The Indian Navy (IN) commissioned its newest frigate, INS Teg (F 45) at Yantar Shipyard in Kaliningrad, Russia on April 27, 2012. Teg is the lead ship of a series of three Batch 2 Project 11356 frigates that were ordered in August 2005, although contract signing did not take place until July 2006. As a matter of fact, design modifications were not finalized and approved until Dec. 20, 2007 – a few months after the ship’s keel was laid down. The value of the contract is a reported at $1.6 billion USD, or $533 million per ship.
The 124.8-meter, 4,035-ton Teg was laid down on July 27, 2007 and launched on Nov. 27, 2009. It began sea trials in the Baltic Sea on Sept. 1, 2011, after completion of outfitting. Trials were not without incident, however. Damage to the port side Zorya DS-71 cruising gas turbine during sea trials in mid-October 2011 led to a two-week setback while repairs could be effected.
Having completed sea trials in early December 2011, state acceptance trials lasted until early February 2012. Yantar says these trials were actually completed well within the planned timeframe. Acceptance trials involved weapons firing, including 28 consecutive rounds from the A-190E main gun at 70 rpm, the AK-630M close in weapons system (CIWS), the RBU 6000 anti-submarine rocket launchers, Shtil 9M317E surface to air missile (SAM) and Brahmos missile firings. The ship went through a final round of inspections before delivery to the IN in April.
The Teg, upon its arrival in India sometime toward the end of June, will be joining three Batch 1 Project 11356 Talwar class frigates in Indian service. Unlike the Teg and sister ships, the Talwar class were built at Baltisky Zavod and inducted into the IN from June 2003-April 2004. They also have a slightly different armament.
The primary differences between the Batch 1 and Batch 2 ships are in the weapons systems. The Batch 2 frigates are fitted with 8 supersonic Indo-Russian Brahmos surface to surface missiles and the AK 630M, whereas the Batch 1 frigates have the Klub-N missile system and the combined gun-missile Kashtan CIWS mounts. In addition, detail hull changes and habitability improvements have been incorporated.
With the program running about a year behind schedule, the other two Yantar-built frigates, Tarkash and Trikand, are likely to be delivered by September 2012 and mid 2013, according to Rosoboronexport, Russia’s arms export agency.
It is understood that the program delays were caused by several factors: a shortage of engineers and designers at the project’s inception; inadequate funding to the supply chain which led to delays in equipment deliveries; and an ongoing shortage of skilled labor, such as pipefitters, that is affecting the build schedule of the third ship in particular.
Designed by the St. Petersburg based Severnoye Design Bureau, the Indian Project 11356 frigates are a bespoke modification of the last of a series of Pr. 11351 Krivak class frigate designs for the Russian Navy and Border Guard Service.
As expected, sensors and equipment are largely of Russian origin, but a number of key Indian and Western systems are also installed. For instance, Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) supplies the HUMSA-NG sonar system and the Composite Communications System (CCS), while Wartsila and Cummins supplied the electrical power generation plants. In all, over 30 Western companies have supplied equipment for this program.
Key sensors include a mast mounted Fregat M2EM 3D search radar for the Shtil SAM system, along with four associated Orekh illuminators for the Shtil, a Positiv ME-1.2 radar enclosed in a radome atop the helicopter hangar to detect low flying targets, a Garpun Bal targeting radar for the Brahmos missile system and a 5P10E gunfire control radar. Navigation radars comprise the MR-212/201-1 set and what is likely to be a Kelvin Hughes set. New for the Teg and sister ships are two electro-optical directors mounted on small yardarms on either side of the helicopter hangar. A lack of high-resolution pictures makes it difficult to distinguish if these are Russian-made Sfera-2 from NPO Karat or Indian-made units from BEL.
In addition to the weapons listed earlier, these frigates are fitted with two twin DTA-53-11356-2 heavyweight torpedo tube launchers, with all ASW systems being controlled by the Purga-11356 fire control system. Electronic warfare systems include the ASOR 11356 system as well as four PK-10 decoy launchers. All weapons are controlled and managed by the Trebovaniye-M combat management system.
Crucially, these frigates embark a Kamov Ka-31 airborne early warning helicopter each. The Ka-31 is fitted with a belly mounted E-801M Oko radar with a folding antenna that is used to detect as many as 40 targets. The Ka-31 downlinks the radar data to the frigates as well as other fleet ships and aircraft that identify and engage the targets.
The all gas turbine COGAG M7N1 powerplant, with a rating of 58,000 horsepower, is from Ukraine’s Zorya Mashproekt. It has two DS-71 cruising turbines and two DT-59 boost turbines with five gearboxes including a cross connect box that allows any one of the cruise turbines to drive both fixed pitch propellers at slow speeds. Unlike Western gas turbines, these are reversible gas turbines, hence the use of fixed pitch propellers. These frigates have a top speed of 30+ knots and a range of around 4,500 nautical miles at 14 knots.
The Indian contract, says a senior official from Yantar, was vital in revitalizing this shipyard, which had seen better days. In fact, the experience gained from the Indian order led to the Russian Navy ordering three Pr. 11356M frigates (with options on another three) albeit with some updated weapons systems from Yantar. The first of these, Admiral Grighorovich, is slated for launching this summer.
For the Indian Navy, induction of the Batch 2 Pr.11356 frigates is a vital component of its ongoing recapitalization that is very largely made up of indigenously-built platforms. Part 2 of this series looks at the size of the IN fleet and its modernization plans.