India to lease second Akula-2 class nuclear powered submarine from Russia
India reportedly signed a deal with Russia to acquire a second Akula-2 class nuclear-powered attack submarine to strengthen Indian Navy’s capabilities.
The latest agreement, which is likely to worth around $2 billion, was signed on the sidelines of the 8th BRICS Summit in Goa, news reports revealed. India and Russia recently signed a total of 16 agreements mostly in the fields of defence, energy, power, shipbuilding and space.
Alexei Nikolski, a columnist with the Russian daily Vedomosti, was quoted by NDTV as saying: “”According to a source in the Russian defence industry, the long discussed lease to transfer a multipurpose Project 971 nuclear submarine to India from the Russian Navy was signed in Goa.”
The attack submarine is expected to arrive in Indian waters in 2020-21, Hindustan Times reported.
Currently, Indian Navy operates a Russian-built Akula 2 class nuclear submarine, INS Chakra, which was commissioned in 2012. The agreement for Russian nuclear submarine comes amidst the lease period of INS Chakra is set to expire in a few years.
Capable of sailing at speeds up to 35 knots, the Akula 2 class submarine is considered to be one of the most advanced nuclear powered fast attack submarines. Featuring the capacity to attack with torpedoes and cruise missiles, the submarine can strike ships, submarines and also targets on the land.
According to latest reports, India has joined the “Nuclear triad” club of superpowers with its first indigenous nuclear submarine, INS Arihant, operational since August. The Arihant was reportedly commissioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August.
With a design based on the Russian Akula-1 class submarines, INS Arihant weighs 6000-tonnes and can launch nuclear weapons from underwater. India’s second indigenous nuclear submarine of the same class, INS Aridhaman, is expected to be commissioned in 2018.