New Delhi and Moscow could soon sign agreement to procure $2.2-billion stealth frigates deal -- Admiral Grigorovich-class (Project 11356) or advanced Talwar-class frigates

by Huma Siddiqui

New Delhi and Moscow could soon sign agreement to procure $2.2-billion stealth frigates deal — Admiral Grigorovich-class (Project 11356) or advanced Talwar-class frigates. Speaking to FE Online on condition of anonymity, senior naval officers confirmed that the agreement is expected to be inked in the next few weeks. After the recent India-Russia annual summit, FE Online had quoted sources who had said that there were certain issues that needed to be addressed including production of two frigates. Also, the payment could be through the rupee-rouble route.

The two frigates will be built at the Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL) as nominated by the government with technology transfer from the Russian shipyard, and the rest four will be bought directly from Yantar shipyard at Kaliningrad in Russia. Delivery is expected to begin within four years of signing the contract. Indigenous equipment including sensors and communications will be put on board the vessels which will be made in India.

Today, the navy operates six of the Talwar-class frigates, and the new ones when they come will be more advanced technologically and are expected to be fitted with the Indo-Russian BrahMos missile system instead of 3M-54E Klub-N anti-ship missiles. These new frigates are expected to add more strength to the Indian Navy in the Indian Ocean Region. The new frigates are armed with eight BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles instead of 3M-54E Klub-N anti-ship missiles.

Last week a section of the media had quoted Russian Ambassador to India Nikolay Kudashev as saying that the CAATSA will not be an impediment to Indo-Russia defence deals. He was referring to the deals related to frigates and Kalashnikov assault rifles which were not signed.

The CAATSA is a US federal law that imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea and Russia. In Russia’s case, the act primarily deals with sanctions on Russian interests such as its oil and gas industry, defence and security sector, and financial institutions.

The Indian Navy needs minimum 24 frigates and is dealing with a shortage of 10. There are around 75 different vessels that are waiting to be procured by the navy to deal with the increasing the strength from 140 to 198 by 2027.

According to Russian media reports, the ships of the Admiral Grigorovich-class are powered by M90FR gas turbines designed and built by Zorya-Mashproekt in Ukraine, the local industry there is in the process of designing an indigenous replacement for the Ukraine-made turbine engine. However, India is going to get the propulsion system directly from Ukraine.

The 3,620-ton Admiral Grigorovich-class is an upgraded variant of the six Talwar-class frigates that Russia built for the Indian Navy between 2003 and 2013. The first of three frigates, INS Teg and INS Tarkash were delivered to the Indian Navy in 2012 and the INS Trikand was delivered in 2013.