Less than a month after India signed up to buy 2 Russian-built Admiral Grigorovich class frigates, a follow-up deal is expected to be signed today for two additional ships of the same class that will be built at India’s Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL).
It’s a been a week of note for Russia. Yesterday, Russia managed to wrangle a win in the Indian Army’s controversially meandering VSHORADS missile contest. But while a contract in the VSHORADS is still a fair distance away, India and Russia are putting pen to paper today for two ships that will be built in India.
The Grigorovich class, a highly advanced configuration of the Talwar class (of which the Indian Navy operates six ships) will be the most complex ship built by GSL. The addition of four Grigorovich class ships therefore gives the Indian Navy 10 ships derived from the Krivak class, with large amounts of commonality. While the 2 Russian-built ships will arrive by 2022-23 from the Yantar shipyard in Kalinigrad, the two Indian ships are scheduled to be delivered before 2027. An intergovermental agreement (IGA) to procure the four ships was signed by the Modi and Putin governments in 2016.
The 4 Grigorovich frigates will be fitted with the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile system, adding to a handful of Indian Navy ships with the capability. The Indian Navy operates six ships of a mother class that spawned the Grigorovich — INS Talwar, Trishul, Tabar, Teg, Tarkash and Trikand.
On a visit to Russia in August, senior Russian officials had told Livefist, “The Grigorovich ships differ quite considerably from the six ships delivered to the Indian Navy earlier. Although the first Talwars were dubbed the first stealth ships of the Indian Navy, the low visibility qualities of the latest 11356 ships are known to be much stronger and thus they can be justifiably labeled stealth frigates. Another major difference will be the joint Indo-Russian BrahMos missile systems instead of Klub.”
Frigate building is a complex enterprise that India has painstakingly figured out over the years. The P17 Shivalik-class and the seven under-build P17A bear testimony. While India’s Shivalik-class stealth frigates cruise the world on patrols, exercises and missions, the follow-on P17A, seven of which will be built at Mazagon Dockyard and Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE), will begin deliveries between 2022-2025, around the same time that the Grigorovich ships arrive. In other words, if timelines don’t slip, the Indian Navy can expect a veritable hail of inbound frigates in the 2022-2027 period.
The MDL shipyard is also currently building India’s most advanced destroyer class, the P15B Visakhapatnam-class, the first official details of which Livefist reported here in 2016.
UPDATE @ 11.41 am: The deal has been signed.