The INS (Indian Naval Ship) Shivalik, to be commissioned next week, will be the stealthiest Indian warship so far. The Radar Cross Section (RCS) of the ship will have a ‘smaller signature than our smaller platforms’, according to Director General Naval Design, Rear Admiral KN Vaidyanathan.
The Shivalik, the first Project 17 frigate constructed at the Mumbai-based Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) and conceptualized by the Directorate General Naval Design, includes features for minimizing its sensitivity to radar, Infra Red and magnetic sensors, and also for minimizing Extremely Low Frequency Emissions (ELFE) and underwater noise. IR suppression devices have been used for the engine, as well as to mask the hot engine exhaust and funnel, while special mounting arrangements and acoustic enclosures have been made for the machinery to reduce the underwater radiated noise signatures.
Admiral Vaidyanathan says that the frigate, first ordered in 1999, has a sloped hangar, bulwark and exposed surfaces, Vertical Launch Missile System for SSMs (Surface to Surface Missiles), a stealth version of a Medium Range Gun (MRG), enclosed under a canopy and a full beam superstructure.
The 143 meters-long, vessel that displaces 5900 tons has also used materials like, Radar Absorbent Paint, Radar Opaque Optically Transparent, Radar Absorbent Material and Radar Signature Suppression Screens, which covers large openings like air intakes for the engines.
The Shivalik uses (Combined Diesel or Gas Turbine) CODOG propulsion of an SEMT Pielstick Diesel Engine and a General Electric LM 2500 GT. With the warship being able to run on both diesel as well as gas, it can achieve high rates of fuel economy by running on diesel as well as speeds of around 30 knots (30 nautical miles per hour), when required, by running the gas turbines.
According to Admiral Vaidyanathan, the frigate’s weapons and sensors include air warning radar, surface radar, sonar, electronic warfare suite, point defense close in guns, Kavach chaff dispensers, electro-optic director, ASW (Anti -Submarine Warfare) rocket launchers (RPK-8 upgraded RBU-6000), MR (Medium Range) Gun and the Klub Anti-Ship Missile (SSM), Shtil Surface to Air Missile (SAM) and Barak air defense missile systems.
The warship’s Combat Management System (CMS) is configured to coordinate all weapons and sensors simultaneously, allowing it to detect, track and address multiple threats and targets at the same time.
The Shivalik will be followed by sister-ships, Satpura and Sahyadri, which are expected to be commissioned in November and mid-2011, each built at a cost of around Rupees (INR) 2,300 crore.
The design will then be upgraded to incorporate more features for Project 17A, which will see the construction of seven more frigates. These will see the deployment of technologies for modular construction at MDL.
The Indian Navy already operates three Russian-built Talwar-class frigates (a version of the Krivak III class), INS Talwar, INS Trishul and INS Tabar and is also acquiring three more such frigates, INS Teg, INS Tarkash and INS Trikund.
Note: 1 crore= 10 million