The Indian Navy will witness a significant leap in its fleet of stealth frigates with the induction of two of the Project-17 stealth frigate this year besides the induction of a Russian-built frigate as well. INS Satpura, the 6,200 tonne stealth frigate is to be commissioned by mid-2011 while the Russian-built 4,900-tonne INS Teg will be ready for induction by October. Besides this, the floating of another Russian frigate, INS Trikand for Indian Navy will also take place this week.
The first of these fresh stealth frigate commissioning will be of the INS Satpura, the second frigate of Project 17 stealth frigates constructed at the Mumbai-based Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL). Sources said that INS Satpura will be commissioned by July this year. After commissioning INS Satpura, which is the second of three indigenous stealth frigates under the $ 1.8 billion Project-17, INS Sahyadri will be commissioned about six months after that. The first of the P-17 frigate, INS Shivalik, was commissioned in April last year.
As for INS Teg, it is a part of the three Talwar-class (known as Krivak III class in Russia) guided missile frigates for the Indian Navy to be delivered by Russia. INS Teg is to be commissioned in November this year. In addition, INS Trikand, the third frigate being built by Russia, is being launched this week in the presence Indian and Russian defence officials in Russia. Russia’s Yantar shipyard was awarded a $1.6 billion contract in 2006 to build three modified guided missile frigates for the Indian Navy. Russia expects to deliver all three frigates to the Indian Navy in 2011-2012.
Speaking at a Naval Commander’s conference, Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma said that the induction of these stealth frigates will be tremendous boost to the combat worthiness of the Indian Navy. The stealth frigates INS Satpura and INS Teg will be equipped with sensors, weapons and missile systems besides other advanced technology to avoid detection by the enemy.
The Indian Navy presently operates three Talwar class frigates, namely INS Talwar, INS Tabar and INS Trishul, which were handed over to it by Russia in 2003-2004. The three new warships, INS Teg, INS Tarkash and INS Trikand, are actually a follow-on order to the first three frigates which were afflicted by routine delays and cost overruns and were inducted late in the Indian Navy.
The Talwar class of frigate designed by Russia accomplishes a host of missions besides performing he function of locating and destroying enemy submarines and large surface ships. It will also be armed with the 290 kilometre Brahmos supersonic cruise missiles. Each warship will also be equipped with a 100-mm gun, a Shtil air defence system, two Kashtan air defence gun/missile systems, two twin 533-mm torpedo tubes, and an anti-submarine warfare helicopter. The Indian Navy is satisfied with the Talwar-class frigates since it has a high weapon and sensor density, including eight vertical launch cells for the 'Klub-N' anti-ship and anti-submarine cruise missiles.