India to get Russian nuclear submarine in March

New Delhi, Oct 3, 2010 (Calcutta Tube) India’s undersea warfare will receive a major boost after Russia transfers its nuclear-powered K-152 Nerpa attack submarine on a 10-year lease in March next year.

The governor of the Far East Khabarovsk region told reporters in Russia Friday that the vessel is ready.

‘The boat has been handed over [to the fleet] now. According to the agreement, it will be transferred to India in March next year,’ Vyacheslav Shport said, as quoted by the Ria Novosti.

The $900-million lease contract was drawn up after Moscow and New Delhi sealed a deal in January 2004, in which India agreed to fund part of the Nerpa’s construction.

The 12,000-ton K-152 Nerpa, an Akula II class nuclear-powered attack submarine, was originally scheduled to be introduced into the Indian Navy as INS Chakra by mid-2008.

A crew of Indian submariners last year took part in sea trials of the submarine.

The boat, damaged in a fatal accident during tests last November, resumed sea trials last year in the Sea of Japan after extensive repairs.

On Nov 8, 2008, while the Nerpa was undergoing sea trials in the Sea of Japan/ East Sea , its on-board fire suppression system activated, releasing a deadly gas into the sleeping quarters. Three crewmembers and 17 shipyard workers were killed.

Akula II class vessels are considered the quietest and deadliest of all Russian nuclear-powered attack submarines.

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