India, Russia likely to sign deal for 4 stealth frigates

December 22, 2015 12:01 am | Updated December 04, 2021 11:04 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

The purchase of Talwar class stealth frigates is expected to cost upwards of USD 3 billion.  - File Photo: Vivek Bendre

The purchase of Talwar class stealth frigates is expected to cost upwards of USD 3 billion. - File Photo: Vivek Bendre

After a long hiatus, Russia is once again set to emerge as India’s top military hardware supplier with a slew of big ticket defence deals set to be announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit starting on Thursday. Collectively, the defence deals to be announced during Modi’s visit would be worth upwards of $10 billion.

According to official sources, India is likely to sign a multi-billion dollar deal for four improved Krivak or Talwar class stealth frigates with Russia — expected to cost upwards of USD 3 billion — during the PM’s visit. This will be in addition to the two helicopter deals expected to be signed and the announcement on purchase of five S-400 Triumf air defence systems. With these deals Russia is likely to emerge once again as the top supplier of military hardware to India which in the last few years was taken over by the U.S.

India had earlier procured six frigates of the same class in two different batches and has been very pleased with the performance of the 4,000 tonne state of the art frigates which pack a lot of firepower in comparison to their size.

Like the earlier ships, these will also be built by Yantar shipyard but will additionally involve an Indian partner in line with the government’s ‘Make in India’ push. Officials said Pipavav shipyard owned by Anil Ambani’s Reliance group is likely to be the Indian partner in the deal. Incidentally Russian Navy too has recently ordered these ships for its Baltic fleet. Both sides have been in discussions for the additional frigates for some time but the deal was delayed as India insisted on building it through the ‘Make in India’ route. The deal was also partly delayed due to the engine issue. The engines are built by Zorya Nashproekt of Ukraine and after the crisis in Crimea, Ukraine has refused to supply engines to Russia. However, officials said the issue has been sorted and Ukraine has no reservations in supplying engines to India.

CEO team

The 18-member Indian CEO delegation accompanying Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Russia includes four company heads from defence companies.

These include Anil Ambani, Chairman of Reliance group; Baba Kalyani, Chairman and MD of Bahart Forge; Sukaran Singh, CEO of Tata Advanced Systems; and Suvarna Raju, Chairman of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

Reliance is likely to partner Russian helicopters to build Kamov-226T utility helicopters in India and is also a contender for the ship project. Tata is in advanced stage of talks with Sukhoi to set up a Joint Venture to manufacture spares for Sukhoi fighters in India.

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