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India to receive Russia's Nerpa submarine in May 2010

December 28, 2009 14:25 IST

India will receive its first new generation Nerpa Akula-II class nuclear attack submarine by March next year on a ten-year lease with the vessel being inducted into the Russian navy prior to its transfer.

The Nerpa submarine was on Monday formally inducted into the Russian navy with the raising of St Andrews Flag, shipyard officials said.

The commissioning of the submarine coincided with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's visit to the region, but it was not clear whether he was present at the ceremony.

The submarine will be subsequently leased to the Indian Navy under the name INS Chakra in March for $650 million for a 10-year lease.

The 12,000-ton K-152 Nerpa, an Akula II class nuclear-powered attack submarine, belongs to the class of the quietest and deadliest of all Russian nuclear-powered attack submarines.

The Nerpa was to be initially leased to the Indian Navy in mid-2009, but its delivery was delayed due to a fatal accident that killed 21 crewmen and technical staff following the release of lethal Freon gas in the sleeping quarters, while sailing in the Sea of Japan.

Built by the Amur Shipyards in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, the submarine has 'successfully passed final trials', a Pacific Fleet spokesman said.

"A state commission has concluded that judging by the results of all trials, the Nerpa nuclear submarine is ready to enter service with the Russian Navy," a Pacific Fleet official was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

According to earlier media reports, an Indian crew is expected to arrive on Russia's Bolshoi Kamen (Big Rock) port on the Pacific Coast in January for joint pre-delivery sailing with the Russian naval crew, to be followed by independent sailing under the supervision of Russian instructors.

Vinay Shukla In Moscow
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