Indian state-owned shipbuilder, Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) will launch the Indian Navy’s first P17A-class stealth frigate, named INS Nilgiri, during a ceremony at its facility in Mumbai on Sept. 28.
The vessel (Yard no: 12651) will be ceremoniously released into the water by Savitri Singh, wife of Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. The keel laying of the INS Nilgiri was conducted by MDL on Dec. 28, 2017 and she is expected to delivered to the Navy by 2022.
According to reports, the ceremony will also see the commissioning of Indian Navy’s second Scorpene/Kalvari-class diesel-electric attack submarine, the future INS Khanderi, and the inauguration of a new aircraft carrier drydock by the minister.
Project 17A-class is a new class of stealth frigates under construction for the Indian Navy as a follow-on of the Project 17 (P17) Shivalik-class frigates currently in service.
A total of seven ships are planned, out of which four will be constructed by MDL and remaining three by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) in Kolkata. The construction times for the frigates will be reduced and productivity will improved by using modular integrated construction.
The first ship of the class is named INS Nilgiri after the lead ship of the now-decommissioned Nilgiri-class of frigates also built by the MDL. The older six-ship Nilgiri-class vessels are updated versions of British Leander class frigates.
The second to sixth vessels of the class are to be named INS Himgiri, INS Udaygiri, INS Dunagiri, INS Taragiri, and INS Vindhyagiri after the older Nilgiri-class vessels. The seventh ship will be named INS Mahendragiri.
The P17A class frigates will have enhanced stealth features, and will also feature better roll stabilisation and a discreet visual profile. These ships are being built using indigenously developed steel and fitted with state-of-the-art weapon and sensor systems along with advanced Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS).
The 6,670-tonne frigates will be equipped with Barak 8 long range surface-to-air missile (LR-SAM), BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, EL/M-2248 MF-STAR multifunction active electronically scanned array (AESA) naval radar system, Ajanta electronic warfare (EW) system and Humsa-NG sonar. The weapon systems will be flush deck mounted allowing vertical launch of missiles from under the deck.
Each P17A frigate will be powered by two GE LM2500 marine gas turbines and two diesel engines in a combined diesel or gas (CODOG) turbine configuration. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Industrial and Marine Gas Turbine division, Bangalore, India, is assembling the LM2500 gas turbines in-country under license from GE.
The crew complement of the frigates will be reduced from the existing 257 (including 35 officers) to about 150 by using high levels of automation, which will reduce the operational costs by around 20 per cent and result in higher operational availability of the warships.
The keel laying of the first P17A-class frigate (Yard no: 12651) was conducted by MDL on Dec. 28, 2017 and she is expected to delivered to the Navy by 2022. GRSE laid the keel for the first of the three frigates it was contracted on Nov. 9 last year.