India bought two mothballed Project 11356 warships from Russia

Russia has signed contracts with India to construct four Project 11356 frigates for the Indian Navy, according to In a joint statement by the Indian Navy and Russia’s Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation.

Tass news agency reported Russia held negotiations with the Indian side on the contract to acquire four Project 11356 frigates. The Indian media said that the government of India wanted to buy four Russian frigates that would be built in the 2+2 format. Russia would transfer two ex-warships built at Russia’s Yantar Shipyard on the Baltic coast and the other two at India’s Goa Shipyard.

Project 11356 warships are docked at Russia’s Baltic Coast Yantar Shipyard without engines. Two of these warships sold to India.

India’s Ministry of Defence signed a $950 million deal with Russia to purchase two Admiral Grigorovich frigates which will be built in Russia’s Baltic Coast Yantar Shipyard, Janes reported on October 29. As of last month, negotiations over price and technology transfer were still ongoing for the two ships to be built in Goa Shipyard.

The new agreement between Russian state exporter Rosoboronexport and Goa Shipyard Limited for two ships is for $500 million. However, a government official said that includes only the “foreign content,” including material, design and assistance, Hindustan Times reported. The final cost of the two ships has yet to be determined, according to the report.

According to the Indian defense ministry, the deal includes the transfer of technology and the frigates will be outfitted with India’s BrahMos supersonic cruise missile system.

The dismal condition of Russian shipbuilding industries

India bought ex-Admiral Istomin, and ex-Admiral Butakov built under Project 11356. The Project 11356 frigates are fitted with Ukrainian engines developed and produced by the Ukrainian Zorya-Mashproekt design bureau. Before the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, the company managed to deliver three sets of gas turbines, which are now used by the Project 11356 frigates.

In 2015, the then Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, Viktor Chirkov said that due to the supply of engines by Ukraine, the Russian fleet would abandon these ships if it would not be possible to manufacture gas turbines at Russian enterprises.

NPO Saturn gave the task to develop an engine to replace the Ukrainian one in 2016. As an option, Russia will redesign the ships for the existing power plants produced by NPO Saturn. However, the Rybinsk enterprise could not solve the problems that arose with the manufacture of individual units and mechanisms, and therefore the Project 11356 frigates were mothballed.

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As a result, two ships, “Admiral Istomin” and “Admiral Kornilov”, are being transfer to the Indian Navy, which will have no problems getting the “original” Ukrainian engines. India signed an agreement with Ukrainain “Zorya-Mashproekt”.

The relations between India and Ukraine in this regard are very fruitful. On September 12, 2019, Zorya-Mashproekt signed contracts with the Indian Ministry of Defense to supply gas turbine equipment. The range of supplies includes gas turbine engines, gearboxes and spare parts kits for ships of the Indian Navy.

In general, more than 150 Ukrainian-made gas turbine engines are still in operation on Indian ships. Not surprisingly, there is an agreement between the company and the Indian Ministry of Defense to overhaul and maintain existing engines.

In 2019, the Indian enterprise Goa Shipyard Limited began construction of new Talvar-class frigates, which were previously built in Russia at the Yantar enterprise in Kaliningrad.

The Project 11356 frigates, a class of warships without engines, is flawed with design problems.

It is a pity that the Russian shipbuilding industry cannot become fully autonomous and build ships of any class entirely independently. Russia is far behind China and Turkey in terms of shipbuilding capacity.  Russia lacks drydocks and shipyards to produce warships over 4,000 tonnes, such as destroyers or aircraft carriers.

In general, Russia said goodbye to Project 11356 frigates irrevocably.

Project 11356 frigates are designed to patrol exclusive economic zones, can perform the anti-shipping role. The warships of this type are armed with A-190 100mm artillery guns, anti-ship missile and air defense systems, including Kalibr and Shtil complexes and torpedo tubes. The frigates displace 3,620 tonnes, are 124.8 meters long, develop a speed of 30 knots and have an operating range of 4,850 miles.

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