Project 17 (Shivalik) Class

Project Update:

Shivalik (Yard12617) was handed over to the Navy by MDL on 30March2010 and commissioned on 29April2010. Her commissioining CO is Captain MD Suresh.

Satpura (Yard 12727) is set to be commissioned on August 20, 2011 - several months after the planned commissioning in November, 2010

Sayhadri (Yard 12737) is in the final stages of fitting out. Delivery is set for late 2011 with a commissioning in early 2012.

Vessel Type: Multi-Mission Frigate.

Commissioning dates:

Shivalik F47 (ex Yard 12617); Laid Down - 11 July 2001, Launched - 18 April 2003, Commissioning - 29 April 2010

Satpura F48 (Yard 12727); Laid Down - 31 Oct 2002, Launched - 04 June 2004, Commissioning - planned for Nov 2010, then July 2011, now August 20, 2011

Sahyadri F49 (Yard 12637); Laid Down - 17 March 2003, Launched - 27 May 2005, Commissioning - planned for May 2011.

Displacement: 5300 tons - standard displacement, 6115-6200 tons - full load.

Dimensions: Length - 142.5 metres.
.................Beam - 16.9 metres.
.................Draught - 4.5 metres.
.................Moulded Depth - 9.2 metres.

Maximum Speed: 30+ knots for GT operations. Maximum cruising speed of 22 knots on diesels.

Complement: 257 (incl. 35 officers)

The Project 17 (P17) standard frigate (and the follow-on P-17A) will be the Indian Navy's new stealthy multi-role surface combatant for the 21st century. Cabinet approval for this project was given in 1997, followed by a Letter of Intent (LoI) to the ship's builders, Mazagon Docks Limited (MDL) in February 1998. The Indian Navy formally ordered the first three units in early 1999. However, production commenced about two years later due to delays resulting from specification changes to the hull steel and protracted delivery schedule of the Russian-sourced D-40S steel along with the non-availability of design inputs from the Naval Design Bureau (NDB) for the weapons suite. Construction of the first P17 frigate, Yard 12617, commenced with plate cutting on 18 December 2000, keel laying  on 11 July 2001, and launching on 18 April 2003.

The P17 was conceived entirely by the naval architects at DND circa 1994 and, contrary to what has been written earlier on these pages, it is completely Indian and predates that of the Russian P1135.6 Talwar {Krivak III} Class frigates by some years. Russia's Severnoye Project Design Bureau (Severnoye Proyektno-Konstruktorskoye Bjuro - SPKB) was responsible for the weapons integration on the P-17.

The reason for the similar appearance of the Talwar and P-17 is two fold: DND provided guidance to SPKB for Radar Cross Section (RCS) reduction studies for the Pr.1135.6 design. Secondly, since the weapons package was very similar for both ships, the forward arrangements are similar. Other than that, the two ships are very different.

These ships are approximately 143 meters long, with a beam of 17 meters. Displacement is greater than initial estimates by almost 800 tons. Maximum speed is 30+ knots. With respect to the P1135.6 design, the P17 is about 17 metres longer, 2 metres wider and displaces about a thousand tons more. Other important differences are in the propulsion system (CODOG vs. COGOG), number of embarked helicopters (two vs. one) and in the combat systems i.e weapons, sensor and CAIO suite.

CAE (now L-3 India) acted as the overall platform functional integrator, which is a landmark since this is the first time a Western company has been put in charge of a vital Indian Navy project. Alsthom of France was engaged as the Propulsion System  (PSI) but this deal fell though for various reasons. In the end, MDL had to learn to do this critical task themselves. The learning curve was steep and there were delays but the shipyard has gained very valuable expereince and critical skill sets in the process.

The vessel's complement is around 257 (including 35 officers), which is a considerable improvement over present Indian Navy surface combatants of similar tonnage and results from the use of increased automation of many shipboard equipment and systems.

Signature Reduction

The P17 has far more signature reduction features than previously seen on Indian Navy warships. Because of its relatively cluttered upperworks, topside RCS has been minimized to the extent possible given the existing weapon/sensor configuration. However, much effort has gone into signature management of IR, acoustic, vibration and magnetic signatures.  Canada's Davis Engineering provided Infra-Red Suppression System (IRSS) design tools & training to the Indian Navy for the P17 ships and this will help the ships in having a lower IR (infra-red) signature. The Canadian IRSS is the most effective IR signature reduction device in service today. The German RAMSES Radar Cross Section (RCS) prediction software was used to optimize the RCS signature for this design. UK's DERA was appointed consultant ofr underwater noise studies. All machinery is mounted on noise and vibration proof mounts to reduce acoustic and vibration signatures. RAM, ROOT and RTM have been used extensively.

