Sea trials of N-sub for India begin in Russia



New Delhi: The sea trials of a nuclear-powered submarine that Russia is leasing to India for 10 years, as also the training of an Indian crew, have begun ahead of the vessel's delivery in October-November, sources said here on Friday.

The delivery of the submarine will be as scheduled in October-November, the sources said, rebutting reports that the Akula-II class vessel had already begun its journey to India.

Mikhail Dmitriyev, head of the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, had in June confirmed that Russia would transfer the submarine, to be named INS Chakra, for a 10 year-lease to India in the autumn of 2010.

This followed an agreement inked between New Delhi and Moscow in January 2004, with India partly funding the submarine's construction at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur shipyard in the Russian Far East with an initial USD 650 million.

The submarine was scheduled to be inducted in the Indian Navy in mid-2008 but technical problems delayed the process.

After that, just as it began its sea trials in November 2008, 20 sailors and technical workers were killed on it due to a toxic gas leak when the automatic fire extinguishing system malfunctioned.

After repairs, which cost an estimated USD 65 million, the submarine is now fully operational.

Akula-II class vessels are considered the quietest and deadliest of all Russian nuclear-powered attack submarines.

IANS