New Delhi, April 29: It’s a ship that is designed to escape detection by normal radars and surveillance equipment. Special aerodynamics, equipment and material used in designing and building these ships makes it very difficult to monitor their movements. That’s why they are called ’stealth frigates.’
It’s called the INS Shivalik, and it’s the first ship built by India designed to escape detection by normal radars and surveillance equipment. India on Thursday stormed into an elite club of eight nations that build stealth warships with the commissioning of the first indigenous stealth frigate INS Shivalik, adding new fire power and muscle to its Navy.
Marking a ’red letter day’ for the country, Defence Minister A K Antony launched the Rs 2,300 crore ship that has the capability to hoodwink enemy radars apart from having protection from nuclear-biological-chemical warfare.
"INS Shivalik’s commissioning is a red letter day for the Indian Navy, armed forces, the government of India and the entire nation," Antony said, unveiling the pennant of the 6,200-tonne warship at the Mazagon Docks (MDL) here. Shivalik would be the first in the series of three frigates in this class.
Apart from India, only the US, Russia, UK, France, Sweden, Japan, Italy and China have the capability to build stealth warships of this size and class.
’Shivalik’, which marks another move in securing India’s sea lanes, is equipped with a judicious mix of imported and indigenous weapon systems and sensors, including Barak surface-to-air missiles and ’Shtil’ air defence system. Antony said the indigenous content for the new frigate in terms of components was 80 per cent.
The MDL is building two other warships in this Shivalik series to be named INS Sayahdri and INS Satpura which would be commissioned by the end of this year and middle of next year respectively under Project-17. Seven more frigates would be built by the Defence PSU shipyard under a follow-on order, codenamed Project-17A very soon.
Antony said India’s 7,500-km long coastline and maritime interests make it imperative to protect our mainland and also the sea lanes of communication. "With the commissioning of the frigate, I have no doubt our maritime interests are far more secure," he said. He said the security situation in and around India’s neighbourhood posed many challenges and reiterated his call to the Navy to maintain high levels of operational readiness at all times.
He also referred, during his interaction with reporters, to the increased piracy in the Gulf of Aden,Seychelles and Mauritius seas to stress the need for a strong and potent navy to counter these threats. "In the coming years, protection of sea lanes is going to be a major challenge. So Indian Navy will have to perform its duty to protect our sea lanes," he said.