Last Russian stealth frigate to be inducted by June-end

Late comer

India is all set to receive its last Russian-origin stealth frigate the INS Trikand by June end, signalling India’s increasing self-reliance on warship building.

The stealth frigate INS Trikand will be commissioned on June 29 in Russia after which it will start its homeward journey, sources told Deccan Herald.

It is the last of the six stealth frigates that India had contracted to Russia in two batches in the last decade.

Going by the Navy’s original schedule, the Trikand was to be the last foreign ship in navy’s inventory for quite some time. But because of a technical snag in the boilers of aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, the carrier is delayed by a year and will come only by December, 2014.

The weapons and sensors on-board the ship include supersonic Brahmos missiles, surface to air missile system, upgraded 100mm medium range gun, optically controlled 30 mm close-in weapon system, torpedoes, rocket launchers and advanced electronic warfare and communication suite.

Once these two Russian ships are inducted, navy will not have any other warships in a foreign dockyard for a long time. Only recently, the service has issued a request for information for four mammoth “logistics support ship”, which Indian dockyards have never constructed. Sources said it would take years before commercial contract on these for LSS is signed.

Reduction on foreign supply helps saving crucial foreign exchange. For instance, the first three Russian stealth frigates – Talwar, Trishul and Tabar – came at a price of
Rs 3800 crore. But the cost went up to Rs 5200 crore for the second batch of three ships Teg, Tarkash and Trikhand. Both Teg and Tarkash were inducted in 2012.
42 under construction

The Navy currently has as many as 42 ships and submarines under constructions in various Indian shipyards in a clear demonstration of coming out of age at least on ship building technology. The import content is now negligible (10 per cent) for hull and associated equipment, there is still significant (40 per cent) import on propulsion machinery and very large amount of import (70 per cent) in weapons and sensors that are used to arm a ship.

While two Russian ships are expected this year, Mazgaon Dock Ltd has once again delayed the delivery of the first Kolkata-class indigenous destroyer (Project-15A) by a few months. The first of the three ships in Rs 45,000 crore P-15A will now be ready only in 2014 though originally it was scheduled to be delivered to the Navy by 2013 end, sources said.

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