Propulsion & Machinery Systems

The vessel features a CODOG (COmbined Diesel Or Gas Turbine) propulsion plant featuring two General Electric LM 2500 IEC (Integrated Engine Controls) Marine Gas Turbines and two S.E.M.T. Pielstick 16 PA6 STC diesel engines driving two Controllable Pitch Propellers (CPP) through two Renk gearboxes.

The CPP and associated shafting are being supplied by John Crane-LIPS (Netherlands) through their Indian partner, Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL). The LM2500 plant is rated at approximately 18,000 kW (24,000+ hp) and would be assembled by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). The Pielstick 16 PA6 STC is a sequentially turbo-charged 16 cylinder engine rated at a maximum power of 5700 kW (7600+ hp) at 1084 rpm while fulfilling strict requirements in terms of environmental conditions, ship attitude, shock, noise, vibrations and emissions.

The order for the first three ship sets of two 16 PA6 STC engines was placed by MDL to the Pielstick Indian licensee, Kirloskar Oil Engines Ltd. (KOEL) at the beginning of 2000. The first two engines will be manufactured in France by S.E.M.T. Pielstick, while the subsequent engines will be manufactured in India by KOEL in their Nasik engine plant. Steering gear and stabilizers are supplied by Veljan Hydair.

Renk of Germany supplied the gearboxes through their Indian partner, Elecon. This is understood to be a breakthrough for Renk since the Indian Navy uses gearboxes from their competitor, MAAG. Designed to reduce the structure borne noise levels to evade sonar detection, this is the first gearbox built in India to such high standards. The gearbox transmits 22.37 MW from gas turbine in combat mode and transmits 5.18 MW from diesel engine in cruising mode.

Each frigate has four WCM 1000/5 DG sets (providing four megawatts of power) comprising Cummins KTA50G3 diesel engines and one Kirloskar AC generator (providing 1 MW of power), mounted in IACL supplied acoustic enclosures. These plants will be considerably more sophisticated than the units supplied for the Talwar Class.  Wartsila India Limited was awarded a contract by MDL for twelve 1 MW DG sets with enclosures for the three frigates. These shipsets were delivered to MDL at the rate of one per year commencing 31 October 2002.

The DG sets were assembled at Wartsila Khopoli Plant. All the components of the DG sets are bought-out items. Engines are being procured from Cummins' Pune plant, alternators are from KEC Bangalore plant and acoustic enclosures are being procured from IAC Limited, U.K. Other peripherals are being procured from Wartsila Denmark. The integration, assembly and 'Factory Acceptance Test' was done at Khopoli under Wartsila Denmark's supervision. The assembled sets were then shipped to MDL.

These DG units will be housed in special acoustic enclosures supplied by IAC Ltd. In addition to containing the noise emissions of the diesel generators sets, the enclosures have an exceptionally lightweight design and are fully able to withstand severe shock loadings - both essential features in a military environment. Rapid, all-round access to the diesel generators is another key requirement. IAC has therefore developed an ingenious new captive sliding assembly to support all of the enclosure's side wall panels, allowing them to be removed and stowed safely to one side in just a few seconds. IAC worked closely with Wartsila (Denmark and India), the Indian Navy itself and MDL for this program.

Switchboards for the machinery and electrical systems are being supplied by G.E. Power Controls in Bangalore.
Larsen & Toubro Engineering provides the helicopter land grid for the vessel, which is a local derivative of the French Samahé helicopter handling system.


In October 2001, CAE of Canada was awarded a contract by MDL and the Indian Navy to act as the overall platform functional integrator and supplier of the Integrated Machinery Control System (IMCS) for the three P17 Class frigates. CAE India and CAE Montreal will jointly manage this program jointly. One hopes that MDL will use this opportunity to acquire state-of-the-art technologies and methods and use them well for the next generation of warship designs.

The IMCS uses CAE's Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS) technology to monitor and control the platform machinery of a ship, including propulsion, electrical, damage control and auxiliary machinery and other systems. It also provides advanced automation for enhanced operational effectiveness and survivability of the ship. It also provides advanced functionality such as on-board training, equipment health monitoring and comprehensive automation for enhanced operational effectiveness and survivability of the ship. CAE's IPMS is the world's first and leading digital control system for naval ships. The state-of-the-art system represents a significant step for the Indian Navy. In the meanwhile, CAE has recently delivered an electronic Gas Turbine Controller to HAL to test the General Electric LM 2500 IEC Marine Gas Turbines.

