Khabarovsk: In a never-ending story, the Russian shipyard preparing an Akula-II nuclear powered attack submarine for induction into the Indian Navy has confessed funding problems was likely to impact delivery of the submarine. Russian authorities had earlier professed confidence that the submarine would be delivered to the Indian Navy sometime by December 2009.
The Akula-II class K-152 Nerpa (INS Chakra), which was damaged in a fatal accident during tests in November last year, has been docked at the Amur shipyard's Vostok repair facility in the town of Bolshoy Kamen in Primorye Territory having completed a new batch of sea trials following repairs.
"The sea trials under the shipyard's supervision have been completed on time. The submarine returned to its current base for preparation for final tests, but we have run into some problems," said Nikolai Povzyk, the Amur shipyard general director.
"We have not yet received payments for work that has been already done, and today the electricity supply to the Vostok facility was cut [by a local electricity supplier] because we have not been able to pay our debts," the official said.
The shipyard said it had been promised an estimated 1.9 billion rubles ($60 million) in government funds in the beginning of October to cover the cost of repairs. The Nerpa now lies docked at the Amur shipyard awaiting final trials even as the shipyard sorts out its problems.
Last year, on 8 November 2008, even as it was undergoing sea trials, the Nerpa's onboard fire extinguishing system went off that released a deadly gas into the sleeping quarters. The accident killed three crew members and 17 shipyard workers.
After induction into the Russian Navy, the Nerpa will be leased to the Indian Navy. India reportedly paid $650 million for a 10-year lease of the 12,000-ton K-152 Nerpa.
Akula-II class vessels are considered the quietest and deadliest of all Russian nuclear-powered attack submarines.