Indian Navy Agrees to Buy Four Upgraded Krivak III-class Frigates from Russia

India and Russia has finalized contractual terms for the procurement of four new upgraded Krivak III-class stealth frigates for around Rs 20,000 crore ($3 billion), Business Standard reported.

According to the terms, the first two frigates will be built in Yantar Shipyard in Kaliningrad, Russia. The following two will be built in India’s state-owned Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL) with technology and designs transferred by Yantar. The report said that the delivery will begin within four years of signing the contract.

If the contract is cleared by the Indian Ministry of Finance and the Cabinet, this will be the first capital warship contract signed since Project 17A was contracted in early-2015. Project 17A class is a follow-on of the Project 17 Shivalik-class frigate in service with the Indian Navy.

The first two frigates are already part-built at the Yantar shipyard and was originally destined for the Russian Navy as Admiral Grigorovich class (Project 11356Р/М) guided missile frigates.

The frigates are similar to the six Russian Talwar class (Project 11356) already deployed by the Indian Navy. The Talwar-class are in turn the improved versions of the Krivak III-class (Project 1135) frigates. With the current contract, the navy will operate ten Krivak III frigates in future– the fleet’s largest single type.

These upgraded Krivak III-class frigates to be sold to India will have the same engines and armament configuration as the second batch of three Talwar-class frigates in service with Indian Navy – INS Teg, INS Tarkash and INS Trikand. This include the BrahMos supersonic anti-ship/land attack supersonic cruise missiles jointly developed by India and Russia.

Initially, six ships (two batches of three ships) of the Admiral Grigorovich class was ordered by the Russian Navy. Three ships of the class, Admiral Grigorovich, Admiral Essen and Admiral Makarov are already in service with Russian Navy’s Black Sea fleet.

Admiral Grigorivich was deployed to the Mediterranean Sea as part of Russian involvement in the Syrian crisis and has conducted Kalibr cruise missile strikes against ISIS targets in Syria.

The remaining three ships, Admiral Butakov, Admiral Istomin and Admiral Kornilov are under construction at Yantar shipyard, Kaliningrad.

The original gas turbines of the frigates were made by Ukrainian state-owned enterprise Zorya-Mashproekt.  After the Crimea crisis, Ukraine refused to supply the engines. The decision to resume the work was made following the preliminary testing of the M70FRU gas turbine unit by Russian manufacturer, NPO Saturn.

The delay in the project caused by the Ukrainian embargo made Russia to offer two of the partially-built frigates to India. India, which has close defence relations with Ukraine, will procure and provide Yantar the Zorya turbines that will power the two frigates.

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