Talwar Class Follow-on Frigates on Track

Issue: 5-2021 By Vishal ThaparPhoto(s): By Indian Navy
Two Talwar class stealth frigates are being built in Russia

The first of the two follow-on Talwar class stealth frigates contracted to be supplied by Russia to the Indian Navy at a cost of $950 million was launched at the Yantar Shipyard at Kaliningrad on October 28 and named Tushil (Sanskrit for Shield). The announcement was made by the Indian Navy on October 29, 2021.

The two frigates are being built on the hulls of the unfinished Admiral Grigoriovich class frigates, Admiral Butakov and Admiral Istomin. These are scheduled to be delivered to the Indian Navy in 2022 as per the contract signed in October 2018.

Tushil is the 7th Indian Navy frigate of the Talwar class, also identified as Project 1135.6.

A 2016 India-Russia Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) provides for construction of two ships of Project 1135.6 in Russia and two in India at Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL).

The second, $500 million contract for the Indian build ships was signed between GSL and Rosoboronexport in November 2018 for licensed construction. Soon thereafter in January 2019, the Indian Navy awarded a 14,120 crore ($1.9 billion) contract to GSL for delivering these two frigates to the Indian Navy by 2027.

The Indian Navy currently operates a fleet of six Talwar class stealth frigates. These were the first Indian warships with stealth features and were meant to fill the gap between the decommissioning of the Leander class and the induction of the Indian designed Project 17 frigates. The first, Talwar, was delivered in 2001 under a 1997 contract. A subsequent order for three more warships of this class was placed in 2006.

On the current procurement, build timelines for the four follow-on Talwar class frigates have been delayed due to the refusal of Ukraine to provide Zorya-Mashproekt gas turbine engines after Russia’s annexation of Crimea. India has reportedly negotiated independently with Ukraine for the purchase of the engines. There were reports in August 2017 of India’s Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) clearing a 490 crore ($65.5 million) proposal to buy the Zorya-Mashproekt turbines for the two frigates being built at Russia’s Yantar Shipyard.

Tushil - the 7th of the Tushil class - was launched into the water in the presence of D. Bala Venkatesh Varma, India’s Ambassador to Russia. The warship was formally given its name by the Ambassador’s wife, Dalta Vidya Varma.