New Delhi: The Indian Navy is set to enhance its blue water force capabilities with the likely induction of the very latest indigenously designed, stealth frigate INS Shivalik by November this year. A Project-17 class, 5,300 tonne frigate, the Shivalik is a formidable mix of foreign and indigenous weapons and sensor systems.
The first of a class of three vessels, the Shivalik is currently undergoing ''advanced'' pre-commissioning sea trials. It will be followed by sister ships INS Satpura and INS Sahyadri in the period 2010-2011.
The Shivalik will field an impressive battery of weapons such as the Russian Shtil surface-to-air missile systems, Klub anti-ship cruise missiles. It will also field the Israeli 'Barak-I' anti-missile defence system, which currently arms 11 of the navy's frontline warships such as aircraft carrier INS Viraat and the Delhi-class destroyer, INS Mysore.
The 10-km range Barak-I is capable of intercepting Pakistani Harpoon and Exocet missiles, launched from platforms like P-3C Orion aircraft and Agosta-90B submarines which Pakistan has acquired from US and France.
The Project-17 is a Rs8,101 crore project being implemented at Mumbai's Mazagon Docks.
The project will be superceded by Project-17A, a massive project to construct seven, even more, stealthy frigates for around Rs 45,000 crore. Four of these ships will be built at the Mazagon Docks while the other three will be constructed at Kolkota's Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers yards.
The Navy currently has 34 warships and six submarines on order.
The Shivalik-class frigates boast of low-noise propellers, propulsion devices and machinery, as also ''vibration damping''. They will also carry General Electric's LM2500 gas turbines, which will provide them with 22 Mw of power boost.