The INS Shivalik (F47) represents an indigenous guided missile frigate currently serving the Indian Navy (2013). The vessel was ordered in 1999 and saw its keel laid down on July 11th, 2001 by shipbuilder Mazagon Dock Limited. She was then launched to sea on April 18th, 2003 and, after completing the requisite sea trials, commissioned on April 29th, 2010 as the INS Shivalik (F47). While of a largely arrangement design, the Shivalik is an advanced, all-modern warship serving in a multi-role nature within the ranks of the Indian Navy. As such, she is appropriately fielded with a collection of electronic suites and applicable armament to counter most any available threat. Frigates generally are granted strong speed qualities and maneuverability to allow the ship classes to compete in a variety of roles and, in this way, the Shivalik does not disappoint.
The INS Shivalik is the lead-ship of her Shivalik-class numbering three. The class includes the INS Satpura (F48) and the Sahyadri (F49) and was born through a late 1990s Indian Navy initiative which sought to build a modern missile frigate in the 5,000 ton displacement range utilizing stealth features. When completed, the INS Shivalik provided the Indian Navy with several "firsts" - the first "stealth-minded" warship and the first to utilize a CODOG (COmbined Diesel Or Gas) propulsion arrangement. While indigenous in her construction, she does feature systems of Italian, Russian, Israeli and American in origin.
The vessel is outfitted with an array of advanced processing and sensor systems led by the MR-760 series Fregat M2EM 3D radar. There are four MR-90 Orekh radar suites and Elta of Israel has supplied the EL/M-2238 3D-STAR ("Surveillance and Threat Alert Radar") air/surface search radar facility as well as the EL/M-2221 STGR system. Undersea threats are tracked by way of a bow-mounted sonar array (HUMSA) and a towed array is provided by Thales. BEL Ajanta has provided the Shivalik's Electronic Warfare (EW) suite.
As a multi-role warship, the INS Shivalik is fielded with a varying group of armament options to content with aerial, surface and underwater threats. There is an Italian 3" OTO-Breda autocannon serving as a dual-purpose deck gun while primary armament for the guided missile frigate is an 8 x cell "Klub" Vertical Launch System (VLS) missile bay containing the Klub anti-ship/anti-cruise missile. The 3M-54 Klub is Russian in origin and a proven weapon system across Russian Navy warships and submarines. The Klub missile cell can be substituted with the "BrahMos" missile type, the BrahMos being a supersonic cruise missile developed jointly between Russia (NPO Mashinostroeyenia) and India (DRDO). Torpedoes are launched through 2 x DTA-53-056 torpedo launchers. Additional anti-submarine weaponry includes 2 x RBU-6000 (RPK-8) anti-submarine rocket launchers (of Russian origin). Up to 24 x medium-ranged "Shtil-1" missiles can be carried, these based on the Soviet-era "Buk" air defense series. For point defense, the Shivalik is equipped with the Israeli "Barak" short-ranged surface-to-air missile (SAM) Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) and 2 x AK-630 (Russian) turreted CIWSs.
Structurally, the INS Shivalik displaces at 6,800 short tons and features a running length of 468 feet, a beam of 55 feet and a draught of 15 feet. She is crewed by 257 personnel of which 35 represent officers. The forecastle is relatively clear of obstructions while the deck gun precedes all other structures in the line. A Vertical Launch Missile (VLS) cell is located aft of the deck gun while the bridge is mounted atop the forward portion of the superstructure. A mast is fitted at amidships in the usual manner and there is a smoke funnel aft of amidships. Another mast is noted aft of the funnel. The hangar completes the superstructure to which a helicopter flight deck is set over the stern. The stern of the INS Shivalik can launch and retrieve medium-class naval helicopters - either transports or Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) types or similar. Typically these are Westland "Sea King" types though, more recently, HAL Dhruvs have been identified. The INS Shivalik can support two such helicopters.
As referenced earlier, the INS Shivalik relies on a "CODOG" (COmbined Diesel Or Gas) propulsion arrangement where there are 2 x Pielstick 16 PA6 STC diesel engines (outputting at 15,200 shaft horsepower) coupled to 2 x General Electric LM2500+ gas turbines (outputting at 33,600 shaft horsepower). The CODOG arrangement mates the power of both engine types through use of reduction gearboxes and a series of clutches while driving the twin propeller shafts in a more efficient manner. Diesels can be used for basic cruising while the gas turbine can be brought into play for bursts of high speed. This, therefore, provides the Shivalik with a maximum speed of 32 knots on full and 22 knots on just diesel power.
In keeping with modern naval development, the INS Shivalik takes careful consideration of "stealth" features throughout her design. Spans of hand rails are purposefully limited and all major side profile panels along the superstructure are well-contoured into the hull sides. Masts are of the enclosed pyramidal type and the smoke funnels are enclosed low profile projections.
The INS Shivalik took part in "JIMEX 2012" (Japan-India Maritime EXercise) which saw a small collection of Indian Navy warships work in conjunction with a small collection of Japanese warships (no doubt planning against any future Chinese aggression). A visit by the INS Shivalik to Tokyo was included. In June of 2012, she berthed at Shanghai and undertook a minor exercise with Chinese Naval forces in the South China Sea. After a few goodwill stops across Southeast Asia, the INS Shivalik returned to Indian waters.