News Digest: New French Frigate Unveiled,USS Zumwalt commissioned, Indo-Russian deals.

In this news digest by Defencyclopedia, we bring you the most recent and relevant happenings in the world of defense. Each report will have our analysis and opinion about it. This series is being revived after multiple requests from our amazing readers. 

France unveils new light frigate design, the ‘FTI’

As a complement for its fleet of heavy 6000-ton FREMM frigates, France will acquire a fleet of 4000 ton FTI [Frégate de Taille Intermédiaire] (Intermediate Sized Frigate) with lighter armament. These 5 ships will replace the 5 La Fayette-class light frigates from 2022 onwards. Built with multirole capabilities, the FTI is equipped to handle surface, subsurface, and aerial threats with equal

It will have a 4-faced AESA , the Thales SeaFire 500 as its primary sensor and a modest armament consisting of a 76 mm gun, 16 x Aster-15/30 surface to air missiles and 8 Exocet anti-ship missiles. The land attack capability of the FREMM is notably absent on the FTI. France plans to field these ships as a part of its planned 15 frigate fleet consisting of 2 x Horizons, 8 x FREMM and 5 FTI by 2030.

Watch this video of the FTI and its export variant in computer generated action. 

US Navy commissions its most advanced warship, USS Zumwalt

Image result for US Navy commissions its most advanced warship, USS Zumwalt

At over 4.4 billion $ per ship, the super-stealthy, alien-looking Zumwalt class is the most expensive surface combatant of the US Navy. The first ship of this class was commissioned at a ceremony in Baltimore, heralding the US Navy into a new era of large, stealthy surface combatants with unimaginable levels of technology. Budget issues have kept this class down to 3 ships from the originally planned 32.

Each 14,000-ton destroyer is equipped with 80 vertical missile launch cells, 2 x advanced 155 mm land-attack naval guns along with the latest radars and sonars. Its helicopter deck is twice the size of the deck on an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and facilitates operations of the MV-22 Osprey. This ship is unlikely to be deployed on any serious combat  missions and will primarily serve as technology demonstrators for a new breed of US Navy destroyers in the future.

Admiral Harry B Harris, commander of the US Pacific Command made a legendary statement “If Batman had a ship, it would be the USS Zumwalt” . I’m inclined to agree with him and if it were up to me, I’d name it the USS Batcruiser and paint it in black.

India signs multiple billion $ deals with Russia

In what is probably the highlight of the week, India (the world-record holder for the slowest defense procurement ever), surprisingly signed a slew of deals with their long-standing strategic partner Russia.

1) S400

In what could be the single biggest boost to India’s outdated SAM network, an agreement was signed with Russia for the purchase of 5 systems. Each system/battery of S400 will include 8-12 launch platforms (with 4 missiles per launch platform), a similar number of reloading platforms, long-range search and target acquisition radars and command trucks.

Image result for s400 missile

The number of missiles which will be purchased with the deal has not been revealed. But we can estimate that there would be at least 3 sets per system, for a total of at least 500 missiles. India has an official requirement of 12 batteries and more purchases are expected to follow once the delivery of this purchase starts in 2020. At present, 3 systems will be placed along their western border and 2 more along their eastern border. It will be interesting to see if India will buy Pantsyr-S1 systems to escort these high value assets as Russia does the same at present. The other option for India is to procure the wheeled Tor-M2 or the Israeli SPYDER SAMs as escorts.

Related content :pantsyr.JPG

2) Talwar class frigates

Russia had planned a fleet of 6 Admiral Grigorovich [Адмирал Григорович] class frigates, which got bogged down by the war in Ukraine. Only the first 3 ships were completed with their Ukrainian engines before Ukraine decided to stop supplying the engines to Russia.India wanted to acquire more of these frigates to complement their existing fleet of 6, known locally as the Talwar class [तलवार]. They will feature one major modification which involves the replacement of the single arm Shtil SAM launcher with the vertically launched version. India will buy 4 ( 2 unfinished hulls and 2 new ones) of these ships, bringing their fleet of Talwars to 10.

