India has signed a USD3 billion deal with Russia, on March 7, to lease another nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) for the Indian Navy.
Under the pact, Russia will deliver an Akula-class SSN, to be called as Chakra III in Indian service, to the Indian Navy by 2025. The lease period is reportedly for 10 years.
Akula-class is the NATO reporting name of the SSNs known in Russia as Project 971 Shchuka-B class.
The previously leased Russian submarines of the Navy were named INS Chakra (K-43) and INS Chakra (S-71) or Chakra II respectively. Chakra I, a Charlie I-class submarine, was returned to Russia following the lease period (1988–1992) while Chakra II, a Project 971 Akula-class submarine, is currently operational with the Indian Navy. The lease term for Chakra II will expire in 2022 (10 years from 2012) but, according to sources, India is looking at extending the lease.
It was earlier reported that an Indian naval delegation visited Amur Shipyard in Russia and inspected two Akula class submarines, the K-391 Bratsk, and the K-295 Samara, to select the one to be leased.
Bratsk was originally laid down on February 23, 1988 at Leninsky Komsomol shipyard (Komsomolsk-on-Amur) under the name of K-391; launched on April 14, 1989; commissioned into Pacific Fleet on February 28, 1990; renamed into Kit on Apr 13, 1993; obtained the name of Bratsk on September 10, 1997. Samara was originally laid down on November 7, 1993 at Amur shipyard (Komsomolsk-on-Amur); launched on August 5, 1994; commissioned in 1995 under the name of Drakon. In 1999 the sub obtained the new name of Samara. Both Bratsk and Samara are currently undergoing overhaul and modernization.
The Indian Navy currently operates 13 diesel-electric attack submarines of the Sindhughosh (Russian Project 877EKM Kilo), Shishumar (German HDW Type 209), Kalvari (French DCNS Scorpene) classes as well as two nuclear powered submarines – INS Chakra and indigenous ballistic missile submarine, INS Arihant.