Experts have described the project design and build capability as one of the finest in the world
The P17A frigates part of India Navy’s most advanced stealth frigate project till date, would be known as Nilgiri class, defence website Livefist has reported.
It is expected to be officially launched by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on 28 September and the first frigate’s delivery date is 2022.
The Starting Line
The Indian Navy back in 2009 had cleared its then largest every indigenous defence manufacturing contract worth Rs 45,000 crore for the manufacture of seven advanced stealth frigates. The contract was subsequently signed in 2015.
The task to manufacture these frigates was given to Mumbai’s Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDSL) and Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GSRE) in Kolkata. MDSL will build four of these frigates and GSRE the remaining three.
MDSL laid the keel to build the first ship in December 2017. GSRE held its keel laying ceremony almost a year later in November 2018. It is committed to deliver the first frigate by 2023 (MDL will do it in 2022) and the rest two in 2024 and 2025 respectively.
Each of the frigate is expected to cost around $900 million which roughly translates to Rs 6,500 crore.
The first scale model of the Nilgiri stealth frigate was unveiled by the MDSL at the 2018 DefExpo in Chennai.
Here an animation of the frigates.
It will be powered by two General Electric LM2500 gas turbines and two MAN manufactured diesel engines. This will help the frigate achieve a top speed of 28 knots and a range of 5,500 nautical miles at a speed of 10-15 knots.
It will be equipped with two long range surface to air Barak missile, surface to surface Brahmos supersonic cruise missile to deal with threats from the air. The Barak missiles will be supplied by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) in collaboration with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
To command the seas, it will be fitted with a pair of RBU-6000 rocket launches and two triple tube torpedo launchers. Apart from this, the frigate would be fitted with defence mechanisms like four decoy launchers and two anti-torpedo decoy systems.
It will also be fitted with AK-630M close-in weapon systems and a 76 mm MR gun.
Its construction will adopt the modern Integrated Construction (IC) methodology in which blocks come pre-outfitted with equipment like pipes to reduce construction time.
Indian Navy’s Best Ever Stealth Frigates
The Nilgiri class frigates have been dubbed as a more stealthier version of Indian Navy’s P-17 Shivalik class frigates - first stealth frigates built in India.
As per reports, when complete, the Nilgiri class frigates would have “significantly greater stealth quality in its superstructures”. This objective is likely to be achieved via a modular deck configuration and higher inclines.
Experts have described the project design and build capability as one of the finest in the world. When complete it is expected to be the most advanced stealth frigate in Indian Navy’s hands.