Saturday, March 24, 2012
India to induct nuclear submarine in April first week
New Delhi, In a major boost to its underwater strike capabilities, India will induct its Russian-origin nuclear-powered submarine 'Nerpa' in the first week of April. 'Nerpa', which will be rechristened as 'INS Chakra', is scheduled to arrive at its home base of Visakhapatnam in the first week of April and is expected to be commissioned formally into the Indian Navy by Defence Minister A K Antony on April 5, Defence Ministry officials told PTI here today. The submarine will be on a ten-year lease under a deal expected to be worth over USD 920 million, they said. An Indian crew had set sail with the Akula II class vessel to India in the end of January. After the 'INS Chakra' joins the naval fleet, it would be for the first time in more than two decades that the Indian Navy would have a nuclear attack submarine. This will also propel India in the elite league of six nations operating nuclear submarines. India is also working on development of indigenous nuclear submarines of the 'Arihant' class. The first submarine 'INS Arihant' was launched for sea trials recently and is expected to start operational patrols by the end of this year. The Navy will have three submarines of this class by the end of this decade. India already possesses or is in the process of developing a family of nuclear-capable missiles including the Agni series, Prithvi variants, naval missile Dhanush, and submarine-launched Sagarika. Meanwhile, the Navy will commission 'Admiral Gorshkov' aircraft carrier on the Navy Day on December 4 this year in Russia. The aircraft carrier has been under retrofit for the last over five years at Russian facilities and is expected to reach Indian waters only in mid-2013.