Defence Minister A K Antony on Thursday, Apr 29 commissioned INS Shivalik, the first of the three new stealth frigates for the Indian Navy, at Mumbai's Naval dockyard.
The ship has been built at Mumbai's Mazagaon Docks Ltd as a part of the Indian Navy's Project 17. The Navy will get as many as ten more stealth warships in next 9-10 years.
According to MDL Chairman and Managing Director, Vice Admiral (Retd) HS Malhi, "Nowhere in the world ship of this size has been incorporated with stealth features. It is a 6000 tonne ship and is the largest stealth frigate in the world."
The hard to detect warships will form a crucial component of the Indian Navy. It is equipped with a mix of Indian, Russian, Israeli and Western weapons and sensors. A 250-member crew including 35 officers will man INS Shivalik.
The new design features give the ship enhanced operational capabilities in terms of survivability, stealth, sea keeping, ship handling and weapons.
The Shivalik-class vessels are being built entirely in India and have Klub anti-ship missiles, Shtil surface-to-air missiles, Barak air and missile defence systems and RBU 6000 anti-submarine warfare rockets.
Shivalik is also equipped with state-of-the-art defence against nuclear, biological and chemical attacks.
"The Atmospheric Control System filters controls the temperature and humidity of the air coming into the ship at all times, including the air being used by the engines. It removes any radioactive, chemical or biological impurities, thereby protecting the crew and the systems even during a nuclear, biological or chemical attack," said Vice Admiral Malhi.
The total indigenous efforts account for over 60 percent of ship cost. It also has stealth features against radar and heat seekers and through technical means its underwater signatures have also been reduced.
The cost of building each Shivalik class frigate will be close to Rs 2,800 crore. The construction of the ship has been done under the massive modernisation that the Indian Navy is undertaking to increase its fleet strength.
The other two frigates of this class are named Satpura and Sahyadri. While construction of INS Shivalik was launched in 2002, Satpura and Sahyadri were started in 2004 and 2005, respectively.
The second of these ships is expected to be commissioned by the end of this year, and the other in the series in 2011.
The follow-on of the Shivalik class would be of Project 17 Alpha, under which a total of seven ships will be built. By Praful Kumar Singh