The second ship of the Project 17A or Nilgiri-class Stealth Frigate and GRSE (Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd) built first ‘INS Himgiri‘ successfully launched today at Kolkata by Smt Madhulika Rawat, spouse of General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defence Staff, Chief Guest. Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat oversaw the launch of the vessel as chief guest. Rawat asserted Indian forces will leave no stone unturned to safeguard the country’s frontiers. Rawat said that the stealth frigate, to be named ‘Himgiri’, will provide a major boost to the Indian Navy’s defense preparedness.

INS Himgiri was laid down on 10 November 2018 and within 25 months GRSE launched the frigates for sea trials. She was expected to induct into the service of the Indian Navy by 2023. Project 17A or the Nilgiri-Class frigates is the follow-on of the Project 17 Shivalik-class frigates for the Indian Navy. Under this project, a total of 7 stealth frigates will be built by two Shipyards in India. The contract with two Shipyards was signed in 2015 at Rs 45,000 crore (6.3 Billion USD) by the government of India. The indigenous offshore patrol vessel project was launched by the prime minister on November 13, 2016. Since then, two vessels have been commissioned and all five have been launched. The Saksham and its sister ships were designed entirely by Goa Shipyard Limited.

The original Nilgiri-class ships were updated versions of the British Leander class frigates. The new ones are to be named as so — INS Nilgiri, INS Himgiri, INS Udaygiri, INS Dunagiri, INS Taragiri, INS Vindhyagiri, and finally, INS Mahendragiri. A total of seven such advanced stealth warships have been planned. Four of them will be developed by the state-owned Mazagon Dock Ltd. (MDL) in Mumbai, while the other three are to be built by the GRSE in Kolkata.

The Nilgiri-class frigates have a Displacement of 6,670 tonnes, powered with 2 x MAN Diesel 12V28/33D STC engines capable of generating 6000 kW each. The ships were also fitted with 2 General Electric LM2500 gas turbine engines to reduce acoustic signature. INS Himgiri can cruise at a speed of 28 knots and it has a range of around 4,600 KM. The ship was fitted with Israeli EL/M-2248 MF-STAR S-band Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, capable of tracking at the range of around 250-480 KM. The ship’s model next to the iconic Bandra Worli Sealink highlights the contribution of the Indian navy towards safeguarding the maritime frontiers of the nation.

Mumbai is the home of the Western Fleet, showcasing the Maritime Connect strong bonds the Indian Navy shares with the city. INS Himgiri incorporates indigenous sensors like HUMSA-NG (Next Generation) bow sonar, Ajanta EW (Electronic Warfare) suite by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), and Kavach decoy launcher by Ordnance Factory Board. The P17A ships are armed with Barak 8 Surface to Air Missiles and BrahMos Supersonic cruise missiles. It can also carry 2 HAL Dhruv or Sea King helicopters in its hanger.

Amplifying the stealth measures, the Project 17A-class will have a covered mooring deck and the number of antennae on the ship will be reduced using the EL/M-2248 MF-STAR multi-function Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. It will also brandish the Ajanta Electronic Warfare (EW) system and the HUMSA-NG Sonar system. The construction of the first ship started in 2017, and all of them are expected to be delivered by 2022 at an anticipated cost of over Rs 45,000 crore in total. Each vessel is supposed to cost over Rs 4,000 crore.