With the contract for the frigates to be signed soon, it’s a double whammy for the Russians
Russia has reached the finishing line of the three-way VSHORAD (Very Short-Range Air Defence) race, which had been going on for over five years, between Konstruktorskoye Byuro Mashynostroyeniya’s (KBM) Igla-S, Saab’s RBS 70NG (Sweden) and MBDA’s Mistraal (European consortium).
The contract will follow the signing of the formidable S-400 air defence system to India. With the signing of the two follow-on Grigorovich-class ‘Project 1135.6’ stealth frigates (expected any time) worth USD500 million India will become Russia’s biggest defence customer this year. The two frigates will be built at Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL) with delivery scheduled for 2027. Last month, India had signed the contract to buy two of these under-construction frigates from the Yantar Shipyard.
The VSHORAD programme had been hanging fire for nearly two decades as the Indian Army looked to acquire a new-generation of man-portable missile systems to replace the outdated Igla-M MANPADs that it operates. Russian Igla-S system has been declared L1 or the lowest bidder.