Ukrainian crisis forces Russia to sell its frigates to India

India and Russia on Saturday signed 16 agreements across multiple sectors following delegation-level talks co-chairedd by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Goa.Among the agreements signed were procurement of the S-400 air defence system and construction of four Admiral Grigorovich-class (Project 11356) guided-missile stealth frigate in India.

The 3,620-ton Admiral Grigorovich-class is a derivative of the six Talwar-class frigates that Russia built for the Indian Navy between 2003 and 2013.  The ships could be fitted with the BrahMos cruise missile The deal for four Admiral Grigorovich-class (Project 11356) guided-missile stealth frigates will involve the direct supply of two vessels from Russia while another two will be made in India. The shipyard for making these frigates in India will be chosen by a competitive process, sources said.

The primary reason for Russia’s decision to export the three ships—two of which are already under construction—is the lack of a propulsion system due to Ukraine’s decision to ban military exports to Russia in 2014. The ships of the Admiral Grigorovich-class are powered by M90FR gas turbines designed and built by Zorya-Mashproekt in Ukraine, Russia’s principal surface ship-builder since Soviet days.

Russia acquired three M90FR gas turbines before the export ban came into effect, which have been installed on the first three Admiral Grigorovich-class ships to be commissioned by the end of the year. The Russian defense industry is in the process of designing an indigenous replacement for the Ukraine-made turbine engine.

Moscow awarded a contract to NPO Saturn, a Russian aircraft engine manufacturer, to produce and test a domestically-produced M90FR turbine engine by 2017. However, analysts believe that a new propulsion system will not be ready for the navy before 2019-2020. As a result, Russia’s defense ministry reallocated funding to the construction of other ships, according to a source.

However, India is not subject to the export ban and can directly purchase the engines from Ukraine. According to IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly, Moscow and New Delhi are now thinking of transporting the hulls of the ships from the Kaliningrad-based Yantar Baltic Shipyard to India for final assembly. India had previously already expressed its interest to license-build the ships at an Indian dockyard.

Neither India nor Russia have officially confirmed the defense deal as of now.

Class overview
Name: Admiral Grigorovich class
Builders: Yantar Shipyard
Operators:  Russian Navy, Indian navy
Preceded by: Burevestnik class
Building: 3
Planned: 6
Active: 2
General characteristics
Class and type: Project 11356P/M
Type: Frigate
  • Standard: 3,620 tons
  • Full: 4,035 tons
Length: 124.8 m (409 ft)
Beam: 15.2 m (50 ft)
Draught: 4.2 m (14 ft)
  • 2 shaft COGAG;
  • 2 DS-71 cruise gas turbines 8,450 shp (6,300 kW);
  • 2 DT-59 boost gas turbines 22,000 shp (16,000 kW) ;
  • Total: 60,900 shp (45,400 kW)
Speed: 30 kn (56 km/h; 35 mph)
Range: 4,850 nmi (8,980 km; 5,580 mi) at 14 kn (26 km/h; 16 mph)
Endurance: 30 days
Complement: 200
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Air search radar: Fregat M2EM
  • Surface search radar: 3Ts-25E Garpun-B, MR-212/201-1, Nucleus-2 6000A
  • Fire control radar: JSC 5P-10E Puma FCS, 3R14N-11356 FCS, MR-90 Orekh SAM FCS
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
  • EW Suite: TK-25E-5;
  • Countermeasures:
  • 4 × KT-216
Aircraft carried: 1 Ka-27PL or Ka-31 helicopter

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