Surface Forces: India Becomes An Exporter

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June 2, 2016: India has become an exporter of large warships. It was only in 2014 that India put its first locally made large warship (a Kamorta class corvette) into service. Now the builder has got the first export order from the Philippines. This is for smaller version of the Kamorta. The Filipino version will closer to 2,200 tons, 13 percent shorter, be armed with a 76mm gun (and other unspecified weapon) and Indian electronics (including a battle management and fire control system) and cost less than half what the Kamortas go for. India won on price and these Filipino corvettes may be built at a loss simply to help build an export market.

It was in mid-2014 that the Indian Navy received the first (INS Kamorta) of four Indian made corvettes. These are the first locally built modern surface warships for India. The Kamortas are 3,400 ton ships that are 109 meters (355 feet) long, have a crew 193 and a top speed of 46 kilometers an hour. They are optimized for anti-submarine warfare and are armed with a 76.2mm gun, two 30mm multi-barrel anti-missile autocannon, two multi (12) barrel 212mm anti-submarine rocket launchers, 16 Barak anti-missile/aircraft missiles and six torpedo tubes. It has a hull mounted sonar and carries a helicopter that can be armed with four anti-submarine torpedoes. The ship has stealthy features (small radar signature and more difficult for submarine sonar to detect as well.) By 2016 two of the Kamorta class ships are in service with the Indian Navy and two more are being built.

India has long bought Russian warships and has studied their construction and operating characteristics carefully. In 2012-13 Russia delivered the last of three Talwar class frigates. These were to be the last imported surface ships India will buying. India ordered these three ships (for $1.6 billion) in 2006. The 4,000 ton P-17 project Talwar's are 124.5 meters (386 feet) long, carry 24 anti-aircraft and eight anti-ship missiles, four torpedo tubes, as well as a 100mm gun, short range anti-missile autocannon, a helicopter, and anti-submarine weapons (rockets and missiles). The ship has a very complete set of electronics gear, except for a troublesome Indian sonar. There is a crew of 180. All of the Talwars are equipped with eight Indian BrahMos anti-ship missile each. The Talwar is a modified version of the Russian Cold War era Krivak IV design.

The P-17A "stealth" frigates are the same size as the original three Talwars India ordered in the 1990s. The Stealthy Talwars have their superstructure changed so as to reduce the radar signature (making the ship less likely to show up on enemy radars). Improved weapons and electronics are installed as well, making it a more formidable warship than the original Talwars. India is not ordering any more warships from Russia, as it has developed the capability to build what it needs locally. This now includes aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines as well as aircraft carriers, frigates and corvettes.

 


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