Russia, India to sign $3bn deal for nuclear attack submarine lease

Russia, India to sign $3bn deal for nuclear attack submarine lease

India and Russia will sign a $3 billion deal today for India to lease an Akula class nuclear-powered attack submarine.

india russia submarine deal

Photo: Indian Navy

India and Russia will sign a $3 billion deal today for India to lease an Akula class nuclear-powered attack submarine.

India has leased two Akula class submarines since 1988 – Chakra and Chakra II, the latter of which is still in service. The 10-year lease of the new sub, to be named Chakra III, is expected to begin after a fit-out process is completed in 2025.

India operates two types of nuclear submarines: attack submarines (SSNs) such as the Chakra II, designed to hunt ships and other submarines, and ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) that are capable of delivering nuclear warheads.

New Delhi has been developing indigenous submarines since the 1990s, launching its first Indian-built SSBN in 2009 under the Arihant class. After years of sea trials, INS Arihant went on its first operational patrol last November—a significant step for Indian nuclear deterrence.

A program to build six indigenous attack submarines is now under way. These will give India the ability to project its power in the Indian Ocean when launched in the mid-2030s.

Experience on Russian-built submarines has been crucial for India’s own capabilities; hundreds of sailors have been trained in Russia, while technology and designs have also been shared. Today’s deal is another step in a long and fruitful defence relationship.

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