In exactly nine months from now, the first of the three additional Project 1135.6 guided-missile frigates (FFG) now being built for the Indian Navy (IN) in Russia will enter service, with the remaining two following a year later. The US$1.1 billion (Rs51.14 billion) contract for these three FFGs was inked on July 14, 2006, following which construction got underway at the Kaliningrad-based Yantar Shipyard JSC. The keel-laying ceremony for the first FFG--INS Teg (sabre) F-45--took place on July 27, 2007 and the vessel was launched on November 27, 2009. It is due to undergo her sea trials starting next April. Keel-laying for the second FFG--INS Tarkash (quiver) F-46—took place on November 27, 2007 and the vessel was launched on June 23 last year. Keel-laying for the INS Trikand (bow) F-50 took place on June 11, 2008 and it was due for launch at presstime.
Each of the three follow-on Project 1135.6 FFGs will have a length of 124.8 metres, beamwidth of 15.2 metres, full-load displacement of 4,035 tonnes, and a top speed of 30 Knots. The ship’s Crew compliment will be 220, including 28 officers. The FFGs will also be equipped with the Trebovaniye-M combat management system supplied by Russia’s Meridian Research and Production Enterprise JSC, and an integrated platform management system built by Russia’s Aurora Research and Production Association. Also fitted on board will be the TK-25E-5 integrated electronic warfare suite, four KT-216 decoy launchers, on-board communications suit supplied by India’s Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), four Danish 1mW Wartsila WCM-1000 generator sets with Cummins KTA50G3 engines and Kirloskar 1mV AC generators, Zorya/Mashproekt of Ukraine’s M7N.1E gas turbine propulsion system (comprising twin DS-71 cruise turbines and twin DT-59 boost turbines), plus German water purifiers.
Principal on-board sensors for each of the three FFGs will include one E-band Fregat M2EM circular scan radar for providing target indication to the Shtil-1 surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, a Ratep JSC 5P-10E Puma fire-control system (comprising a passive-phased array target tracking radar along with an optronic illuminator), one I-band Garpun-B long-range surface target acquisition radar, one I-band MR-212/201-1 radar for navigation, a Kelvin Hughes Nucleus-2 6000A marine navigation radar for short-range navigation and surface surveillance, a Ladoga-ME-11356 inertial navigation and stabilisation suite supplied by Elektropribor, four MR-90 Orekh target-illumination radars, and a BEL-made HUMSA Mk2 hull-mounted panoramic sonar. For visual-range engagements, the FFGs will each have a Arsenal JSC-built 100mm A-190(E) main gun and twin KBP Instrument Design Bureau-built Kashtan-M combined gun-missile close-in weapon systems. The principal on-board offensive weapon system will be the eight 290km-range BrahMos Aerospace Ltd-built BrahMos vertically-launched supersonic multi-role cruise missile (capable of both anti-ship strike and land attack) instead of the 220km-range Novator JSC-developed Club-N/3M54TE supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles now on board the IN’s first three Project 1135.6 FFGs--INS Talwar, INS Trishul and INS Tabar. The BrahMos’ shipborne fire-control system is a derivative of the 3R14N-11356 shipborne fire-control system, developed by Russia’s Agat Research & Production Enterprise, while the universal vertical-launch cells are being supplied by Larsen & Toubro.
For area air defence, the Dolgoprudny Research and Production Enterprise DNPP JSC, which is part of the Almaz-Antey Air Defence Concern, is supplying the vertical-launch version of the Shtil-1 SAM system, which will comprise thirty-six 9M317ME SAM rounds (containing within three 12-VL cells) developed by the Altair Naval Radio Electronics Scientific Institute Public Joint Stock Company, which is also a member of the Almaz-Antey Air Defence Concern. The 9M317ME SAMs can be fired at one-to-two-second intervals. The missile is 5.18 metres long and 360mm in diameter. Launch weight of the 9M317ME is 58kg. It is armed with a 62kg blast fragmentation warhead initiated by a dual-mode radar proximity fuze, or a contact fuze. The range is between 3.5km and -32 km, while the altitude coverage is from 5 metres up to 15km. The tail surfaces have a span of 820mm when deployed. After the missile leaves the vertical launcher, a spring mechanism unfolds the tail surfaces and four gas-control vanes operating in the motor efflux turn the missile towards the required direction of flight. Once this turnover manoeuvre is completed, the gas-control vanes are no longer used. Subsequent flight control is via moving tail surfaces. A dual-mode solid-propellant rocket motor provides the missile with a maximum speed of Mach 4.5. In-flight guidance is achieved via a combination of inertial and semi-active radar homing. Also on board each of the three FFGs will be an aft helicopter deck and a hangar for housing a Kamov Ka-28PL or Ka-31 helicopter, and two Pacific 22 MkI rigid inflatable boats (RIB) built by Halmatic, which is owned by the UK-based VT Group. The RIBs are powered by Cummins 4 BTA marine diesel engines rated at 150bhp at 2800 rpm coupled to a Sternpowr leg providing a service speed of 22 Knots.
In another development, Russia has offered India the export version of its new Project 22350 FFG in response to a Request for Information (RFI), issued by India to about a dozen European, Russian and American shipyards in December 2006. The proposed acquisition of these seven new-generation FFGs under the IN’s Project 17A may well be worth more than Rs30,000 crore. The proposed acquisition of these seven FFGs (four of which will be built by Mumbai-based Mazagon Docks Ltd and three by Kolkata-based Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd) is apparently meant to offset the delay in the acquisition of modern warships by the IN that had occurred over the past two decades. The design being proposed by Russia’s St Petersburg-based Severnoye PKB (Northern Design Bureau) FSUE has a proposed displacement of about 5,000 tonnes, a length of more than 130 metres, and a beamwidth of 16 metres. To sweeten the proposal, Russia has also offered to make the Project 22350’s hull design scalable, meaning the basic hull deign could also be enhanced into a guided-missile destroyer displacing 8,000 tonnes and housing two medium-lift helicopters on board.—Prasun K. Sengupta