Russian frigate for India getting ready

MOSCOW, MAY 7. The first of three battleships ordered by India from Russia is to hit the waters of the Neva River in St. Petersburg on May 12, a local weekly reported on Saturday.

The Russia Journal quoted Mr. Oleg Bolshakov, manager of the project for Baltiisky Shipyard, as saying it would another two years to complete the Krivak-class frigate, to be inducted into the Indian Navy under the name of Talwar. The other two frigates, also being built at Baltiisky Shipyard under a $1-billion contract, are to be commissioned in mid-2002 and 2003 respectively. Construction is a year behind schedule due to financial troubles that hit the shipyard in the wake of the 1998 crisis.

The 4,000-tonne state-of-the-art frigates are armed with advanced-guidance missiles to neutralise surface, sub- surface and aerial targets and are equipped with ``stealth'' technology that enables them avoid detection by enemy radars. They also have a bombing complex called RBU-6000 for anti- submarine warfare and facilities for helicopters.

According to Mr. Bolshakov, about 140 Russian enterprises in St. Petersburg and across the country will be filling the vessel's shell with the necessary equipment - from missile systems to an on-board IT network.

``This frigate, along with two others, will be well equipped to deal with other navy ships, submarines, aircraft or whatever else might appear in the open waters,'' the project manager told Russia Journal.

Apart from the frigates, Russia is currently building a tenth Kilo-class submarine and an Amur-class submarine of the next generation for India. It is also upgrading two Kilo-class submarines India purchased earlier, to equip them with cruise missiles.