Saturday, December 17, 2011

India to get Russian nuclear submarine by month-end

MOSCOW: Indian Navy is all set to receive a major boost when the much-awaited Akula-II class 'Nerpa' nuclear attack submarine would be handed over by Russia this month end on a 10-year lease.

"We had the plan to deliver it by the end of this year and we will make efforts to meet it," Mikhail Dmitriyev, Chief of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) with the foreign countries told reporters here after today's plenary level talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Dmitry Medvedev.

The submarine capable of remaining underwater for months will be rechristened as 'INS Chakra' and it would be for the first time in more than two decades that the Indian Navy would have a nuclear attack submarine.

The Akula-II class submarines are equipped with 28 nuclear-capable cruise missiles with a striking range of 3,000 km. The Indian version is reportedly expected to be armed with the 300-km Club nuclear-capable missiles.

According to Russian sources, India is getting 'Nerpa' in a deal worth USD 900 million.

India had funded the completion of the Nerpa nuclear submarine at Amur Shipyard before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

While K-152 Nerpa was undergoing sea trials in the Sea of Japan on November 8, 2008, an accident caused the deaths of some 20 sailors and injury to 21 others. A fire suppression system discharged gas in the bow of the sub, suffocating civilian specialists and navy crew members.

The Nerpa was laid down at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur shipyard in 1993, but its completion was delayed by nearly a decade due to a lack of funds caused by the economic crisis of the early 1990s.

The submarine is expected to be based at Vishakhapattanam, where it will be taken by one of several Indian naval crews trained at Russian facilities.

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