India sails into stealth club
India on Thursday got its first home-built stealth warship, with the navy inducting INS Shivalik into its fleet, after a decade-long journey. Rahul Singh reports. Vital statsmumbai Updated: Apr 30, 2010 01:39 IST
India on Thursday got its first home-built stealth warship, with the navy inducting INS Shivalik into its fleet, after a decade-long journey.
The Shivalik, which marks a shift in the design of warships, is the first of three stealth frigates being built at Mazagon Docks Limited under a project codenamed P17. The other two — Satpura and Sahyadiri — will be inducted by the end of 2011.
Few countries in the world such as US, Russia and France can build stealth warships.
The shipbuilding industry should through indigenous efforts minimise dependence on imports, Defence Minister A K Antony said after commission of the ship. "We must be able to produce quality ships in shorter time-frame at competitive costs."
Work on the Shivalik class began in 2001.
The navy has three Russia-made Talwar-class stealth frigates. Three more are being in that country at the Yantar shipyard in Kaliningrad under a $1.5 billion (Rs 6,750 crore) follow-on contract.
Built at a cost of Rs 2,300 crore, the Shivalik has an indigenous component of 60 per cent. It has a mix of Western, Russian and Israeli weapon systems and powered by gas turbines from the US major General Electric (GE). Steel for the frigate, too, came from abroad.
The follow-on of Shivalik class, P 17A, would be 80 per cent indigenous, said MDL chairman Vice-Admiral H.S. Malhi (retd). Seven warships will be built under P17A.
Shivalik's structural, thermal and acoustic stealth features reduce her probability of being detected at sea. It is powered by GE's LM2500 gas turbines. The sea trials were delayed by four months last year after the US government asked GE to suspend work on the turbines.
One of the firsts for Shivalik is the CODOG (combined diesel or gas) propulsion system. Powered by two diesel engines, it can use gas turbines for high tempo operations.
Equipped with anti-submarine warfare capability, frigates are designed to protect warships but lack multi-mission capabilities.