India sails new nuclear submarine home

India new nuclear submarineNEW DELHI: Indian Navy personnel took command of the country’s first nuclear-powered submarine on Monday.

The handing over ceremony of the submarine was held in the far-eastern Primorye Territory of Russia. India’s Ambassador to Moscow Ajai Malhotra, United Shipbuilding Corporation head Roman Trotsenko, Eastern Military District Commander Admiral Konstantin Sidenko and other officials attended the ceremony. Moscow has offered the Russian-built Chakra II to the Indian Navy on a 10-year lease under a $900 million dollar contract.

The Akula II class vessel is the first nuclear-powered submarine to be operated by India since it decommissioned its last Soviet-built vessel in 1991. The 8,140-tonne submarine is capable of firing a range of torpedoes as well as nuclear-tipped Granat cruise missiles. The vessel set sail under the Indian flag to its base at Visakhapatnam in the Bay of Bengal.

India is currently completing the development of its own Arihant-class nuclear-powered ballistic submarines and the Russian delivery is expected to help crews train for the domestic vessel, which will be introduced into its naval service next year. The submarine was originally expected to be handed over to India in 2009 but was hit by various problems during its testing. During trials in the Sea of Japan in November 2008, 20 sailors were killed when a fire extinguisher released a deadly chemical that had been accidentally loaded into the system. – Dailytimes