India became the world's sixth country to operate a nuclear-powered submarine after Russia yesterday handed over the K-152 Nerpa (Indian Navy designation: INS Chakra) Schucka-B class nuclear-powered attack submarine to the Indian Navy.
Although India's long wait for a nuclear-powered submarine is finally over, the Indian Navy will have to wait another 10-12 months to get an operational nuclear weapon fitted into the $900-million Nerpa, an Akula-II class submarine.
The nuclear-powered submarine, now renamed as INS Chakra, an advanced model with reduced acoustic signatures, has been leased to Indian Navy for 10 years. It takes its name from the first nuclear submarine ever to serve with the Indian Navy, a Russian Charlie-II class submarine, in the 1980s.
Apart from paying $900 million for the INS Chakra, the Indian Navy will pay Russia an annual fee of $50 million, and at the end of the lease period, the it could either renew the lease or buy the submarine outright or allow it to revert to Russia.
The handing over ceremony took place yesterday in the Far Eastern Primorye Territory.
Russian submariners trained their Indian counterparts to steer the Nerpa in the Pacific Ocean to its base at Visakhapatnam in the Bay of Bengal.