Kaliningrad (Russia): The Indian Navy is all set to make its first tranche of payments to the Yantar shipyard in Russia this month, paving the way for full-scale work to start on two stealth frigates that are being made for India as part of a US$ 2.5 billion deal.
The payments are set to begin after India and Russia worked out a permanent solution to get around the banking restrictions put in place by America’s CAATSA (Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act).
“When it comes to the schedule of payments, it is as per the contract. The first payment is expected to come by end of July,” Eduard Efimov, general director of the Yantar Shipyard, told a select group of journalists.
Hulls already cut
India inked an inter-governmental agreement with Russia for four frigates in 2016, with the contract signed at the end of last year. Under the contract, two advanced Talwar-class frigates are to be built in Russia, while two more are to be built at the Goa Shipyard in India with technical collaboration from Russia.
The Yantar Shipyard has, in the past, manufactured three of the six Talwar-class frigates that are in service with the Indian Navy.
“As per the contract, the first of the two being manufactured here will be handed over to the Indian Navy by the end of 2022. The second one would be handed over six months later,” Efimov said.
The hulls for the two ships had already been cut for the Russian Navy, but remained mothballed for several years.
“We are starting the construction of the ships not from start, but from the production that we already have had. The hulls have been prepared for the implementation of the project,” said Efimov.
Speaking about the process involved, Efimov said the new ships will have 22 new systems, including navigation, communication and weapons.
The hull, which is currently in water, would first be brought on to the slipway for some preparatory work, like integration of systems and laying cables. This would also include installation of the gas turbines to power the ship, which will be provided by India.
After that, the hull will be launched again, and once all the systems are mounted on board, the harbour trials and sea trials will take place before the final user acceptance trial.
Efimov said following the visits by the Russian technical team to the Goa Shipyard, they are of the view that the Indian shipyard is technically ready to launch the project.
This report has been updated to accurately reflect the price of the frigates. The error is regretted.
This reporter is visiting Russia as a guest of United Shipbuilding Corporation.