Admiral Grigorovich

3) Kamov-226T helicopters

 Image result for Kamov-226T helicopters

After a delayed procurement which involved cancellation and retendering, the light utility helicopter deal was bagged by Kamov [Камов] . The Ka-226 brings superior performance, twin engines and rear loading to the table, which gave it an edge over its competitor, the Airbus Fennec. The deal is for 200 helicopters, out of which 60 would be imported and 140 would be built in India by the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

Related content : Here’s a detailed analysis of the KA-226 which was published earlier


4) 2nd Akula-class submarine lease

Image result for K322 KASHALOT

Having already leased the K-152 Nerpa [Нерпа] for it’s growing submarine fleet as the INS Chakra, India has signed a deal with Russia for the lease of a second nuclear-powered attack submarine of the Akula class. This will be the K-322 Kashalot [Кашалот], which has seen just over 10 years of active service with the Russian Navy since its commissioning in 1989. This submarine is currently undergoing a major refit for upgradations to modern standards and customization for Indian requirements.

Israel to acquire 3 more Dolphin-class submarines from Germany

Image result for israel dolphin-2 class submarine

Dolphin-class submarines are the third delivery platform for Israel’s nukes, with the other being aircraft and ballistic missiles. Despite being conventional diesel-electric attack submarines, they have the capability to fire nuclear-tipped cruise missiles from their torpedo tubes. Delivery of these 3 new submarines, an enlarged variant of the Type-214, will bring the total fleet up to 9 submarines. The 1.2 billion $ deal is highly subsidized as with all other German-Israeli deals as it is a part of the aid which Germany provides as reparations for the holocaust. A non-subsidized deal would have cost Israel over 5 billion $ for the 3 submarines.

Russian Carrier Battle Group heads for Syria

In a massive power-projection move, Russia has dispatched its sole carrier along with a powerful fleet of warships to Syria, to support their Air Force in carrying out combat air patrol and bombing missions. The battle group centered around the carrier Admiral Kuznetsov [Адмирал Кузнецов] consists of the heavy nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky [Пётр Великий] and 2 Udaloy class anti-submarine destroyers Severomorsk [Североморск] and Vice-Admiral Kukalov [Вице-адмирал Кулаков]. The ships are expected to deploy for several months and resupply and refuel from the Russian naval base at Tartus, Syria.

The aircraft embarked on board the carrier have been identified as

  • Su-33K long range fighter
  • MiG-29K multi-role fighter
  • Ka-52K attack helicopter
  • Ka-27 anti-submarine helicopter
  •  Ka-31 airborne early warning helicopter

Related content : An aerial grab of the CBG passing through the English Channel today

China unveils new camo for its J20 fighter

As the J20 nears its induction in 2018, the 5th gen fighter has been spotted with a new splinter camouflage. This is said to be done in time for the Zhuhai airshow scheduled for Nov 1-6. China has also finished conducting most of the required tests on the J20 and it is almost ready to enter service. It would be a major achievement for China if they can get their J20 operational before the Russian PAK-FA, which is also scheduled to enter service in 2018. China plans to produce several hundred of these advanced fighters, giving it the edge over all other air forces in the region.



32 Replies to “News Digest: New French Frigate Unveiled,USS Zumwalt commissioned, Indo-Russian deals.”

      1. Okay another question then, why is india buying these frigates which are from talwar class from russia when we have their successor the shivalik class and also the planned project 17a..?


      2. India is building heavy frigates. But buying light frigates like the Talwars. Because they don’t want to fill their fleet with only heavy ships, lighter ships are being acquired


      3. If you would like I could write comprehensive articles on stealth technology (one extensive comment you have already read), the Aegis radar system, the layered defense used by the navy, including defense against ASBMs, etc.


