(This News Article Is Originally Posted on The Print by Snehesh Alex Philip)
India has procured gas turbine engines from Ukraine and handed over to Russia to install them on the Admiral Grigorovich-class guided-missile stealth frigates that are being made for the Indian Navy by a Russian shipyard as part of $2.5 billion deal, ThePrint has learnt.
Sources in the defence and security establishment said the construction of the two frigates by Yantar Shipyard in Russia’s Kaliningrad is going on according to schedule, and the first of the two is expected to be delivered by the end of 2022.
The second vessel is scheduled to be delivered six months later in 2023.
“The engines from Ukraine have been delivered to Russia. The construction of the ship is as per schedule and there has been no impact due to Covid,” a source said, refusing to give a timeline.
The delivery of the engines, manufactured by Ukrainian firm Zorya-Mashproyekt, was also confirmed by a second source.
Following Crimea’s reunification with Russia in 2014, its ties with Ukraine went for a toss and Moscow stopped importing the engines from the Ukranian manufacturer.
India had to, therefore, procure and transfer the same to Russia, which also needed Ukrainian permission that was given in 2016.
India had in 2016 inked an inter-governmental agreement with Russia for four frigates, a follow-on of the Talwar-class vessels, and its contract was signed at the end of 2018.
According to the deal, two ships are to be built in Russia, while the other two to be built at the Goa Shipyard in India with technical collaboration from Russia.
The Yantar Shipyard has also manufactured three of the six Talwar-class frigates that are in service with the Indian Navy.
Admiral Grigorovich-class ships are an upgraded variant of the Talwar-class frigates that were built between 2003 and 2013.
The hulls for the two ships had already been cut for the Russian Navy, but remained mothballed for several years.
Frigate deal faces the threat of American sanctions
ThePrint had in 2019 reported on the progress of the deal after a visit to the shipyard.
Eduard Efimov, general director of the Yantar Shipyard, had said at the time new ships will have 22 new systems, including navigation, communication and weapons.
The frigate deal also faces the prospect of American sanctions if India is unable to secure a waiver.
India is seeking a waiver from the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) on the ground that its military is heavily dependent on Russian equipment and the two countries share a unique, time-tested relationship.
A Reuters report had last week said the United States has told India it is unlikely to get a waiver on its planned acquisition of Russian S-400 air defence systems, raising the risk of sanctions similar to those imposed on Turkey for buying the system.