The change of guard in the US has disrupted India’s plans to build stealth warships, with the Obama administration asking General Electric (GE) to suspend work on gas turbines supplied by it for the first of three Shivalik-class stealth frigates, being built under “Project 17”.
The US is said to have imposed similar restrictions on GE’s commercial transactions with some other countries, with the Obama government reviewing military ties.
Navy sources confirmed on Monday that GE had been asked not to operationalise the two LM 2500 gas turbines that it supplied for the Shivalik, being built at the Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL).
The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is in touch with the European manufacturers to make the engines operational so that sea trials are not delayed. Italian firm Avio, which sells under licence from GE, had sent its technicians to MDL to consult on the P-17 project, the sources said.
The Cabinet had in 1997 given the go-ahead for three P-17 class ships — Shivalik, Sahayadri and Satpura.
The navy’s stealth frigate and destroyer projects, worth Rs 19,763 crore, are plagued by time and cost overruns. Three ships of the Kolkata class (Project 15A), follow-on to Delhi-class destroyers, are running behind schedule due to issues pertaining to shafting and propeller system.