  1. Hello NRP,
    Welcome back!
    Glad to see the first piece after a longish hiatus. Please remember the backlog!!! 😀

    A question on Zumwalt: even when considered to be a tech demo and of prototype, what was the thinking behind designing the destroter at 14500t for mainly littoral service? Second, how did the manning reduce by half to 150 odd personnel? Is it mostly through tech interfaces/automation/integrated controls? Or are we also seeing creation of new integrated role definitions?


    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you. 🙂 I remember my backlog very well.

    The Zumwalt was designed to be a fleet of 32 ships and be the next main destroyer of the US Navy. But it proved to be prohibitively expensive and was reduced to the tech demonstrator role. It is not for littoral service. It was designed to provide naval gunfire support from a long distance.

    The reducing of personnel was achieved through multi-role interfaces, high degree of automation and integrated controls as you said. Everything in the ship has been digitized and automated, which allows 1 man to do the job of 2.


    1. Thank you, NRP.
      I mistakenly assumed that a destroyer dedicated to the support of a landing army would need to be of littoral design.

      May I request you to write about the thinking behind investing in Zumwalt if the real next-gen replacement for the arleigh-burkes are only going to enter the force in 2030? What technical learning and design learning do the americans hope to gain from this rather expensive experiment?

      And second, from a strategy point of view, considering that we are already part of the ‘indo-pacific’ ops, how does this US destroyer schedule square with China’s rapid deployment of naval vessels, both in number and new classes?

      Thank you for your time.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Will surely consider writing about it. The Zumwalt doesn’t feature anywhere in the US plan against China. The Burkes are now tasked with everything. As China develops bigger and better warships, it is necessary for the USN to stop focusing on fancy stuff and move towards more practical ones, like perhaps a bigger Burke or a nuclear powered cruiser.


  3. Long time no article, well thought you were discouraged by no visitors but checked at least once in two days. Request to you try put at least two article per month. But I recommend 1 per week. You can accept guest writers. Any website there are so many articles with different agenda its look like they are on a payroll from the manufacturer . And people fighting in between. Here I find no specific agenda till now.
    I like your website because of your fine style of writing because is not stressful when reading. And you personally edit pieces.
    So you are back and thinking you not let this place destitute.
    And some advise, you may change some interface in your website like adjusting content to left side which provide you space in your right side, where you can place some fixed adds (if wants) and your recommended and previous articles there. (just check for ideas in interface not for content you are doing great).
    But one thing you need to do provide users discus comments also. Its a great platform.
    Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Paul. For some weird reason, this comment of yours was caught by the spam bot. I have unspammed and approved it now.

      Thank you for your kind words. I will definitely increase the frequency of my articles. The layout of my site at present is optimized to ensure a distraction-free reading environment. Hence the lack of ads and banners around the article. I prefer a simplistic layout like this which allows the reader to concentrate on the content in front, than on what is around it. The suggestions for related articles appear at the end of the page.


      1. Well i have many more i am just speaking my mind out.
        1. I think the architecture of your website can be better, we can see previous posts, and recommended articles on right side and content on left side, you can check it on, just consider it, i think that it will make you use your web page more efficiently. You can do it experimentally and ask for feedback.
        2. What you do for living, if you want this site to grow, as you said you were busy
        3. You should post atleast 2 article a month, but 1 a week would be great.
        4. Well you can ask for guest article it would be great, what we are getting in other sites is just any crap but here you can edit it, and we can get some sensible articles.
        5. Write more i like your writing style, the most comfortable to read.
        6. You can make a column where you can give reference to good defense documentaries that you liked. And we can discuss about it.
        7. And we can discuss on news and topics.
        Please let me know , what you think if you are not comfortable in writing it here email me. just a note here check your mail. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I checked up on this site to see that you have indeed released a new article. Excellent information as always.

    After finding your site while googling info on the SU-27 Flanker I came across your articles on its origin and development. Have bookmarked this site ever since.

    Will be waiting for more. 🙂


      1. Thank you for that NRP. Good to here from you. You have a gift you can really grow this place , and do some publicity for this place. Good places needs that many people come here and enjoy reading.


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