Indian Navy – Russian Origin Platforms

Ukraine related sanctions on the Russian defence industry are expected to have a secondary impact on India, rendering difficult in maintaining Russian aircraft carriers, ships, submarines, aircraft and helicopters.

In addition, inductions planned from Russia are also likely to face delays due to several factors such as denial of critical components such as chips, microelectronics and payments for the same.

Presently the Indian Navy has one Rajput Class Guided Missile Destroyer with two having been retired from service.

Six Talwar Class Frigates and a replenishment oil ship the INS Jyoti.

Indian Navy’s largest float - INS Vikramaditya is of Russian origin. The carrier flies the MiG-29K fighter jets which are of Russian origin.

There have been several issues related to serviceability of the MiG 29 K which have been reported in the thus these will require sustained support by the OEM Mikoyan which is however under sanctions.

India’s second aircraft carrier – Vikrant- which has conducted a number of sea trials is expected to be inducted in the Indian Navy this year [2022]

The Aviation Facility Complex or AFC on Vikrant has been supplied by Russia’s Nevskoye Design Bureau, which has been sanctioned by the US, like other Russian defence companies.

The status of the AFC is not clear so far. In case the same is yet to be fully installed delays can be anticipated against the proposed commissioning in August on India’s 75th independence Day.

India has seven Kilo-class submarines these are vintage boats which require sustained support and are also in various stages of upgrades.

India will receive an Akula class nuclear submarine on lease from Russia in 2025 and the boat is under construction/kitting in Russia. The deal is worth $ 3 Billion, transfer of funds for the same as only part is likely to have been paid would require consideration.

India has also contracted four Project 1135.6M Grigorovich frigates from Russia. Two frigates for the Indian Navy are to be constructed in Russia and the other two in the Goa. The delivery of the Russian constructed frigates is expected to start in 2022.

Ukraine’s Zorya-Mashproekt research and production complex located at Mykolaiv provides gas turbines for several Indian Navy platforms.

The four frigates on order are also to be equipped with Ukrainian gas turbines. There are reports that Russia had in anticipation catered for these through manufacture in the country or early imports from Ukraine but this aspect requires some clarification.

Indian Navy is expected to have some reserve stock of turbines that may provide a cushion for a few months or a couple of years at most.

BHEL and Zorya Mashproekt had formed a joint venture to manufacture components of turbine engines. The stage at which this joint venture is not clear. Even if components are being manufactured, servicing of the engines may require foreign assistance. The Navy may have undertaken shortlisting of foreign companies for the purpose.

In the air component, apart from 44 or so MiG 29K including trainers, Indian Navy also flies 14 Kamov 31 and 27 Kamov 28 helicopters. Two IL 38 Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft also make up for the naval fleet, one aircraft was retired in January this year after forty years of blemish-free service.

The overall fleet of helicopters and LRMR aircraft is vintage and would require substantial spares and maintenance support. A Controller and Auditor General (CAG) Report in 2010-11 had identified the vintage of some of these aircraft and helicopters which continue to be in service today.

The above list includes major platforms which have Russian origin. It is anticipated that large number of weapons, surveillance, electronic warfare and other equipment on the Navy ships is procured from Russia, spares and maintenance of these would prove challenging.