India, Russia to sign $3bn lease for Akula-class submarine: Deal shows despite new partnerships

India is set to sign a deal on Thursday with Russia to lease an Akula-class submarine for the Indian Navy. The nuclear submarine — that is being called INS Chakra III — is likely to be ready, after refurbishment, by 2025.

The deals worth $3 billion deal entails the lease of a nuclear attack submarine “that will be customised and fitted with indigenous communications systems and sensors”. The report adds, “While the mothballed nuclear submarine had been shipped to the Russian port town of Severodvinsk in 2014, sources said that it will be akin to a new vessel once ready, given the extent of work required to make it operational.” As reported by Sputnik News, it was in November last year that naval chief Admiral Sunil Lanba had “discussed with Russian authorities the co-production of a conventional submarine at Indian shipyard and leasing of an Akula-class submarine”.

It may be recalled that the first INS Chakra was a K-43 Charlie-class nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine that was in the Indian Navy’s service from 1987 to 1990. INS Chakra II is the Nerpa (K-152), an Akula-class nuclear-powered attack submarine, that has been in active service under the Indian Navy since April 2012.

The Akula — Russian for shark — submarines were widely credited as being a game changer in the Cold War era, as a post on defence technology and policy blog Foxtrot Alpha points out: “With the Akula’s arrival the American submarine fleet would no longer enjoy the dramatic undersea advantages they had possessed since the end of the World War II. It stunned NATO with its high-level of stealth, especially compared to any Soviet submarine before it. The ability to make their submarines as quiet, or nearly as quiet, as American subs had long eluded them. The Akula dramatically changed that.”

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