Indian shipbuilder Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) has laid the keel of the third Project 17A advanced stealth frigate.

The Nilgiri-class stealth frigates, also known as Project 17A frigates, are being built by GRSE and Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders for the Indian Navy.

The Project 17A programme involves the development of seven advanced guided-missile frigates. Four of these ships will be built by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders and the remaining three by GRSE.

It is a follow-on of the Project 17 Shivalik-class frigates. The first six ships will be named after the older Nilgiri-class vessels, which were the updated versions of British Leander-class frigates.

The Nilgiri-class will have a length of 149m, a width of 17.8m, and a draft of 5.22m. The displacement of the vessel will be 6,670t and the frigate can accommodate 226 personnel.

GRSE is currently working on two more major Indian Navy projects that include 04 Survey Vessel Large ships and 08 ASWSWC ships, apart from the 03 P17A ships.

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Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, GRSE launched the first of its three P17A stealth ships, INS Himgiri, ahead of schedule in December last year.

It was floated out on the Hoogly River in Kolkata and is expected to be delivered in August 2023.