India’s state-owned Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL) has laid the keel of the Indian Navy’s second frigate of additional follow-on ship under Project 1135.6.

The keel laying ceremony was held virtually on 18 June and marks the official start of construction of the vessel.

In February 2019, GSL signed an agreement with the Indian Government to build two additional Project 1135.6 follow-on ships for the Indian Navy.

This follows an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) between the governments of India and Russia reached in October 2016.

Customised to meet specific requirements of the Indian Navy, the follow-on P 1135.6 series of frigates possess advanced stealth features including a special hull design, to limit radar cross-section, low electromagnetic, infrared and underwater noise signatures.

These ships can support anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and anti-air warfare missions. They can operate in littoral and blue waters both as a single unit and as part of a naval task force.

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According to the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD), the ships are being built in India as part of the government’s ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Make in India’ initiatives.

The MoD noted that indigenous steel is being used to build the entire hull of the Project 1135.6 ships.

Despite the challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic situation in the country, GSL has continued the production activities with active support of its employees.

Keel for the first ship was laid in January and it is expected to be delivered in 2026. The second vessel will be handed over after six months.

In November last year, Indian Union Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik announced that the Indian Navy is likely to execute orders worth $51bn for surface ships and submarines from 2020 to 2030.