Khabarovsk, Russia: India is all set to get its first new generation Akula-II class nuclear attack submarine by the year end, which would bolster the Navy’s undersea capability manifold.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has ordered the delivery of the submarine to the Indian Navy and has sanctioned $300 million for successful completion of the project.
Russia was to deliver the Akula-II class submarine to the Indian Navy on a 10-year lease in June. But the project suffered delay as in the course of sea trials the submarine, earmarked for India, met with an accident on November eight last year killing 20 sailors and injuring 17 others.
But the shipyard has repaired the damage caused by the mishap during sea trials.
“The repairs are complete and the vessel is technically ready for the resumption of sea trials,” an official of the Amur Shipyard was quoted as saying by Interfax.
Putin visited the shipyard on Monday and Presidential Envoy Viktor Ishayev latyer told PTI that during the visit “Putin had discussed in detail the Indian submarine project and ordered new trials be completed speedy and the vessel delivered to Indian Navy by the end of this year.”
The envoy said Putin has decided to re-instate state control on the strategic shipyard situated in Komsomolsk-on-Amur in the Khabarovsk region bordering China.
“The Prime Minister will sign the orders within a week to release 1.1 billion roubles ($300 million) to foot the bill for the repair of the submarine and complete pre-delivery trials,” Ishayev disclosed.
The delivery of the submarine is vital to the Indian Navy, which does not have a nuclear undersea vessel for over 25 years.
India earlier had leased a Russian nuclear submarine in the late 80s. New Delhi’s own indigenous nuclear submarine is progressing well. The submarine is to be ready for sea trials by August this year.
But officials said it may take some more time.
The lease agreement for Akula-II class submarine has not been made public. But reports say that the submarine may come as a part of package along with aircraft carrier Gorshkov.
It is also not clear whether India has bid for lease of two submarines or a single one. Indian Navy is in dire need of a nuclear submarine which has an enhanced range and longer submerged capabilities as China has already produced fourth generation nuclear submarines.