India Navy to get 16 stealth frigates in 10 years (Lead)

April 21st, 2010 - 8:07 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 21 (IANS) The Indian Navy is to get 16 stealth frigates in the next 10 years, with 10 being built indigenously, three imported from Russia and another three on order, an officer said Wednesday.
The first indigenously-built stealth ship, INS Shivalik, will be commissioned April 29. The 6,000-tonne ship was built at Mumbai’s Mazagaon Docks Limited under Project 17. Two more such vessels - INS Satpura and Sahyadri - are under construction and are likely to be commissioned in the next one year.

The cost of each frigate is nearly Rs.2,300 crore. The stealth features prevent a ship from being easily detected by radar, reduce underwater radiated noise signatures and ensure infrared suppression.

The ship is fitted with state-of-the-art technology and bristles with a sophisticated system of radars and weaponry. Its armaments include the Klub surface-to-surface missiles and the Shtil and Barak air defence missiles, rocket launchers and indigenously designed sonar systems meant for detecting and attacking submarines.

Shivalik, which has a crew of 250, “is equipped with a judicious mix of Russian, Western and indigenous weapons and sensors. The indigenous effort accounts for over 60 percent of the ship’s cost,” Rear Admiral K.N. Vaidyanathan, director general (Naval Design), told reporters here.

“Besides design and construction, which is totally indigenous, the ship incorporates technologically advanced indigenous systems such as the integrated versatile console system, ship-wide data network and the jointly developed (with Russia) combat management system,” he added.

According to naval officers, the Shivalik class vessels will be the mainstay frigates of the Indian Navy in the first half of the 21st century.

The ships also have the indigenous Kavach chaff-dispensing system to counter incoming missiles, as also indigenous sonars and anti-submarine warfare systems.

Vaidyanathan pointed out that for the first time, an Indian Navy ship would be powered by combined diesel or gas (CODOG) technology. “The propulsion plant combines the long endurance of diesel propulsion with the high-power of the gas turbine for high speeds.”

He said designing is in an advanced stage of the Project 17A vessels, a follow on of the Shivalik class frigates with advanced weapons and sensor suites and improved stealth features. Seven such vessels will be built.

“Acceptance of necessity (AON) has been accorded in June 2009 for building seven ships of this class,” he added.

The Indian Navy operates three stealth frigates - Talwar, Trishul and Tabar - bought from Russia. Three more are being built in Russia and likely to be commissioned by next year. With the completion of Project 17A, the Indian Navy will have 16 stealth frigates in its fleet.

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