The Indian Navy is moving ahead with the Rs500bn ($8.99bn) plan to build seven advanced stealth frigates, also known as Project-17A, to boost local shipyards and its naval capabilities.
Project-17A will be a continuation of Project-17, an Rs10bn ($173.6m) deal signed between the Indian Navy and Mazagon Docks (MDL) in 1999 for the construction of three Shivalik-class frigates, in INS Shivalik, INS Satpura and the INS Sahyadri.
Four of the seven frigates will be built by MDL, while the remaining three being constructed by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) following the contract award.
The seven stealth vessels are expected to be longer, broader and faster than the previous Shivalik-class frigates and will be armed with 290km BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, as well as other advanced weapons and sensors to provide exceptional combat capability in air, surface and underwater.
The 142m-long and 17m wide Shivalik-class frigates feature an MR-760 Fregat M2EM 3D air search radar, a hull-mounted sonar array, four MR-90 Orekh radars, an ELTA EL/M 2238 surveillance and theatre alert radar.
Capable of carrying two helicopters of the Dhruv, Sea King or Kamov varieties, the Project-17 class vessels are equipped with BEL Aparna fire control radar and a BEL Ajanta electronic warfare suite to counter an enemy attack.
Armed with a Otobreda gun and the Shtil surface-to-air missile system with 24 short-to-medium-range missiles, the Shivalik-class frigates are powered by two Pielstick 16 PA6 STC diesel engines and two GE LM2500+ boost turbines in combined diesel or gas (CODOG) configuration.
The Project-17 frigates, INS Shivalik and INS Satpura, are currently in service with the navy, conducting anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, while INS Sahyadri is due for commissioning.
Image: INS Shivalik frigate undergoing sea trials. Photo: courtesy of Shiv Aroor.