Saturday, December 9, 2023

Russia tests out stealth frigates built for India

Two stealth guided-missile frigates of the class Project 11356M, built in Russia’s Kaliningrad for the Indian Navy, are now ready for mooring trials, Alexey Rakhmanov, CEO of United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), said in an interview with RIA Novosti. The vessels are scheduled for delivery in 2023-2024, but will undergo months of systems testing before then.

“At present, the construction of the ships and the trials are proceeding according to refined schedules. There is a minor delay for certain positions, which is less than six months. Trial runs of diesel generators have been carried out for the first of the two frigates, and preparations for mooring trials are underway,” Rakhmanov said.

The mooring trial is standard practice in shipbuilding, preceding a vessel’s sea trial and is carried out in port while the equipment and machinery on board are tested. 

Russia and India signed a contract for the construction of four Project-11356M frigates for the Indian Navy in 2018. Under the agreement, two frigates are being built in Russia at the Yantar Shipyard and two at the government-owned Goa Shipyard Ltd in India.

Three of the four frigates are being built using hulls previously constructed for the Admiral Grigorovich-class Project 11356 R, initially planned for the Russian Navy. The construction of these frigates was suspended due to issues with supply of propulsion systems manufactured in Ukraine. While one of the hulls has been sent to India, the fourth frigate will be built from scratch at the Goa shipyard. 

According to Rakhmanov, Russia has supplied equipment, materials and design documentation for the construction of the other two Project 11356M frigates in Goa. The India-made frigates are to be delivered in June and December 2026, some 18 months after the delivery of the Russia-made vessels.

The main armament of the frigates will be the Russian-Indian supersonic BrahMos anti-ship cruise missiles. 

Ships of Project 11356, developed by the Northern Design Bureau, are designed for combat at sea both independently and as an escort within a naval force. Their combat capabilities allow them to search for and destroy enemy submarines, defend warships against ships, aircraft and submarines, support ground forces’ combat action and to undertake amphibious landings.

Russia has showcased a wide range of vessels being built for both the Russian Navy and for those of other countries at the Army-2023 forum, which opened in Patriot Park near Moscow on Monday. India is among several guest countries demonstrating its weaponry and defense systems at the expo. On Monday, the India pavilion was visited by Russian defense minister Sergey Shoigu, Trade and Industry Minister Denis Manturov and Indian Ambassador to Russia Pavan Kapoor. 

Meanwhile, Russia has also confirmed that delivery of S-400 air-defense systems to India will be completed by the end of 2023, Dmitry Shugaev, head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) of Russia, told Interfax on the sidelines of the Army-2023 expo.

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