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India to lease Russian nuclear-powered sub in $3bn deal – local media

India to lease Russian nuclear-powered sub in $3bn deal – local media
An upgraded Akula-class nuclear-powered submarine is said to join the Indian Navy’s underwater fleet in less than six years under a $3-billion lease deal with Russia, local media reported.

Adding to an array of sizeable arms deals made this year, India and Russia came to terms on the lease of one Akula-class sub, Indian media reported citing defense sources. The vessel, which now has to be refurbished at Russian shipyards, will be commissioned to the Indian Navy by 2025.

Dubbed Chakra III, it is coming to replace INS Chakra I, another Akula-class underwater ship currently operated by India. Chakra’s existing lease will be extended until at least 2025 through a separate deal “until the new submarine, which will be bigger and more advanced than it, becomes operational,” one of the sources said.

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The nuclear-powered submarine, locally known as ‘Shchuka-B’, has once been a backbone of Soviet and Russian hunter-killer fleet. It is armed with older-issue Granat cruise missile or the newest Kalibr as well as a range of torpedoes, anti-aircraft missiles, and mines.

The Indian Navy has been using Russian-built vessels since the late 1960s. Submarines aside, Russia delivered a Kirov-class aircraft carrier, now called INS Vikramaditya, as well as several frigates and littoral combat ships to the Southeast Asian country over the past years.

Russia has also become India’s major supplier of small arms after it inaugurated a Kalashnikov factory on Indian soil last week. The compound, jointly run by Indians and Russians, is set to produce as many as 750,000 203-series AK rifles for Indian army and other services.

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