- India recently signed a $500 mn deal with Russia to locally manufacture two stealth frigates with technology transfer.
- In October 2016, India and Russia signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for four Krivak or Talwar stealth frigates two to be procured directly from Russia and two to be built by Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL).
- India had earlier procured six frigates weighing 4000 tonnes of the same class in two different batches, the Talwar class and the upgraded Teg class.
- The navy’s medium term plans envisage increasing warship strength from the current 140-odd, to 198 warships by 2027.
- Russia was declared the lowest bidder in the Army’s Very Short Range Air Defence (VSHORAD) deal and recently India signed a $5.43 bn deal for five S-400 long range air defence regiments.
VSHORAD) deal: It seeks to replace the aging Russian made Igla-M air defence systems with man- portable systems weighing less than 25 kilograms, with fire and forget capability.
- When inducted, VSHORAD man-portable systems will be employed in varied terrains including high altitude areas, plains, desert areas, coastal areas and maritime and integrated to a passive/active sensor for mounting on a platform with facility to mount on light vehicles.
- These systems will also have a dedicated command, control & communication (C3) unit for detection processing and engaging aerial targets such as unmanned aerial vehicles and helicopters.
- About the recent deal:
- The deal is part of the umbrella agreement to acquire four such warships for the Indian Navy.
- Construction of frigates at Goa shipyard will begin in 2020, with first one being delivered in 2026 and the second a year later.
- Frigates will be armed with the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, apart from other weapon systems and sensors.
- The work on the two frigates will start in two years by mid-2020 and is expected to be completed by 2026- 2027.
- India will separately acquire the Zorya gas-turbine engines to power the frigates four for each warship at a total cost of around Rs 1,000 crore from Ukraine.
- The series of deals with Russia come in the backdrop of looming US sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) law.
- CAATSA seeks to prevent countries from buying Russian weapons or Iranian oil.
- The four warships will add to the six such Russian stealth frigates, three Talwar-class and three Teg-class warships, already inducted into the Indian Navy from 2003-2004 onwards.