India’s first indigenous stealth frigate, INS Shivalik, has been inducted into the Indian Navy. INS Shivalik has arrived at Vishakapatnam and will now form part of the Eastern fleet under the Eastern Naval Command. The stealth frigate, INS Shivalik, was commissioned in April 2010 by the Indian Defence Minister A.K.Anthony at Mazagaon Dock Limited (MDL) and has now been inducted in Vishakapatnam. INS Shivalik is the first of the multi-role Project 17 stealth frigates being built for the Indian Navy.
The INS Shivalik will be commanded by Captain MD Suresh,a Navigation and Direction (ND) Specialist and manned by a crew of about 35 Officers and 250 sailors. INS Shivalik has been designed by Indian Naval Design Teams.
The INS Shivalik has a length of about 143 meters, a width of 17 meters and 6,100 tonne displacement. It is capable of doing speeds of over 30 Knots or 55 kilometres per hour. INS Shivalik can counter threat from any dimension during maritime warfare since its inbuilt thermal and acoustic stealth features reduce the probability of detection by the enemy. Another salient feature of the frigate is its Combat Management System which controls the Weapon-Sensor fit and facilitates seamless integration within the ship as also with the suites of the other fleet ships, thus enabling the concept of ‘Co-operative Engagement Capability’ (CES).
INS Shivalik also has a powerful weapon suite along with two multi-role helicopters on-board which will improve surveillance and attack. The frigate can also detect and engage surface, air and sub-surface targets at extended ranges. The ship also boasts of a Total Atmospheric Control System providing total defence against nuclear, biological and chemical attack.
According to Indian Navy, some of the major threats are under water, vis-à-vis enemy submarines. Hence, the INS Shivalik has emphasized on reducing noise wherever possible. It uses low-noise propellers, propulsion devices and machinery with ‘vibration damping’ to ensure this. Also, this type of warship may compromise a little on firepower compared to the larger frigates so that they can manoeuvre with greater ease. In addition, it cannot be easily detected since it has a ‘reduced’ radar, infra red and sound signature.
INS Shivalik belongs to the Shivalik class of frigates which will be the mainstay frigate of the Indian Navy in the first half of the 21st century. Two more warships of Shivalik class, INS Sayahdri and INS Satpura, are being fitted at MDL. More stealth warships are expected to be built under Project-17A.