After a gap of two decades, India will induct the first nuclear-powered Russian-origin submarine 'Nerpa' into the Navy on Wednesday, thus joining the elite club of nations having nuclear power submarines, reports said.
Defence Minister AK Antony will formally commission the Akula II class Nerpa rechristened 'INS Chakra' into the Navy at the Ship Building Complex in Visakhapatnam, Defence Ministry officials said.
India earlier leased and operated Charlie Class Russian nuclear submarine from 1988 for training its personnel on such submarines.
With INS Chakra and the indigenous INS Arihant expected to commence operational patrols soon, India will soon have two nuclear submarines guarding its vast maritime boundaries. The Nerpa has been taken on lease from Russia for ten years and would provide Navy the opportunity to train and operate such nuclear-powered vessels.
In 2004, India signed a deal with Russia worth over $900 million for leasing the submarine. Originally, the submarine was to be inducted a couple of years earlier, but due to an accident in 2008, in which score of Russian sailors dies during trials, the delivery schedule was changed.
Indian Navy crews have already been imparted training for operating the submarine in Russia. A crew of over 70 people including around 30 officers is required to operate the INS Chakra.
The heart of the submarine is its nuclear reactor which has been made by Russia. Its displacement is around 8,140 tonnes. With a maximum speed of 30 knots, the vessel can go up to 600 meters in water and has an endurance of 100 days with a crew of 73. The vessel is armed with four 533mm torpedo tubes and four 650mm torpedo tubes.
India is also working to develop arsenal for Arihant as it already carried out more than ten test launches of the K-15 missile (also known as Sagarika) in the Bay of Bengal.
The nuclear-capable ballistic missile is said to have a range of over 700 kms and the premier research agency plans to increase its strike range in the near future.
by RTT Staff Writer
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