VLADIVOSTOK, October 16 (RIA Novosti) - The Nerpa nuclear attack submarine will enter service with Russia's Pacific Fleet in December 2009 and will then be leased out to the Indian Navy, a high-ranking fleet official said on Friday.
The Nerpa, which was damaged in a fatal accident during tests in November last year, has been docked at the Amur shipyard's Vostok repair facility in the town of Bolshoy Kamen in Primorye Territory since the end of new sea trials following repairs.
"The submarine has undergone a range of sea trials, and [final] state tests will begin in late October or early November, after which the Nerpa will be adopted by the Pacific Fleet," the spokesman said.
He said a crew of Indian submariners would undergo a course of training together with Russian specialists and servicemen in early 2010.
They will subsequently operate on their own under the supervision of Russian instructors, after which the submarine will be leased to the Indian Navy under the name INS Chakra.
On November 8, 2008, while the Nerpa was undergoing sea trials, its onboard fire extinguishing system went off, releasing a deadly gas into the sleeping quarters. Three crewmembers and 17 shipyard workers were killed. There were 208 people, 81 of them submariners, aboard the vessel at the time.
India reportedly paid $650 million for a 10-year lease of the 12,000-ton K-152 Nerpa, an Akula II class nuclear-powered attack submarine.
Akula II class vessels are considered the quietest and deadliest of all Russian nuclear-powered attack submarines.