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Logic says India must buy Admiral Kornilov FFG, it is an Admiral Grigorovich-class FFG, also referred to as Krivak V class frigate built by the Yantar Shipyard in Kaliningrad.  6 Krivak V or Admiral Grigorovich-class FFG were to be built for the Russian Navy at Yantar Shipyard to keep the shipyard busy from 2010 onwards so as to complement the Admiral Gorshkov class FFGs that were designed and construction started 2006 onward at Severnaya Verf shipyard.

These 6 Krivak V FFGs were based on the 6 Talwar class FFGs that Indian Navy ordered for itself and heavily customized them as per its own requirements in late 1990s. These ships were built in Russian shipyards of Baltiysky Zavod and Yantar at 3 each from early 2000s, and their engines were supplied by Ukraine. Impressed by the features of Talwar class FFGs that pack lot of punch for their size, Russian Navy decided to order the same FFGs in same configuration and named them Admiral Grigorovich-class FFG.

These 6 ships were ordered for the Russian Black Sea Fleet under two contracts in 2010 and 2011, and just like 6 Talwar class FFGs, Russian Navy too ordered engines for these ships from Ukraine. Everything was going fine and the lead ship of Krivak V / Admiral Grigorovich FFGs was launched with Ukrainian engine in March 2014, but then Russia claimed Crimea and moved in to annex it. Enraged Ukraine which had already supplied engines for Admiral Essen and Admiral Makarov, now decided to stop the supply of engines for the remaining 3half-builtAdmiral Grigorovich FFGs, namely Admiral Butakov, Admiral Istomin andAdmiral Kornilov.

So, while Grigorovich, Essen and Makarov were in advanced stages of construction; construction of Butakov, Istomin and Kornilov was suspended in 2016. While Butakov, Istomin were in various stages of construction, Kornilov was last to be laid down just before Russia had annexed Crimea either in late 2013 or early 2014. Initially it was decided that India will buy the engines from Ukraine and then ship them to Russia.

At first there was delay in tripartite talks, then Ukraine said it will sell the engines only if India bought the ships. Initially Russian Navy opposed the sale of 2 unfinished Grigorovich FFGs to India and set out to develop its own engines, but faced many challenges. Though R&D work on alternative engines continued and most probably the engines developed as such are being used in the Admiral Goshkov class FFGs. However, due to delay in sourcing the engines a vexed Russia decided to sell the Butakov renamed Tushil, and Istomin renamed Tamala to India in 2018 and work on them was restarted in late 2021 as India decided to fund their construction, however Kornilov FFG that was still in early stages of construction was untouched.

Logic says India should buy Kornilov too and fund its construction, as now Russia looks not interested in inducting that ship. Reports say Russia is planning to sell this single ship to a 3rdcountry. If so then it will be huge mistake by that country as its impossible to maintain a single huge ship like Kornilov. Its maintenance will be much easier for India as India Navy already has 8 of them. India and Russia must come together to decide its sale or Kornilov FFG will meet the same fate as Slava class Cruiser ‘Ukraina’ that is now a rusting hulk.

1 More Talwar FFG from GSL

When Russia decided to sell Butakov renamed Tushil, and Istomin renamed Tamala to India in 2018; India insisted on full ToT so that Goa Shipyard Ltd or GSL can build 2 more of these Talwar class or Grigorovich FFGs in India, thus allowing another shipyard to gain capability to build principal surface combatants besides GRSE and MDL. The 1st named INS Triput and 2nd yet unnamed are well under construction that started in 2021.

Now GSL has invested lot of money on setting up infrastructure and HR. As shown above shipyards have built ships in set of 3 as that helps amortize the investment made in infrastructure setup and HR. Logic says building just 2 ships won’t help GSL amortize the investment it has done in the project as such it is important that 1 more Talwar FFG is ordered from GSL.

Do remember it is this same reason that MDL had been requesting for order of 3 additional Scorpène submarine. Thankfully better sense has prevailed and these will be ordered soon. Many will say what is the point in ordering 2 more of these ships when we have had enough with 10 of these. For them an analogy from boxing; here heavyweight boxers are destroyers and middleweight boxers are frigates.

The heavyweight boxers though small in numbers are huge, make more money and name, but its’ the middleweight boxers who number more and are considered more efficient than heavyweight boxers in pound for pound fighting. So, in that context, more the number of efficient frigates we have the better.  As such it is important that 1 more Talwar FFG is ordered from GSL. I hope better sense prevails and this will be ordered soon.

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Article by JOYDEEP GHOSH ,  cannot be republished Partially or Full without consent from Writer or