India signs $500 million deal with Russia to build 2 stealth frigates
21 November 2018
India and Russia have signed a $500 million contract to build two stealth frigates in India that are expected to be delivered by 2027, two officials familiar with the development said.
Russia’s state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport and India’s Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) signed the contract in New Delhi to build the Grigorovich-class ‘Project 1135.6’ frigates with technology transfer from Russia.
The deal comes weeks after the two countries inked a nearly $1 billion deal to import two other such warships from Russia. The ships being built at the Yantar Shipyard in Kaliningrad, are expected to be delivered to the Indian Navy by 2022-23.
While the $500 million deal only includes the upfront value of the deal, the actual production of the ship will cost more than the frigates bought directly from the Russian shipyard.
A government official said the warships being built in India will eventually cost a lot more than $500 million. “The $500 million is for the foreign content in the vessels, including material, design and specialist assistance. The frigates will cost more factoring in the indigenous content. That cost is being worked out,” he said.
GSL is expected to deliver the first frigate in 2026 and the second a year later, a second official added.
India inked an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) with Russia for the four frigates in 2016. The Indian Navy currently operates six such stealth frigates — three Talwar class and three Teg class — bought from Russia and inducted between 2003 and 2013.
“The best thing is the navy will now have 10 warships in the same class. That’s rare. These ships have proved to be reliable, have good weapons and sensors and new ones will further sharpen our capabilities,” said Admiral Arun Prakash, a former navy chief.
The Grigorovich-class frigates will be powered by gas turbine engines supplied by Ukrainian firm Ukroboronprom’s Gas Turbine Research & Production Complex Zorya-Mashproekt, the officials said.
The frigate deal follows a Rs39,000-crore deal with Russia for the supply of S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems, amidst US objections to dealings with Russia under the sanction it imposed on Russia.
India is in talks with the US to secure a waiver from the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (Caatsa), arguing that its military is heavily dependent on Russian equipment and the two countries share a unique, time-tested relationship.
India is simultaneously exploring ways to bypass the US sanctions including an alternative payment route for Russian equipment.