Reports appearing in a section of the Russian media would suggest that state-run arms export agency Rosoboronexport may be negotiating with Indian authorities for the construction of a fresh lot of three stealth frigates. From the reports it would appear that negotiations are for an order over and above the follow-on order for three Talwar Class frigates.
The Indian Navy has already inducted three Krivak Class, Project 1135.6 stealth frigates, which joined the fleet as the Talwar Class. These were constructed at the Baltisky shipyard. The Navy subsequently placed a follow-on order for another three, the order for which went to the Kaliningrad Yantar yard. According to these reports, a fresh order for three more might now be given to the St. Petersburg-based Severnaya Verf yard.
For the perennially cash-starved Russian defence production establishments, the order is expected to be in the range of at least $1.7 billion, which would cover frigate costs at $400 million apiece with the balance for spares, battle reserves and crew training.
According to these reports, which quote unnamed government functionaries, the consultations are active with an expectation on the Russian side that a contract may materialise soon. The report quotes Russian shipyard authorities as saying that negotiations for this contract had been underway since 2006 and that India is expected to apply to the Inter Government Commission for Military and Technical Cooperation by next year April or May.
In the running for the contract is the St. Petersburg-based Severnaya Verf yard as the prime contractor, with the Baltiysky Works also landing some part of the contract. Severnaya Verf had lost the $1.6 billion follow-on order for the Talwar Class frigates to Kaliningrad Yantar yard earlier. The second lot of stealth frigates are due for delivery to the Indian Navy from 2010 through 2011.