Thursday, April 1, 2010

Indian Navy Delays Induction of New Stealth Frigate

The Indian Navy has once again deferred the induction of a new class of indigenously built stealth frigates, the latest in a series of delays stretching over five years.Once commissioned, the hard-to-detect warships will form a crucial component in India’s bid to build a blue-water navy capable of operating across oceans, defence analysts said. But the delays in induction reflect the need for “stronger political will” to carry the process through, analysts said.INS Shivalik, the first of 12 Shivalik-class vessels, will be commissioned “by the second week of April,” said Parvez Panthaky, spokesperson of Mazagon Dock Ltd, which is building the ship in Mumbai. “The commissioning date is being finalized with the navy.”

Two more Shivalik-class frigates, INS Satpura and INS Sahyadri, “will be commissioned within a few months of each other,” he said.In January, when a model of the 4,800-tonne INS Shivalik was showcased in the Republic Day Parade, the navy had announced that the ship would be commissioned in March. The project, envisaged way back in 1997, was initially scheduled for commissioning in 2005.Stealth frigates have advanced features designed to reduce a warship’s signature.“INS Shivalik has stealth features against radar and heat seekers,” a senior naval officer told Mint on condition of anonymity. “Its underwater signatures are also reduced through technical means.”

The navy already has three Talwar-class stealth frigates, bought from Russia. But the Shivalik-class vessels are being built entirely in India.Shivalik-class vessels have both air and anti-submarine capability and are fitted with a mix of Indian, Russian, Israeli and Western weapons. This includes Club anti-ship missiles, Shtil surface-to-air missiles, Barak air and missile defence systems and RBU 6000 anti-submarine warfare rockets. They will carry two advanced helicopters each.Powered by gas and diesel turbines, the ships are capable of speeds in excess of 30 knots (55.5km) per hour. The cost of building each ship will be close to Rs2,500 crore, the officer said...........................................Source

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