Heavyweight Shivalik can fire from close range and scoot

INS 'Shivalik' at the Mazagon Dock

India added new fire power and muscle to its Navy when Defence Minister A K Antony formally launched INS 'Shivalik' -- the S-class Frigate -- at the Mazagon Dock on Thursday. The Shivalik is a multirole stealth ship incorporating advanced signature suppression and signature management features along with both air defence and anti-sub marine capabilities.

The 6200-kg INS Shivalik is the first indigenous stealth frigate that will join the Navy and will provide the sea wing the capability to launch surprise attacks on enemy target from very close range than other warships. Satellites can give inputs to the frigate on lurking enemy vessels and Shivalik can creep as close as possible to the target without being detected. It can then fire and scoot.

In fact, during sea trials, Indian battleships that tried trailing Shivalik could not detect it on their radar within a radius of 100 km.

Shivalik is one of the heaviest frigates in the world. Powering the ship is the LM 2500 Gas Turbine engines that can give it an enviable top speed in excess of 30 knots, enabling it to shoot and scoot at an impressive rate. The option to switch over the diesel engines gives the warship an endurance of over 9,000 km and it can sail non-stop without refueling for a month.

Shivalik will carry surface-to-surface Klub missile, surface-to-air Shtil and point defence Barak missile system. Though it does not torpedoes it has Sea King attack helicopters that can launch anti-submarine warfare.

Shivalik is designed in such a way that it has reduced radar reflections, changed geometry of structures on top, very few projections on the upper deck that is normally a giveaway for other fighter ships, muffled noise vibration as well as lower magnetic and heat signatures.

"This is one generation ahead of the Talwar class," said M D Suresh, captain of Shivalik.

Measuring 142.5 mt from bow to stern, Shivalik has a range of about 5,000 nautical miles at a cruising speed of 18 knots. On board manning the frigate would be 257 naval men, which includes 35 officers and 222 sailors. It can be at sea for almost a month without touching a port or mid-sea refuelling.

On major plus pointis that Shivalik can operate in a nuclear, biological, chemical weapons (NBC) environment. Its air filters do not allow any outside air to come inside in a NBC zone.