Sea trials of N-sub for India on schedule: Russia
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Last Updated: Friday, July 24, 2009, 17:06
Moscow: The sea trials of the Russian Akula-II class nuclear submarine Nerpa, which is to be leased to India, are proceeding as 'per schedule' and it will join the Naval fleet by the year-end.

"The resumed sea trials are proceeding as per schedule" in the high seas, an official of Amur Shipyard was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has taken a personal initiative to ensure that the nuclear submarine, part of the larger Gorshkov package signed in 2004, is handed over to the Indian Navy by the end of this year.

With the acquisition of Nerpa, the Indian Navy will regain its under-sea nuclear operational capability. The Nerpa would be joining the Naval fleet much before the country's indigenous nuclear submarine, which is currently undergoing sea trials expected to go on for at least two years.

After induction of Nerpa, India would be only the fifth country in the world to have such a capability. Nuclear submarines have far longer submergence power and can operate far from the base for as long as five to six months.

Nerpa was to be deliver by June this year, but it was hit by a mishap on November 8 last during pre-delivery trails in which 20 technical staff and crew members were killed due to accidental release of fatal Freon gas from its fire- suppression system. One sailor has been arrested for tampering with temperature gauge.

The sea trials were resumed on July 10 in the Sea of Japan following extensive repairs costing around USD 60 million and would last for another week.

India reportedly paid USD 650 million for a 10-year lease for the nuclear-propelled submarine.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, July 24, 2009, 17:06

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