India inks over $3 billion deal with Russia for nuclear submarine despite the threat of US sanctions

• India and Russia have inked a $3 billion nuclear submarine deal.

• The Indian Navy will get the submarine— re-christened as Chakra III— on lease from Russia and is expected to serve the Indian Navy for at least a decade.

• Chakra III is the Russian Navy’s K-322 Kashalot (Akula II-class) SSN (Submarine Nuclear).

• The SSN will be fitted with the indigenously-developed USHUS integrated sonar system as well as the Panchendriya sonar, a unified submarine sonar, and tactical control system.

• 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.

• The submarine could be delivered to the Indian Navy by 2025.

Significance of Leasing

• The main purpose behind leasing the Russian nuclear-powered submarines is to train Indian naval personnel in manning the country’s own fleet of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines.

• The Chakra-III is expected to give India an edge over its rivals in the Indian Ocean region given one of the major strengths of a nuclear submarine is its ability to remain underwater for months, making detection difficult.

• The addition of this submarine will be a major boost to India’s role as the net security provider in the Indian Ocean region, which has some of the busiest shipping lanes.

History of Leasing

• In 1988, the Indian Navy leased for three years a nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine that was christened INS Chakra.

• In 2012, Indian Navy took on lease for 10 years, a second submarine christened Chakra II, which currently serves with the Eastern Naval Command.

India’s own SSBN fleet

• India is also developing the Ship Submersible Ballistic Nuclear (SSBN) fleet under the Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV) project.

• India’s first indigenously-built nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, the INS Arihant, entered service in 2016. A second, the INS Arighat, was launched in 2017 and is undergoing sea trials.

India-Russia Defense Cooperation

• Recently, India and Russia have also signed a deal for the S-400 Triumf air defense missile system for over $5 billion.

• India and Russia have also signed agreements for construction of frigates under Project 1135.6 and formation of joint venture to manufacture Ka-226T helicopters in India.

• Russia is also establishing a manufacturing unit for AK-203 assault rifles under a joint venture in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh.


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