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August 30, 2011

India to receive Russian SSN Nerpa in the nearest term

(Rusnavy) : In the nearest time India will receive Russian nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) Nerpa for a 10-year leasing; the Project 971I Schuka-B submarine is supposed to finish trials late in Aug, writes Jane's Defense Weekly referring to its Indian reporter.

Indian Navy named the sub Chakra. Leasing of the submarine will be conducted under a $650-700 mln secret agreement. Currently, Indian crew and Russian instructors are practicing in the Sea of Japan.

The sub will join Indian Navy late in 2011. She is expected to arrive at a special base being built at Rambilli, east coast India for nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines.

After commission of SSN Chakra, India will become the sixth country operating nuclear-powered submarines after China, France, Russia, Great Britain, and the US.

Although Indian Navy declined to comment its nuclear submarine program, news releases from Moscow confirm it is on schedule.

SSN Chakra will be used as a training platform for INS Arihant, the first SSBN designed and built in India. INS Arihant is expected to start full-fledged patrols late in 2012. In total, Indian Navy plans to build 3-5 nuclear-powered ballistic missile subs.

SSN Nerpa (K-152, Project 971I Schuka-B) is a 3-generation submarine designed in St. Petersburg by Malakhit Marine Engineering Bureau and Avrora Scientific Production Association. The sub was laid down at Amur Shipyard (Komsomolsk-on-Amur) in 1991. However, financing of construction was frozen in mid-90's, and the sub was completed only with India's investment. In the falls of 2008, an accident occurred during the sub's sea trials in the Sea of Japan. Due to improper operation of firefighting system, carbon dichloride began to enter compartments instead of freon gas. Mixture of those gases formed a phosgene-type chemical warfare agent. Twenty persons died as a result of inhalation of toxic vapors, other 21 were hospitalized. After repair, SSN Nerpa was commissioned into Russian Navy in Dec 2009. The sub is armed with cruise missiles, torpedoes and rocket torpedoes. Crew is over 80 men.

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