After a delay of more than five years, the Indian Navy is set to receive its third anti-submarine corvette INS Kiltan. The warship will be commissioned on October 16 under the Eastern Naval Command, Vishakhapatnam. This is the third Corvette of Project 28 under which commercial company Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers had constructed and delivered two corvettes – INS Kamorta in July 2014 and INS Kadmatt in November 2015 to the Indian Navy.
It is yet not clear whether the third corvette will have all the critical 18 weapons and sensors which were supposed to be fitted in the four ships of Project 28.
Unlike the first two heavier corvettes made up of steel superstructure, INS Kiltan is the first Corvette made up of composite superstructure material imported from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems International. The material has helped reduce the weight of the Corvette by up to 80 tons. The actual displacement of the first two corvettes delivered was 3384 and 3490 ton which exceeded the prescribed weight of 3170 tons.
INS Kiltan would be able to sail at a speed of over 24 knots in comparison to 23.9 knots on the first and 22.8 knots on the second Corvette. The ASW corvette would carry torpedoes, two rocket launchers, hello borne torpedoes and depth launchers. The Corvette was designed to incorporate stealth features to minimize underwater noise, radar cross-section, and infra-red emissions.
The Indian Navy had envisaged inclusion of indigenous weapons and sensors including hull-mounted sonar, active towed array sonar, advanced torpedo defense system, underwater telephone, bathy thermograph and ASW fire control system into the ASW corvettes.
It is yet not clear whether the third Corvette will have all the critical 18 weapons and sensors which were supposed to be fitted in the ships. The earlier two corvettes lacked capabilities to detect, locate, track and classify all types of sub-surface targets like torpedoes, mines, and submarines. The corvettes also do not have protection from torpedo attack as it is not fitted with a launcher employed to decoy the torpedo away from the ship. As the state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Bharat Dynamics Limited could not develop missile protection system in time, the Corvettes do not have double layered defense along with the augmented capability to defend against salvo attack.
Project 28 was approved by the Indian government in 2003 at cost of approximately $600 million for a total of four corvettes. But the cost was later revised to approximately $1600 million in 2012 due to various reasons including delay in finalization of the design of the Corvette by the Naval Design Bureau of the Indian Navy.