Next week the Indian Navy will launch the first of the P-17A ships which have been named ‘Nilgiri’ as a follow on to the first-ever frigate which was built by Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL), Mumbai, way back in the early ’70s.
With the latest technology fitted onboard, these multi-role P-17A ships are expected to play a critical role in the ever-evolving international maritime scenario, especially with Chinese naval power projection rapidly growing as an influence within Indian Ocean Region.
“The P17A is the follow-on of earlier P-17 Shivalik class ‘first indigenously’ constructed stealth warships which are already in operations with Indian Navy” explained a top Indian Naval officer.
In all, seven ships of P-17 A with advanced stealth capability has been ordered by the Indian Navy, with the ship, construction to take place at MDL (for four) and GRSE, Kolkata (for three). The MDL had laid the keel for the first Project 17A ship in December 2017, and GRSE did in Nov 2018 for its part of work share and has involved almost 2100 MSMEs in this project.
Weapon Systems onboard
The ships are expected to have a mix of Weapon systems which have been sourced from Russia, Israel and some have been locally manufactured in India.
According to a top naval officer, the weapon suite includes the standard contemporary weapons so as to achieve seamlessly inter-operability with other Fleet Task Force ships. The main weapon and sensor suite of P-17A ships indicated are BrahMos SSM, LRSAM (Forward & Aft configuration) with MF STAR radar, indigenous Sonar, and Triple tube Heavy Torpedo launcher.
What is the stealth feature onboard these ships?
Explaining what the technologies onboard these ships mean, Milind Kulshreshtha, Artificial Intelligence, and C4I expert says:
The main advanced stealth features of P-17A pertain to smaller Radar cross-section of the ship achieved through the use of special super structure shape which reduces radar wave reflections.
Another important feature is regarding the ship’s low acoustic noise emanating from propellers, operating machinery like Diesel Generators etc., which helps sonars on other ships to detect its presence.
Such stealth features play an important role in improving ship’s survivability in any hostile environment during operations.