Second regiment of S-400 to arrive by year-end; India already gets simulators and training equipment

While delivery of the second regiment of S–400 long range air defence systems is likely to be delayed by a few months, Russia has assured India that it would deliver the two Talwar–class stealth frigates under construction there as per schedule, the first of which is scheduled to be delivered by mid–2023, defence sources said. Similarly, officials said they do not expect any delays in support and delivery of naval engines from the Ukrainian company, Zorya–Mashproekt.

“Russia said they can deliver the two frigates on time. They will make up for any delays,” a defence official said which was also reiterated by diplomatic sources.

On the S–400 deal, India has started receiving simulators and training equipment which is part of the $5.43–billion contract signed in October 2018 for five regiments of the long–range air defence system.

The second regiment is expected to arrive in India by year end, another official said. The first regiment which arrived last December has been deployed in Punjab and operationalised by the IAF.

Contract For Four Frigates

As per a 2016 Inter–Governmental Agreement (IGA), two stealth frigates are under construction in Russia under a $1–billion deal while two more are being built by the Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) under technology transfer. All the four frigates are powered by gas turbine engines from Zorya–Mashproekt of Ukraine.

A key factory of Zorya–Mashproekt in Mykolaiv was hit on March 13 in the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine and the visuals showing damage and thick smoke emanating from the facility has raised concerns that it may adversely impact the Navy. The Zorya factory is intact, defence officials said.

Zorya has delivered engines for the two frigates under construction in Russia which have been installed. The engines were delivered to India which sent them over to Russia. Engines for the two frigates being built by GSL are also ready and will be delivered as and when convenient, another official said.

As per schedule, the GSL is scheduled to deliver the first ship in 2026 and the second one six months later.

As reported last year, there is approximately an eight–month delay in the construction due to COVID–19 and the first of the two ships from Russia is scheduled to be delivered by mid–2023.

Officials said the Navy’s Marine Gas Turbine Overhaul Centre in Visakhapatnam, which handles repair and maintenance of the Zorya engines, can handle some of the load. Last November, Zorya and the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) announced a joint venture to partially localise components of the Zorya turbine engines. The status and progress on the JV is not known.

The Zorya’s engines power around 30 frontline warships including the Rajput–class destroyers, Delhi–class destroyers, missile corvettes and the six Krivak or Talwar class stealth frigates in–service in addition to the four follow on frigates.