Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dockyard woes may hit N-sub delivery

Despite assurances from Russia, it is still not clear whether the Indian Navy would receive the INS Chakra, the Akula-II class nuclear attack submarine, originally named Nerpa, by next January, as had been promised by their government.
Indian Navy officials are keeping their fingers crossed over the issue after it emerged that the Amur Dockyard in Russia, which is repairing the vessel, halted work after payments from the Russian government were delayed.
The submarine was sent for repairs after a major fire in November 2008 killed three crew members and several workers of a shipyard where it was berthed. Officials of the Amur Dockyard told Russian media that they had run out of money and payments for work done on the submarine was due from their government.
As per the agreement India has with Russia, the submarine is to be inducted into the Russian Navy after which it would be leased to the Indian Navy for 10 years. The 10-year lease would reportedly cost India US $650 million. The submarine had to be leased out to India earlier this year but the deadline was moved to December following delays caused by the fire. And now, Russia has promised delivery by early 2010.
Under the revised schedule, an Indian crew of about 300 personnel would be trained with Russian experts aboard the submarine, before being able to sail on their own. 
A VM-5 pressure water reactor with an OK-650 reactor core with a capacity of 190-MW, would power the submarine. The maximum submerged speed of the submarine would be 33 knots while its surface speed would be 10 knots. It can dive up to 600 metres depth and stay submerged for 100 days with a full crew complement of 73.
The submarines are the quietest of all nuclear-powered attack submarines in the Russian Navy. Its arsenal includes 12 Granit torpedo tube-launched cruise missiles and Novator SS-N-15 Starfish and the Novator SS-N-16 Stallion anti-ship missiles.

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