http://articles.timesofindia.indiat...dia/27301594_1_shtil-krivak-iii-third-frigate Russia delays delivery of 'stealth' frigate to India Rajat Pandit, TNN Nov 13, 2002, 06.26am IST NEW DELHI: Two hundred Indian Navy personnel are twiddling their thumbs in the icy cold of the northern Russian city of St Petersberg waiting to bring home a top-of-the-line 'stealth' frigate. When they left India, they were told by the Russians that the frigate was ready for delivery. On arrival, the Indian team discovered that the frigate's surface-to-air missile system was not performing to their satisfaction. They are now waiting for the Russians to upgrade the system. A similar contingent that had gone to St Petersberg to bring home another frigate of the same class was recalled after a wait of several months. There were similar problems with this frigate and the Indian Navy felt that the crew was serving no purpose there. The two 'Krivak-III' class frigates, INS Talwar and INS Trishul, of the three being built by Russia as part of an estimated billion dollar deal signed in 1997, were earlier expected to join the Indian fleet this year. This is the second major delay in the system. The first occurred because of mismanagement in the shipyard in the initial stages of the project. "More than 400 personnel, with each crew comprising around 20 officers and 180 sailors, were sent in batches to Russia several months ago for training on the two ships. Some officers had left as early as last December. But with the ships not being operationally ready, the INS Trishul crew has been recalled," said a source. "Though hectic negotiations are in progress with the Russians, there is now even talk of repatriating the INS Talwar crew. Besides the cost overruns, the morale of the sailors has taken a big dip," he added. The third frigate, INS Tabar, is expected to be ready for induction only by 2004-05. With several radar signature-reducing features, these frigates were expected to bridge the gap till the indigenous programme to construct 'stealth' warships at the Mazagaon Docks, codenamed 'Project-17', could take off by 2006. "But the 'Shtil' surface-to-air missile system on board the frigates is yet to pass muster. We do not want to accept warships which are not combat-ready. If all goes well, INS Talwar should now be ready for commissioning early next year," said a senior officer. The 'Shtil' medium range multi-target missile complex, once fully ready, is expected to ensure "all-round collective protection" of naval task forces and convoys. It utilises the target-information provided by a '3D circular-scan radar' to intercept anti-ship missiles and aircraft. Officers say the three frigates, basically meant for anti-submarine warfare and air defence of warship groups, are also equipped with a wide array of weapon systems, including eight vertical launch cells for the 'Klub-N' anti-ship and anti-submarine cruise missiles. They are also designed to carry one heavy-duty helicopter like the Kamov-28 Helix-A anti-submarine warfare chopper.