An agreement on the sale of three Admiral Grigorovich-class (Project 11356) guided missile frigates has been reached by Russia and India.
An agreement on the sale of three Admiral Grigorovich-class (Project 11356) guided missile frigates, two of which are currently under construction, has been reached by Russia and India, the IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly information website reported on Thursday.
“The relevant concealed agreement has been achieved, and India will receive the second three of Project 11356 frigates being built for the Russian Navy,” a source within Russia’s defense industry said. “The Indian side has obtained 12 spare tool and accessory kits for the ships.”
The development is consistent with suspicions that plans to add six to nine Admiral Grigorovich-class vessels to the Russian fleet over the next decade, as was laid out in the initial 2030 shipbuilding program, have been abandoned by the Russian Navy.
The reason of the suspicions for Russia’s decision to export the three ships is the fact that the Admiral Grigorovich is powered by M90FR gas turbines, which are manufactured by Zorya-Mashproekt in Ukraine, a premier Russian surface shipbuilder dating back to the Soviet era.
As a result of the conflict in Ukraine, an export ban has been imposed against Russia. While the Russia’s defense industry is currently working on developing an indigenous replacement to the Ukrainian turbine engine, the delay does not allow to produce more Admiral Grigorovich-class vessels for the Russian naval fleet at the present time. However, Russia purchased a total of three M90FR gas turbines prior to the imposition of the export ban.
The Russian aircraft engine manufacturer, NPO Saturn, was awarded with a contract to develop and test a domestically-produced replacement for the M90FR turbine engine by 2017. However, according to defense industry analysts, the new propulsion system may not be ready until sometime in 2019.
Ukraine did not impose the export ban against India, so, New Delhi would be able to directly purchase M90FR gas turbine engines from Kiev and could make the ships operational in short order.
The export agreement for the guided missile frigates still has not been officially confirmed by India or Russia. However, the fact that discussions towards a deal were underway, has been previously confirmed.
The Admiral Grigorovich class is the latest class of frigates ordered by the Russian Navy for the Black Sea Fleet.
The frigates are based on the Talwar-class frigate, six of which were ordered by the Indian Navy and were built at the same shipyard. The Talwar class is in turn based on the Burevestnik-class frigates. The contract for the construction of three frigates is to be completed in four years. The lead ship, Admiral Grigorovich was laid down on 18 December 2010 and was expected to be in service 34 months from that date (October 2013).
The class’s original gas turbines were made by Ukrainian state-owned enterprise Zorya-Mashproekt. The company was a center of Soviet maritime gas turbine design and production. The last three vessels remain without engines as of November–December 2014.