New Delhi: The Ministry of Defence signed a contract on October 16, 2023, in New Delhi for the Mid-Life Upgrade and Re-Powering of the INS Beas. The contract, valued at Rs. 313.42 crore, will make Beas the first of the Brahmaputra Class Frigates to undergo this transformation.
The project is undertaken in collaboration with Kochi-based M/S Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), showcasing how ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and the ‘Make-in-India’ initiative have been augmented in the Indian Defence space. Additionally, as the MoD stated, the project would involve more than 50 MSMEs and create more than 3,500 jobs.
The INS Beas, an indigenously designed and built Guided Missile Frigate, is set to undergo a transition from steam to diesel propulsion. This shift, as per the MoD, will enhance the ship’s efficiency and operational capabilities. Upon completion of the Mid-Life Upgrade and Re-Powering in 2026, the INS Beas will re-join the active fleet of the Indian Navy with a modernised weapon suite and upgraded combat capabilities, stated MoD in an official statement.
The other two warships (Brahmaputra (F31), Betwa (F39) ) shall also get new engines but after the first one is done.
About Brahmaputra-Class Frigates
The Brahmaputra-class frigates are the guided-missile frigates of the Indian Navy, designed and built in India. They have a displacement of 3850 tons and a length of 126 metres. Although of similar hull and dimension, internally, the Brahmaputra and Godavari classes have different configurations, armaments and capabilities. The ship-class has acquired its name owing to the ‘River Brahmaputra’. Other ships of the class are also named after Indian Rivers.
Designed by the Directorate of Naval Design (DND), Brahmaputra Class is an improved version of Godavari Class frigates.
The Brahmaputra Class features similar hull and propulsion systems as its predecessor, but has different internal configuration and armament systems.
The frigate has an overall length of 126.5m, beam of 14.5m and draft of 4.5m. The full load displacement is 3,850t. Brahmaputra Class can complement a crew of 313 including 259 enlisted members, 40 officers and 14 air crew members.
Command And Control of The Guided Missile Frigates
The command and control of shipboard weapons and sensors is provided by the EMCCA (electronic modular command and control applications) computerised action information system supplied by Bharath Electronics Limited (BEL).
The tactical information and combat data received from the sensors and data systems is processed by ten multifunction consoles to deliver real-time situational awareness.
Brahmaputra Missile Systems
Brahmaputra Class is fitted with four quadruple KT-184 launchers for firing 16 Kh-35E Uran/SS-N-25 Switchblade sea-skimming anti-ship missiles.
Uran can carry a 145kg warhead up to a range of 130km. The air defence capabilities are provided by the Israeli Barak surface-to-air missile (SAM) launched from three eight-cell VLS units.
Naval Gun Systems
The main gun fitted forward is a single Oto Melara super rapid 76mm main gun. The gun has a rate of fire of 65 rounds a minute.
It can engage ship and shore targets within the range of 8km. There are four 30mm AK-630 close-in weapon systems fitted to defend incoming anti-ship missiles. AK-630 can fire at a rate of 5,000 rounds a minute to a maximum range of 4,000m.
The frigate has two 324mm ILAS 3 triple tubes for Whitehead A244S anti-submarine torpedoes. The torpedo, using active / passive homing, reaches 7km with a 34kg warhead. The tubes can also fire AET anti-submarine torpedo which is a locally built version of the A244S.
Sensors / Radar Technology
The sensor suite integrates a BEL RAWS-03 air/surface search radar, RAWL-02 (PLN 517) D-band air search radar, Decca Bridgemaster or BEL Rashmi (PIN 524) I-band navigation radar.
The ship is also equipped with Bharat HUMSA search and attack sonar and Thales Sintra towed array sonar.
Aircraft Landing Capabilities
Brahmaputra Class has an aft flight deck to allow the operations of two Sea King Mk.42B anti-ship and anti-submarine helicopters or a mix of HAL Chetak and Sea King helicopters.
The Sea King is equipped with modern avionics, dipping sonar and two Sea Eagle anti-ship missiles or a combination of depth charges and AS-244 ASW torpedoes. A hangar facility is provided for the embarked helicopters.
Brahmaputra is powered by two BHEL Bhopal steam turbines developing a total power output of 30,000bhp. The steam turbine propulsion plant also integrates two boilers and two shafts.
The propulsion system provides a maximum speed of more than 30kt and range of 4,500mi at 12kt speed.