Due To The Conflict In Ukraine, Russia Delivered Two Stealth Frigates Six Months Later Than Planned

Due to the conflict in Ukraine, delivery of the two Krivak or Talwar-class stealth frigates being built in Russia for the Indian Navy could be delayed by up to six months. Alexey Rakhmanov, Director-General of United Shipbuilding Corporation of Russia, the first frigate is now anticipated to be delivered by November 2023 and the second by April 2024.

Earlier, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a schedule delay of approximately nine months. In October 2021, the Tushil frigate became operational.

“We anticipate a six-month delay at most, mostly because some of the equipment we ordered has been subject to sanctions… We don’t notice any production problems whatsoever. No additional problems are anticipated. Because we respect our relationships with our customers so much, we work to minimise delays caused by force majeure situations that became apparent starting in February of this year, Mr. Rakhmanov told the visiting media at the ongoing Army-2022 show.

In response to inquiries about payment-related concerns, he recognised that they have “some annoyance” and that they are more complex and expensive, but not impossible. “The dollar can only be sustained by fixing rates… We are more than happy to talk about the contracts in rubles, rupees, or other regional moneys,” he continued.

Rupee-Rouble arrangement

India and Russia have decided to carry out payments through the Rupee-Rouble arrangement as a result of Russia being barred from using the worldwide SWIFT system for money transactions. There are a lot of payments to be made due to the implementation of various expensive transactions, such as the S-400. Small payments have resumed after significant discussion between the central banks of the two nations. Officials, arrangements for making greater payments are still being worked out.

An Inter-Governmental Agreement for the four stealth frigates was signed by India and Russia in October 2016, and a $1 billion direct purchase agreement followed. The Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) and Rosoboronexport of Russia agreed to a $500 million deal in November 2018 for material, design, and expert help to domestically manufacture the two frigates. The Indian Defence Ministry and GSL inked the contract in January 2019. Engines from the Ukrainian company Zorya Nashproekt power all of the ships.

The GSL will deliver the first ship in 2026 and the second one a year later. Given that the delivery is still a few years away, defence officials expressed confidence that any delays could be made up for.

Construction was held up by COVID-19 for around eight months, and the first of the two Russian ships is expected to arrive by the middle of 2023.

Two frigates were lying in their basic forms at the Yantar shipyard in Russia, which is now being completed. There are currently six of these frigates, each weighing about 4,000 tonnes, in service with the Indian Navy.

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