Type 20 Mysore Class Cruisers
INC-Mysore.jpg

Ship Characteristics

Dimensions Length 568.4
Beam 61 ft
Draft 28.5 feet
Displacement 10,160 tons
Performance Speed (max) 32 knots
Speed (cruising) 20 knots
Endurance 7,000 nm @ 20 knots
Armament Guns 8 4.5 inch L50 Mark 6*, 16 37mm
Missiles 16 Sagarika Anti-ship
Torpedoes 10 21"

Background

Throughout the 1950s, the Indian Navy's primary prestige unit had been its "Flying Squadron", the three battlecruisers acquired as part of its Imperial Gift. These served until late into the 1950s but even as early as the middle of that decade, their replacement was becoming urgent. In 1953 India had set up a joint venture between Brahmaputra Electronics and the Russian Chelomei Armaments Company. The new company, Brahmos, was awarded a contract to develop a new anti-ship missile system for the Indian Navy. What emerged was a powerful multi-role system called Sagarika. The basic Sagarika missile was a long-range anti-ship missile that had a rocket booster with two ramjets to provide cruise power. It had a range of 250 miles at Mach 1.9 and delivered a 2,200 pound explosive warhead to its target, Guidance was by command up to a terminal point 50 miles from its target and then by active radar guidance. Sagarika had a remarkably efficient launch system, being held in a cylindrical contained, its wings unfolding on launch.

Two other versions of Sagarika were developed. One was a short-range anti-ship missile that had its range reduced to 50 miles but carried a 4,400 pound warhead and made its run at Mach 2.1. The other was a land-attack version that was designed to deliver a warhead to a specific industrial or military target. This was, of course, a give-away that India had a nuclear weapons development program. Although the Indians would not formally test a nuclear device until 1962, it is widely known they had functioning weapons of this type in their arsenals at least three years earlier. Be that as it may, the Project 20 Mysore class was built around Sagarika.

As information on the new cruisers slowly trickled out, the apparent details gave rise to much confusion. Three hulls had been laid down, one at Hindustan, one at Karachi and one at Goa. The ships were obviously much larger than any of the other new ships under construction yet appeared to carry essentially the same armament. There was some speculation that they were helicopter carriers, others that they were amphibious assault ships. These questions were not resolved until the lead ship of the class, Mysore, commissioned in 1962. The ship was brought to life, in the traditional manner, the crew parading alongside, then doubling on board. As they did so, smoke started to trickle from the funnels, the radar started to rotate and the guns train and elevate. Then, there was a whine and the two massive quadruple launchers for Sagarika elevated out of the ship's hull into firing position. The crowd erupted into wild cheering and the Chipanese military attache looked very unhappy.

Displacing 10,250 tons, the Mysore had the standard gun armament of eight 4.5 inch Mark 6* guns in four twin turrets and 16 37mm guns. She carried two quadruple launchers for Sagarika missiles, one forward, one aft. These were mounted on elevators and were retracted into the hull for reloading. A complete set of eight reloads was carried in armored hangars within the hull. The radar system was complex and carried on two massive pyramid masts. The Sagarika guidance complexes were prominent on these; the air-sea search radars at the top of the mast tracked the targets while the guidance radars on the face of mast tracked the missiles. A computer system inside the ship made the two tracks merge. The problem with this system was that each missile guidance radar could only handle a single missile; with four such radars, the Mysore class cruisers could fire Sagarikas in salvos of four.

Later in their careers, the Mysores were modernized, losing their 37mm guns and torpedo tubes but gaining four quadruple MOG missile launchers and four twin 35mm BOER guns. In their latter days, they have been eclipsed by the Indian Navy's new battlecruisers but they still served the fleet well as training ships. Mysore herself, of course, became a legend in the Indian Fleet when she built on Hood's example at the Pescadores Incident.

Class Members

Name Ordered Laid Down Launched Commissioned Fate
Mysore 1953 1955 1959 1962
Punjab 1953 1955 1959 1962
Kashmir 1953 1955 1959 1963
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