Project-17A: India’s Trump Card against Chinese Ships in Indian Ocean

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With the main focus on concealment of weapon and sensor systems, this rendition of a possible P-17A ship is the most closest to the final design. Credits to Owners

Indian Navy is recently pacing forward in terms of modernization lagged down over the years. With Chinese presence increasing in the Indian Ocean region, Indian Navy is bound to protect her nation’s interests.

Indian Navy achieved significant arsenal boost when in 2012, it commissioned into service the first series of Stealth Frigates constructed in India. The project was named ‘Project 17’ and the government soon realised the importance of Stealth Frigates and gave a go-ahead for a meaner, stealthier Shivalik class ship- the ‘Project 17A’.

PROJECT 17A

With the main focus on concealment of weapon and sensor systems, this rendition of a possible P-17A ship is the most closest to the final design. Credits to Owners

Project-17A consists of a series of seven ships, as a follow-up to the Shivalik/Project-17 series. It will be a more refined version of Shivalik class and are expected to be bigger, faster and stealthier than its predecessor.

The seven ships of the series will be built in Mazagon Docks Ltd, Mumbai and GRSE, Kolkata (4x by MDL and 3X by GRSE). Having built many leading ships for the Indian Navy, GRSE and MDL are the perfect choices for India to showcase its ship building prowess.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

INS SATPURA, a Shivalik class frigate during Ex-Malabar. Credits to Owners
  • Type: Multirole Guided-Missile Frigate
  • Displacement: 6,670 tonnes (6,560 long tons/7,350 short tons)
  • Length: 149m
  • Beam: 17.8m
  • Draft: 5.22m
  • Depth: 9.9m
  • Powerplant: CODOG, 2x MAN DIESEL 12V28/33D STC (each producing 6000kW) & 2x GE LM2500 Turbine.
  • Max Speed: 52kmph/28kn
  • Range: 1,000 nmi/1,900 km at Max Speed & 5,500 nmi/10,200 km at Cruise Speed{30-33kmp/16-18kn}

SENSOR SYSTEMS

A pic highlighting the sensors and weapon systems of ‘Shivalik’ class frigates. P-17A will have some key changes from this current configuration. Credits to owners

SInce the project is very high profile, very little is known to the public. We can make some intelligent guesses about the systems but without concrete evidence they are still guesses.

The Shivalik class employed the trustworthy and a staple of India Navy’s submarine detection efforts, the BEL-HUMSA NG sonar. We can assume that the P-17A ships would also employ the same.

Another key piece of sensor we are sure will be aboard the ships is the Israeli IAI-ELTA EL/M-2248MF-STAR AESA radar. This will compliment the surveillance and also as Fire Control Radar for the BARAK-8 SAMs onboard the ship.

The Shivalik class employed key BEL EW(electronic Warfare) systems like BEL Ellora EW Suite. P-17A will see a much advanced BEL Ajanta EW suite.

It can be speculated that the ship will have some other advanced sensor suite to suit the role it is going to play in the Indian Ocean.

ARMAMENT

  • BARAK-8 : Indo-Israeli SAM system deemed as one of the best in the world would see its place in P-17A as well. The ship would house 4x Quad BARAK-8 launcher, two mounted mounted forward while another two are installed with two clusters mounted forward and two mounted abaft the funnel. There was some news that under development LR-SAM will find a place, but with no news of LR-SAM, BARAK-8 would be the prime choice.
BARAK-8 firing test from a Kolkata Class destroyer. Credits: Indian Navy
  • BRAHMOS: The nightmare of foreign warships, the Indo-Russian BRAHMOS will be a sure factor in the series. A 8 cell VLS (Vertical Launch System) would be provided to rain terror over enemy with Brahmos’s speed and accuracy.
  • Other armament include a forward mounted Oto Melara 127mm Naval Gun, 2x AK-630M CIWS for Close Air Defense, 2x RBU-6000 rocket launchers & 2x Triple tube Torpedo launchers for ASW(Anti-Submarine Warfare) role.
It would be interesting to see Ka-226 helos to fit the role of future SAR helos onboard the Indian Navy ships. Credits in pic
  • Aircrafts: 2x (HAL Dhruv or Sea KIng or Ka-27)

KEY FEATURES

  • Signature Reduction: The emphasis of Indian Navy would be on reducing the ship’s overall signature. Much effort has gone into managing 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/Shivalik ships. 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 for underwater noise studies.
  • Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS): This technology is used to monitor and manage the ship as a whole, from its propulsion to electrical to auxillary systems, this tech allows the captain to have his attention everywhere. This also allows for better automation reducing manpower and increasing the serviceability of the ship.
  • Modular Integrated Construction is used to reduce construction time.

After everything we have seen, it can be said with surety that this ship will be quantum leap in India’s sea-keeping abilities. It will be a huge boost to Indian Army efforts in safekeeping her nation’s interest and also takes Indian Navy a step closer to being a Blue Water Navy.