Russia’s Yantar shipyard in Kaliningrad on the Baltic coast has officially begun work on two modified Admiral Grigorovich-class (Project 1135.6P/M) guided-missile frigates destined for service in the Indian Navy, the press office of Russia’s state arms exporter Rosoboronexport reported on April 26.
“Rosoboronexport sees the Yantar Shipyard’s big potential for developing and producing hi-tech products supplied as part of military and technical cooperation, the state arms exporter’s press office quoted Rosoboronexport CEO Alexander Mikheyev as saying. “Its capacities have already produced hardware for exports worth over $1 billion and today the Shipyard has started fulfilling one of the largest contracts for India’s Navy.”
Under an inter-governmental agreement signed between India and Russia in October 2016, two frigates are slated to be built at the Yantar shipyard in Kaliningrad, while the remaining two frigates will be assembled at India’s state-owned Goa shipyard with technical support from Moscow. The four ships are expected to be delivered to the Indian Navy by 2026.
India and Russia signed a contract for the procurement of the first batch of two Admiral Grigorovich-class guided-missile frigates in October 2018. A follow-on contract for the construction of the second batch of warships of the class in India was inked in January 2019.
“The follow-on P 1135.6 series of frigates, customized to meet the Indian Navy’s specific requirements, are potent platforms, with a mission span covering the entire spectrum of naval warfare; air, surface and sub-surface,” the Indian Ministry of Defense said in a statement following the conclusion of the January 2019 contract.
“The ships would be equipped to operate in littoral and blue waters; both as a single unit and as consorts of a naval task force. Advanced features of stealth include a special hull design, to limit radar cross-section, low electromagnetic, infrared and under water noise signatures. The ships would carry highly sophisticated and state-of-art weapon systems and sensors.”
Admiral Grigorovich-class surface combatants are an upgraded variant of the six Talwar-class frigates that Russia built for the Indian Navy between 2003 and 2013. Displacing 3,620 tons, the frigates are reportedly capable of reaching top speeds of 30 knots and reportedly have an endurance of around 30 days. As I reported back in February:
The frigates will be armed with the BrahMos cruise missile system fired from an eight-cell 3S-14E under-deck launcher. The two-stage BrahMos missile — named after the Brahmaputra River in India and the Moskva River in Russia – is a derivative of the Russian-made P-800 Oniks over-the-horizon supersonic anti-ship cruise missile.
In July 2018, Indian defense firm Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has also unveiled a quadruple canisterized inclined launcher for the BrahMos missile for Indian Navy surface warships.
The ships of the class will also carry vertical-launched 3M-54 Kalibr missiles. The 3M-54 Kalibr is Russian-made stand-off supersonic anti-ship cruise missile. Other armaments include a 100-millimeter A-190 naval cannon, 533-millimeter heavyweight torpedoes, and ant-submarine rockets. The frigates also feature a flight deck to carry a helicopter for anti-submarine warfare missions.
Notably, the Indian MoD is set to procure two M90FR gas turbine engines, designed and built by Zorya-Mashproekt, for the two frigates to be built in India directly from Ukraine as a result of a military export ban imposed by the Ukrainian government on Russia in 2014. While Russia’s defense industry has been tasked with building copies of the M90FR gas turbine engine, a new engine is not expected to be ready before 2020, which could delay construction of the third and fourth Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates in India.