India and Russia sign $3 billion deal for lease of third nuclear submarine

India and Russia signed a US$3 billion deal for the lease of a third nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) which is likely to be in Indian waters by 2025 at the earliest. While the exact lease period of the new submarine is not known, sources indicated that it will be in service with India for at least 10 years. The Akula-class Russian submarine will be named Chakra III after its predecessors, and will be fitted with Indian systems.

India and Russia sign 3 billion deal for lease of third nuclear submarine INS Chakra (Picture source: Indian Navy)

The submarine that will become Chakra III was mothballed and shipped to the port town of Severodvinsk in 2014, and sources said Russia will need to do extensive work to make it fit for operation again, including re-activation of the nuclear reactor that powers it and the installation and integration of Indian systems. In that sense, it will be just like a new vessel.

A large team from India will be in Russia as part of the project, and the experience gained is expected to come in handy for the indigenous SSBN program.

Negotiations are also on to extend the lease of Chakra II, which ends next year. Since the new submarine is only likely to arrive by 2025 at the earliest, both sides are looking to extend the Chakra II lease for at least five more years, sources said. Chakra II was inducted in 2012.

Based on open source information regarding the Akula II-class, the 8,140-ton Chakra III will have a submerged speed of 30 knots and an operating depth of 530 meters. It will hold a crew of 73. Furthermore, the SSN is armed with four 650-millimeter and four 533-millimeter launch tubes for firing Russian-made Type 65 and Type 53 torpedoes. The sub will likely use a 190 mW nuclear reactor for propulsion.