a refit, a ship should shakedown off her base port. This shakedown was to be conducted by the Commanding Officer, assisted by Squadron/Fleet staff.
  • After shakedown, the ship should commence basic work up with suitable targets under the supervision of the Warship Workup Team.
  • After basic workup, the ship should participate in multi unit tactical work up with other ships, submarines and helicopters under the supervision of the Fleet Commander and assisted by the Warship Workup Team.
  • On successful completion, each ship would carry out weapon firing practices as laid down in the relevant manuals and participate in tactical and Fleet exercises.

It took several years for the concept to take root.

DEVELOPMENTS AFTER 1975

NEW WEAPONS

Air to surface missiles entered service with the Sea Harrier aircraft and the improved Seaking helicopters.

Longer range anti ship and anti aircraft missiles entered service with the guided missile frigates and the ocean going rocket boats.

Longer range anti submarine rockets and better long range homing torpedoes entered service with the new guided missile frigates.

Better short range homing torpedoes entered service with the new Kamov and Seaking helicopters.

Better long range homing torpedoes entered service with the new Russian and German submarines.

WEAPON MAINTENANCE

  • Designations. In 1976, the designation of Assistant Industrial Manager (Weapons) was changed to Manager Weapons. In 1981, the designation changed to General Manager Weapons.
  • WECORS Bombay. Phase 1, commissioned in 1966 had been established to repair the fire control systems of the British frigates. Phase 2, commissioned in 1970 had been established to repair their gun mountings. Phase 3 was established in the mid 1970s to repair British and Dutch fire control systems of the Leander class frigates. Phase 4 was established in the 1980s to repair the fire control systems of the Russian Petyas, submarines and missile boats based in Bombay. In due course, Phase 4 was augmented to cater for the Russian guided missiles frigates, ocean going rocket boats and minesweepers, and the German SSK submarines.
  • Weapon Repair Shop Visakhapatnam. Phase 1 commissioned by 1972. The shop was augmented in phases to cater for the new Russian acquisitions.

NAVAL ARMAMENT DEPOTS

Bombay. Over the years, the NAD Karanja concentrated on the preparation of sophisticated torpedoes and missiles. Torpedo repair activity was shared with Trombay.

Goa. The NAD expanded to accomodate the weapon needs of the Sea Harrier fighters, the TU 142 and IL 38 reconnaissance aircraft and the Kamov helicopters.

Visakhapatnam. The NAD expanded to accomodate the torpedoes of the new submarines. The repair activities of torpedoes were shared with Bombay.

Sunabeda. This new bulk storage NAD was established on the East Coast in 1988.

NAVAL ARMAMENT INSPECTION

After 1975, financial stringency compelled greater emphasis on extending the life of ammunition and expediting indigenisation. This necessitated the setting up of in-house test and evaluation facilities. Rubber test facilities came up at NAI Visakhapatnam. At NAI Karanja, sophisticated facilities were set up for testing the dynamic parameters of rocket motors and undertaking simulated sea trials of torpedo batteries.

In addition to its normal responsibilities, the NAI organisation

(a) diversified into research, design and development projects of armaments and explosives

(b) increased its involvement in developing indigenous equivalents of unavailable explosive items.

WEAPON ACCEPTANCE TRIALS AND WORK UP

The concept of Weapon Acceptance Trials gradually extended to machinery, particularly diesel engines and gas turbines. When the Naval Dockyard Visakhapatnam started undertaking major refits, Weapon Acceptance and Work Up Teams were established in Visakhapatnam on the same lines as in Bombay.

In the 1990's, Flag Officer Sea Training was established in Cochin to conduct the work up of all ships after major refit and identify the shortcomings in weapon and combat readiness for remedial action before they joined the respective Fleets.