New Delhi (Sputnik) — India and Russia, on Thursday, signed a $3.3 billion deal for leasing a third nuclear-powered attack submarine- Akula Class- in New Delhi. Defence sources confirmed to Sputnik that the two countries have signed the inter-governmental agreement (IGA) for the Akula class submarine which is likely to be delivered to the Indian Navy by 2025. One of the several incomplete Soviet-era Akula hulls mothballed at the Zvezdochka shipyard in Severodvinsk would undergo a deep refit and rebuild, to be fitted with Indian sensors, operation room electronics, and communication equipment before being delivered to India.
The submarine will be called Chakra-3 and will replace Chakra-2, whose 10 years lease is set to expire by 2022. However, the lease of Chakra-2 is expected to be extended for another five years to have sufficient time for the Chakra-3 to come on board.
The deal is signed after the proposal to acquire another Akula-class submarine obtained all major clearances from the Indian Defence Ministry in December 2018 after an Indian naval delegation inspected two Akula-class submarines, the Bratsk and the Samara, to select the one to be leased.
The Indian Navy had been negotiating for a second Akula-class submarine for several years. In 2015, however, the Navy temporarily switched its preference to the more advanced Project 885/885M Yasen-class SSN, one of which was commissioned by the Russian Navy in mid-2014. A further five to seven Yasen-class submarines were on order for the Russian Navy and the Indian Navy wanted its technicians to be involved in their construction. However, the negotiations to acquire Yasen Class submarine for the Indian Navy did not materlaise.
At present, the Indian Navy has a total of 13 conventional submarines plus one domestically-produced Arihant-class nuclear submarine and one Akula-class submarine on lease from Russia.