Indian state-owned shipbuilder, Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) laid the keel for the third Project 17A (P17A) stealth frigate for the Indian Navy on Sept. 10.
The keel of the vessel, with Yard no. 12653, was ceremoniously laid by Vice Admiral S R Sarma, Chief of Materiel (COM) and Controller Warship Production and Acquisition (CWP&A) of the Indian Navy (IN), and V L Kantha Rao, Additional Secretary (Defence Production) at Indian Ministry of Defence (MOD).
The keel laying ceremony was conducted through an e-platform in the presence of Vice Admiral R B Pandit, Chief of Staff, Headquarters Western Naval Command (HQWNC), and Vice Admiral Narayan Prasad (IN Retd.), Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of MDL.
The ceremony was also attended by Rear Admiral G K Harish, Director General – Naval Design (DGND); Commodore T V Thomas (IN Retd.), Director – Corporate Planning & Personnel (CP&P) at MDL; Rear Admiral A K Saxena (IN Retd.), Director (Shipbuilding) at MDL; Commander Jasbir Singh (IN Retd.), Director – Submarine & Heavy Engineering (S&HE) at MDL; Sanjeev Singhal, Director (Finance), MDL; Mahesh Chandra, Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) at MDL; along with senior executives from MDL and senior Navy officials through an e-ceremony including the Warship Overseeing Team.
Indian Navy Project 17A (P17A) Nilgiri-class Frigates
Project 17A (P17A)-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 Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in Mumbai and remaining three by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) in Kolkata with MDL as the lead yard. The construction times for the frigates will be reduced and productivity will improved by using modular integrated construction.
The P17A class frigates are being built using indigenously developed steel. Construction of P17A ships differ in the very concept of warship building by way of adoption of the modern technology ‘Integrated Construction (IC)’ where the blocks are pre-outfitted before joining to reduce the build period of warships. When commissioned the platforms will enhance the combat capability of the Indian Naval fleet.
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 multi-function active electronically scanned array (AESA) naval radar system, Ajanta electronic warfare (EW) system and Humsa-NG sonar.
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. The Industrial and Marine Gas Turbine division of the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is assembling the LM2500 gas turbines in India under license from GE (General Electric).
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.
Ships of the class:
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 new 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 keel laying of the first P17A-class frigate (Yard no: 12651) was conducted by MDL on Dec. 28, 2017, and the vessel was launched on Sept. 28, 2019. The vessel 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, 2018.