Three Indian Navy personnel were killed and eleven injured in an explosion aboard INS Ranvir (D54) at the Naval Dockyard, Mumbai. The incident took place at 4.30 pm local time, on January 18. The deceased have been identified as Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO) First Class Krishan Kumar, MCPO Second Class Surinder Kumar and MCPO Second Class A K Singh.
The explosion occurred in an internal compartment on-board the destroyer. The cause of the explosion is currently unknown. The Navy stated that the ship’s crew responded immediately and brought the situation under control quickly. No major material damage has been reported. A board of inquiry has been ordered by the Navy.
The Mumbai Police has registered an accidental death case in connection with the incident. INS Ranvir had been on a cross-coast operational deployment from the Eastern Naval Command since November 2021. It was shortly due to return to its base port of Visakhapatnam, which is also the headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command.
The Indian Navy had commissioned its first destroyers, which were based on the Soviet Union’s Kashin class, in the 1980s. Five destroyers were inducted in two different classes. The first three vessels: Rajput, Rana and Ranjit formed the Rajput class. Ranjit and Rajput were decommissioned in 2019 and 2021 respectively. The last two vessels, Ranvir and Ranvijay, formed the Ranvir class. INS Ranvir was laid down in 1982 and commissioned in 1986. The 146m long vessels have a displacement of 5000 tons and are manned by a crew of 320.
The role of Rajput and Ranvir class ships involves anti-aircraft and anti-submarine warfare for carrier task force defence against submarines, low-flying aircraft, and cruise missiles. The two classes feature a diverse list of armament which involved a mix of BrahMos anti-ship missiles, Styx anti-ship missiles, M-1 Volna surface to air missiles, Barak 1 point defence missiles, close-in weapon systems, torpedoes and anti-submarine rocket launchers. Various helicopters can also operate from these destroyers. They were the first Indian Naval vessels to be armed with BrahMos missiles. While Rajput had 8 missiles in an inclined configuration, INS Ranvir and INS Ranvijay have an 8 cell universal vertical launcher.