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Monday, February 1, 2010

Navy to get Russian nuke submarine before July

New Delhi, Feb 1 (IANS) The Indian Navy will get the Russian-built nuclear-powered Akula-II class attack submarine on a 10-year lease before July this year, a naval official said Monday.

The submarine, which would primarily be used to train crews to operate these kind of vessel, is considered one of the quietest and deadliest among Russian nuclear submarine fleet.

“The submarine is coming and it will arrive by mid-year before July,” a senior Indian Navy official said, requesting anonymity.

Partly financed by India under a deal signed with Russia in January 2004, the 12,000-tonne submarine was been built at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur shipyard in Russia. It will be commissioned into the Indian Navy as INS Chakra. 

According to experts, INS Chakra would help India fill the void caused by the delays in the indigenous Advanced Technology Vessel project to build a nuclear powered attack submarine capable of firing missiles. 

Three Indian navy teams have already been trained at the specially set up training centre in Sosnovy Bor near St. Petersburg. 

Indian Navy commissioned its first indigenously-built nuclear powered submarine last year, but it needs to gain first-hand experience in nuclear submarine operations, deployment and maintenance prior to the deployment of domestic submarines. 

The nuclear submarine leased by Russia will not be equipped with long-range cruise missiles due to international restrictions on missile technology proliferation. But India may later opt to fit it with domestically designed long-range nuclear-capable missiles. 

At present, India operates 16 conventional diesel submarines and awaits six French-Spanish Scorpene class diesel attack submarines to be delivered between 2012 and 2017. 

India plans to deploy at least three nuclear submarines armed with long-range strategic missiles by 2015. 

The first of the three domestic nuclear submarines is expected to begin sea trials by mid-2009.
India previously leased a Charlie-I class nuclear submarine from the erstwhile Soviet Union from 1988 to 1991. (source thaindian)