Agency reports indicate that Russia may have indefinitely postponed delivery of the Schucka-B (NATO: Akula-II) class nuclear submarine to India as sea trials of this advanced attack sub are still incomplete.
According to reports, pre-delivery trials have been postponed by Amur Shipyard as it is short of cash and lacks trained crew to carry out the sophisticated tests. While some of the trained personnel perished in the onboard accident that occurred last year on 8 November 2008, others are either recovering from the accident or refusing to go onboard.
Because of these reasons a new trial team is yet to be appointed by the shipyard.
Reports in a Russian daily suggest that fresh trials may not begin until March 2010. There are chances of further postponement, should a fresh trial team not be mobilized by March this year. New members would have to be trained to carry out sophisticated tasks.
As with all Russian advanced weaponry, strategic programmes, the nuclear submarine lease programme is also running behind schedule leading to deterioration of faith between these strategic allies.
With respect to delivery of this submarine the last commitment made by Russia to India had suggested August of this year as the cut-off point.
Apart from performing defensive duties, the Schucka-B is also expected to perform a training function for Indian naval crew for their own Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV), which is the designation given to the country's indigenous nuclear submarine project.
Delivery of the refurbished aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya (Adm Gorshkov) has already been delayed inordinately.