The Battle Damage Control System (BDCS) is a functional part of the IPMS although the actual hardware may not quite be on a par with the latest Western warships. However, the Damage Control system is much improved over current Indian Navy combatants.


The main gun on the P17 is a 76.2 mm Super Rapid Gun Mount (SRGM) made under license from OTO Melara of Italy. In the air defence role, a combination of missiles and guns will be used. For medium range anti-air coverage, a single 3S-90 launcher mount for the Shtil 1 SAM system with 24 missiles is employed. The Shtil SAM system fires the 9M317E missile. Maximum engagement are greater than 32 km. For anti-ship missiles, the maximum engagement range is reduced to 10 to 12 km. Four targets can be simultaneously engaged, one with each 3R90 director.

For the CIWS (Close In Weapon System) role, the ship was originally designed for two Kashtan Air Defence Gun/Missile mounts but this has since been superseded by the now standard Barak + AK 630M comination. 

As with the Talwar Class, long range strike weapons are Klub-N family of missiles in eight vertical launch cells. For ASW, twin RBU-6000 launcher firing 90R and RGB-60 rockets are fitted. Curiously, there are no onboard torpedo launchers. Given the flexibility of the Klub system, it is entirely possible that 91RE2 ASW missile may be employed for anti-submarine operations. Two Sea King sized helicopters can be embarked for ASW and ASuW duties.


The sensor suite is primarily comprised of Russian, Israeli, and Indian equipment. The main air search and targeting radar for the Shtil SAM system is a foremast-mounted MR-760 Fregat M2EM 3-D air search radar. Fire control guidance and target illumination for the Shtil SAM system is provided by four 3R-90 Orekh (NATO: Front Dome) radars. Fire control for the 76mm SRGM and the CIWS is provided by two Elta EL/M 2221 directors - mounted atop the bridge and aft on a platform atop the hangar. Fire control radar for the SSMs is by a Garpun Bal. A new Israeli radar, the long range version of the Elta 2238,  AMDR-ER is fitted. One mast mounted Bharat Electronics EON-51 EO director for gunfire control as well as two M22E telesights for the Shtil system are fitted.

The sonar suite has a BEL made HUMSA (Hull Mounted Sonar Array) and an ATAS, which may be a derivative of the Thales Sintra towed array systems. Composite engineering defence contractor W & J Tod Limited of the United Kingdom secured a second major contract in 2004 from the Indian Navy to build keel-mounted sonar domes for the Project 17 frigates.

This latest contract was a follow-up to the Shivalik contract awarded in January 2003. The company announced that it was awarded two separate contracts to build sonar domes, fairings and directing gear for the P17 frigates. The company has worked with the Indian Navy on the development of composite and stealth components.

Electronic warfare (EW) suite is the powerful Ellora system with active jamming capability against multiple threats. Ellora is replacing the Ajanta EW family on IN vessels. The Kavach decoy launchers are locally designed and built by OFB.

Navigation systems comprise two BEL RASHMI (Radar Aid for InSHore and Harbor Manoeuvring in I-band) and three COTS navigation radars.  Transas ECDIS is standard on these and other Navy ships.

A notable feature on these ships is the completely integrated ship data and communication management network.  AISDN-17 ties in all shipboard functions using several Versatile consoles -VCS Mk2. The communication grid is built around a Gigabit Ethernet-based integrated ship borne data network, with a fibre optic cable backbone running through the vessel.

The Combat Management System (CMS-17) is a locally developed system (by WESEE) with stand alone Russian consoles that connect to the CMS though interface units. The architecture of CMS-17 is a major improvement over legacy Indian developed systems

A large portion of the communications system, CCS Mk2, is of Indian origin with equipment coming from BEL and elsewhere. A Link 2 datalink is standard equipment.

Habitability standards are luxurious to the extent that the modular Godrej- Boyce supplied living quarters are spacious, and heads (washrooms)  are very well appointed, much like a boutique hotel.

It is clear that considerable effort has been made to transfer technologies from foreign partners to Indian companies. However, one must take statements regarding the level of indigenization, typically 60-70%, on board the P17 frigates with a grain of salt.  In any project of this magnitude, it is helpful to keep in mind that the process of indigenization is a gradual one and is certainly dependent on how one defines 'Indian made equipment'. If one were to adhere to the definition of indigenous equipment as 'designed & made in India', then very little of the equipment would qualify as such.

All in all, this is a very capable warship. It is a generation ahead of extant warships in Indian naval service. It's design also serves as a basis for future surface combatants going forward. It will be more than adequate to counter regional threats and to protect India's vital sea lanes.

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