In tune with its operational drive to turn "stealthy" because surprise and deception are crucial in modern-day warfare, the Navy inducted its latest guided-missile stealth frigate INS Trikhand on Saturday.
INS Trikand is the last of the six stealth frigates ordered from . The Navy had earlier inducted three 4,000-tonne Talwar-class stealth frigates ( Talwar, Trishul and Tabar) from Russia in 2003-2004.
Then, impressed by the punch the frigates packed, India ordered another three (Teg, Tarkash and Trikand) under a $1.15 billion contract inked in 2006.
On Saturday, Navy vice chief Vice admiral R K Dhowan commissioned INS Trikand at a ceremony at Kaliningrad in Russia, which was also attended by the Indian ambassador Ajai Malhotra and other and Russian officials.
"Her sister ships INS Teg and INS Tarkash were commissioned last year and are now undertaking operations as part of ," said an officer. INS Trikand carries a state-of-the-art combat suite, which includes the supersonic 290-km BrahMos missile system, Shtil advanced surface-to-air missiles, an upgraded A-190 medium range gun, an electro-optical 30-mm close-in weapon system, anti-submarine weapons such as torpedoes and rockets and an advanced electronic warfare system.
"The weapons and sensors are integrated through a combat management system 'Trebovanie-M', which enables the ship to simultaneously neutralise multiple surface, sub-surface and ," said the officer.
The ship also incorporates "innovative" features to reduce its radar, magnetic and acoustic "signatures" to ensure it is relatively difficult to detect by . Powered by four gas turbines, the frigate is capable of speeds in excess of 30 knots. "The ship, commanded by Captain Ajay Kochhar with a crew of 300 officers and sailors, can also carry an integrated Kamov-31 helicopter suited for airborne early warning roles," he said.
India, of course, is also building its own stealth frigates. Three Shivalik-class frigates, built at Mazagon Docks (MDL), have already been inducted by the Navy. Then, there is an over Rs 50,000 crore plan on the anvil to construct seven advanced stealth frigates, with all weapon and missile systems under the hull for a lower radar "signature", in a programme called Project-17A.
The project will be shared between MDL at Mumbai and Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) at Kolkata.