Special Correspondent

Submarine-fired missiles to be bought

New frigates to be fitted with BrahMos missiles To be built to Indian Navy specifications To cost Rs. 5,114 crore

NEW DELHI: The Cabinet Committee on Security on Thursday approved the purchase of three warships and 28 submarine-fired cruise missiles from Russia.

The Talwar class warships would bolster the fleet, which already has three frigates of the same make. The new frigates would be fitted with BrahMos cruise missiles, while the ones presently in service have Club-N missiles. The Brahmos missiles have a heavy Indian component and would be purchased from an India-Russian joint venture.

Other purchases

The CCS approved the purchase of three Russian frigates to be built to Indian specifications at a cost of Rs. 5,114 crore. Another Rs. 400 crore has been earmarked for "certain other purchases", Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee told newspersons after the CCS meeting. Naval sources said the amount would be utilised for fitting BrahMos missiles on these ships.

The first three Talwar class frigates were bought for Rs. 3,000 crore but their delivery schedules were marred by time overruns due to difficulties in meeting the Indian Navy's specifications.

Fire control system

Having overcome the problems with the fire control system (FCS) of its Russian submarines, the 28 submarine-fired cruise missiles would be fitted in six submarines presently in service at a cost of Rs. 584.50 crore. Two of the submarines would be fitted with missiles in Russia along with an improved FCS while the remaining submarines would be equipped with the missiles at an Indian dockyard.

Talwar class ships

Talwar class ships have a long history in the Indian Navy. The uprising of naval ratings was sparked off from a signal training school of the same name and gave an impetus to the freedom movement.

It was later merged with the Royal Indian Navy's anti-submarine school. The Talwar was born again as a Whitby class frigate that took part in the `65 and `71 wars.

Eighteen years after its decommissioning, INS Talwar along with Trishul and Tanwar joined the Navy in phases.

Naval sources said the frigate compares favourably in most respects, especially the weapons to displacement ratio, with frigates of the same make in service with the French (La Fayette), British (Type 23) and U.S. (OHP Class) navies.

The latest lot of Talwar class ships would have a high degree of automation and incorporate a variety of technologies to make its detection difficult.

The Defence Minister said the CCS had also approved an additional Rs. 20 crore for meeting the security-related expenses of Jammu and Kashmir and North Eastern states.