New Delhi: India will get the advanced Russian 'Nerpa' Akula-II nuclear attack submarine on lease from Russia by the end of this year, a senior Russian official has said. The submarine is currently undergoing sea trials with an Indian Navy crew.
"The Nerpa will be handed over to the Indian Navy on lease by the end of this year," director of Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSVTS) Mikhail Dmitriyev was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.
"Currently the submarine is undergoing sea trials, where the Indian crew is checking the functioning of its all systems and mechanism and are honing their skill for operating the vessel," he said. Dmitriyev deals with foreign military cooperation.
The 'Nerpa' Akula-II class attack sub will be inducted into the Indian Navy for 10 years under a $650 million deal as the INS Chakra. It takes its name from the first nuclear submarine ever to serve with the Indian Navy, also a Russian Charlie-II class submarine, in the 1980s.
The Soviet-designed Shchuka-B (Pike), NATO codenamed Akula-II, is an advanced version of a submarine renowned for the quietness of its operation. It helps the submarine avoid detection by enemy sonars.
The induction of the 'Nerpa' has been delayed for one reason or the other. The last was an accident in November 2008 when accidental leakage of Freon gas killed 20 sailors and shipyard personnel onboard the submarine.