India to lease second Russian nuclear submarine

K-322 Kashalot submarine. Source: US Navy / wikipedia.org

K-322 Kashalot submarine. Source: US Navy / wikipedia.org

The first Project-971 submarine, the Nerpa, was leased from Russia for 10 years. It was commissioned in the Indian naval forces in 2012 and got the name of the Chakra.

India has started negotiations with Russia seeking to lease the nuclear submarine K-322 Kashalot ("sperm whale") of the Project 971 “Shchuka-B” Class, reports “Interfax” citing a source in the Russian military-industrial complex. If the parties sign this agreement before the end of 2015, this ship could be delivered to the customer already in 2018.

According to the news agency’s source, before the submarine is leased out, it will be modernized in accordance with the requirements of the Indian Navy. This work would be performed at the Amur Shipyard, where the K-322 is berthed today. In total, the modernization of the Kashalot, running it through all the tests, and training of Indian crew should take about three years. The Indian Ministry of Defense is looking at leasing the nuclear submarine for a period of ten years.

The fact that India was considering the possibility of renting this Project 971 submarine came to light in December 2014. That is when the Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar said that his ministry was considering two options: the extension of the lease on the Chakra K-152 “Nepra” Class Project 971 submarine or renting a second ship of this project – the “Shchuka-B”. At that time, Mr. Parrikar did not mention any concrete deadlines for this decision.

It was also reported that the Indian military establishment was also interested in the possibility of renting the Project 971I “Irbis” Class submarine, which was started back in 1994. Readiness of this ship, bearing the serial number 519, is estimated at 46-48 percent. At the time the construction work was frozen in the Amur shipyard in 2011, the pressure hull of the submarine has already been formed. Earlier, India had declared its readiness to consider funding the completion of this submarine and its subsequent lease.

Currently, the Indian Navy operates the “Chakra” submarine, built in Russia based on the 971 “Shchuka-B” project. The agreement to lease the ship was signed in 2004, and is worth about $980 million (with the initial price being set at $650 million). Delivery of this ship to the customer experiences constant delays; in the contract of 2004, it was assumed that India would receive the “Chakra” in 2008.

First published in Russian by Lenta.ru.

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