India has signed agreement with Russia to lease second Akula-II class nuclear attack submarine (SSN). The deal is believed to be worth about $2 billion.
The lease to transfer a multipurpose Project 971 nuclear submarine to India from the Russian Navy was signed in Goa on the sidelines of 8th BRICS Summit. The second nuclear submarine is expected to arrive in Indian waters in 2020-21.
- India had earlier leased first Akula-II class nuclear attack submarine (SSN) for a period of 10 years from Russia.
- It was inducted into service as INS Chakra (formerly known as K-152 Nerpa) in April 2012. Its lease expires in 2021.
- Since then, India had expressed interest in leasing at least one more submarine to train Navy crew in complex submarine operations to have a large fleet of nuclear submarines.
Akula-class submarines of Project 97 (NATO name Akula-II) weigh around 8,140 tonnes. They are considered one of the most silent SSNs in service and are capable of sailing at speeds up to 35 knots. They are nuclear powered but are armed with conventional land attack missiles.
- Earlier in August 2016, India had quietly inducted its first indigenously built nuclear ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) Arihant into service completing its nuclear triad.
- Besides, follow-on submarines are also planned and at least two are in various stages of construction which will give India strategic foothold in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
- The second indigenous nuclear submarine of the same class, INS Aridhaman, will be commissioned in 2018.
Pakistan does not have a nuclear submarine and lacks a nuclear triad. China has four nuclear-powered submarines in operation and in a couple of years this number that will go up to six. China’s Nuclear-submarines carry a version of the Dong Feng nuclear missile that has a range of up to 7,000 km.