Akula class n-powered sub to be used for crew training

August 9th, 2008 - 3:29 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 9 (IANS) The Russian-built nuclear-powered Akula-II class attack submarine that will be delivered to India by next year on a 10-year lease will primarily be used to train crews to operate this kind of a vessel. Partly financed by India under a hush-hush deal signed with Russia in January 2004, the 12,000-ton submarine was been built at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur shipyard in Russia. It will be commissioned into the Indian Navy as INS Chakra.

“After various delays, the nuclear-powered vessel (Akula) for crew training will come some time next year,” Indian Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta said.

The Akula-II class vessels are considered the quietest and deadliest among Russian nuclear-powered attack submarines.

According to experts, INS Chakra would help India fill the void caused by the delays in the indigenous Advanced Technology Vessel project to build a nuclear powered attack submarine capable of firing missiles.

Three Indian naval crews for the nuclear submarine have already been trained at the specially set up training centre in Sosnovy Bor near St. Petersburg.

“Akula will be used to train our crew before they come up at the platform that will be developed by DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) in two years’ time,” Mehta added.

According to defence sources, three domestically-designed nuclear submarines are under construction under a top-secret Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) programme at Mazagon dock, but the navy needs to gain first-hand experience in nuclear submarine operations, deployment and maintenance prior to the deployment of domestic submarines.

The nuclear submarine leased by Russia will not be equipped with long-range cruise missiles due to international restrictions on missile technology proliferation, but India may later opt to fit it with domestically designed long-range nuclear-capable missiles.

At present, India operates 16 conventional diesel submarines and awaits six French-Spanish Scorpene class diesel attack submarines, to be delivered between 2012 and 2017. India plans to deploy at least three nuclear submarines armed with long-range strategic missiles by 2015.

The first of the three domestic nuclear submarines is expected to begin sea trials by mid-2009.

India previously leased a Charlie-I class nuclear submarine from the Soviet Union from 1988 to 1991.

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