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Russia floats out first Indian frigate 'Teg'

KALININGRAD (BNS): Russia floated out the first of the three Indian stealth frigates - INS Teg (Sabre) at a colourful ceremony in the Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad, on Friday.

"The first of three Project 11356 frigates the company is building on an Indian order has been floated out," said Sergei Mikhailov of Yantar shipyard.

The shipyard is building three modified Krivak III class (also known as Talwar class) guided missile frigates for the Indian Navy under a $1.6 billion contract signed in July 2006. Senior Russian and Indian military and civilian officials attended the ceremony on Friday.

"The ship was given a traditional 'baptism,' when prayers were read in Sanskrit," Ria Novosti quoted Mikhailov as saying.

"India's consul general to St.Petersburg, Radhika Lokesh, was the godmother and smashed a coconut against the frigate. And a Russian shipyard worker smashed a bottle of Champagne, according to Russian tradition."

Mikhailov said sea trials would start in 2010 as "post-construction work" was still to be carried out. The new frigates will be reportedly armed with BRAHMOS supersonic cruise missiles. The warship will be also equipped with a 100-mm gun, a Shtil surface-to-air missile system, two Kashtan air-defense gun/missile systems, two twin 533-mm torpedo launchers, and an anti-submarine warfare helicopter.

India will receive the last warship in 2011-2012.

The Talwar-class frigate has deadweight capacity of 4,000 metric tonnes and a speed of 30 knots, and is capable of accomplishing a wide range of naval missions, primarily hunting down and destroying large surface ships and submarines.

Russia has previously built three Talwar class frigates for India - the INS Talwar, the INS Trishul, and the INS Tabar. Indian President Pratibha Patil has named the new ships the Teg, the Tarkash, and the Trikand.

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