Surface Forces: June 22, 2003


: The Indian navy took possession of the INS Talwar, the first of three 4,035 ton Russian-built "stealth-type" technology warships. This after 18 months of technological problems and doubts about one of it's primary weapons systems (the surface-to-air Shtil missile). There were also problems adapting the Puma antiaircraft gun's electronic systems with other weapons. The the delivery of the frigates was postponed for more than a year. India now plans to commission all three Krivak-class warships this year as the Project 11356 class frigates Talwar, Trishul and Tabar. The INS Trishul will be inducted on June 25, when Defense Minister George Fernandes is expected to visit St Petersburg to attend International Maritime Salon-2003. 

These frigates are powered by four gas turbines capable of generating speed up to 30 knots and are armed with Club-N anti-ship cruise missile launch cells, medium range Shtil air defense systems and A-190E "Puma" anti-aircraft guns. They also can carry a Kamov-28 Helix-A anti-submarine warfare or Kamov-31 early airborne warning chopper. 

India's Naval commander Admiral Madhavendra Singh finally left for Moscow on the 16th, after his original travel plan on the 12th was called off at the last minute when the Navy again threatened to shelve plans to induct the INS Talwar. This turnaround is curious, since Admiral Singh himself had previously declared that India would not accept these frigates until all faults in the missile system were rectified. 

Officials claim that the fault in the Shtil missiles were fixed and that more test firings would be conducted in the presence of the Naval Chief. Of the 12 previous test-flights, only seven had apparently been successful. The Russians had offered to rectify the faults after the frigates induction into the Indian Navy but the offer was turned down. One can now only wonder what back room deal was cut, so that delivery of the frigates could proceed.

The Indian Navy plans to later modify the Krivak class stealth warships with Bramhos supersonic cruise missiles, which are a joint Indian-Russian venture. The Indians plan a second test in early June, following February's first test firing afloat. While primarily an antiship missile, the Bramhos Supersonic Cruise Missile can also engage land-based targets. It can be launched from submarine, ship, aircraft or land based Mobile Autonomous Launchers (MAL). The fire-and-forget Brahmos can fly at speeds up to 2.8 Mach and has a range of 290 km, which means that it's faster and has a longer range than other cruise missiles. - Adam Geibel

See the BRAHMOS online at:


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