India's stealth warship to be launched on Friday

MUMBAI April 15. India will launch the first of its indigenous stealth warships of the Project 17 New Nilgiri Class next Friday in Mumbai.

Conceived by the Naval Design Bureau of the Indian Navy, the New Nilgiri, billed to be stealthy versatile surface combatants, will be the standard frigate of the Indian Navy, which has the programme to build 12 such warships.

The new Nilgiri built by the Mazgaon Dock, the country's premier shipyard, is 143 metres long and 16.9 metres wide at beam, displacing 4,900 tonnes. Powered by gas turbines and diesel engines, the frigates of this class achieve a top speed of over 30 knots. The design imbibes state-of-the-art technology, modern stealth features and latest weapon and sensor fit, say the builders.

Its armament, it is said, include anti-ship cruise missiles, either Indo-Russian collaboration Brahmos or the Russian Klub missiles from eight vertical launchers. The launchers are believed to be flexible enough to deliver anti-submarine torpedoes. It will have a combination of missiles and guns providing medium range and close in air defence. These include Kashmir surface-to-air missile system having 24 missiles of 3.5 to 25 km range.

The ship is capable of taking on at least six targets — in multi-dimension and multi-direction — simultaneously. The main air search and targeting radar is a foremast-mounted. Fire control guidance and target illumination for the Kashmir system is provided by three or four Orekh radars. The fire control for the ship's 76 mm super rapid gun is provided by Bharat Electronics' radar, Shikari and fire control for surface ships will be done by Aparna (Active and Passive Radar Navigation and Attack) radar.

The electronic warfare suit will also be the Bharat Electronic's Ajanta system comprising rather unusual mix of components and equipment from India, Israel, Italy and some other country. The navigation system will include the Decca Bridgemaster, Bharat Electronics' Rashmi (Radar Aid for Inshore and Harbour Manoeuvring in I-band) or its other system called Rani (Radar Aid for navigation in I-band).

The New Nilgiri is capable of carrying two advanced light helicopters or Sea King for anti-submarine warfare.

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