Saturday, September 5, 2009

Indian Navy crew to join Russian sub sea trials in Far East


A crew of Indian submariners will take part in sea trials of a Russian nuclear submarine in mid-September, a source involved in the trials said on Friday. Russia's Nerpa nuclear attack submarine, damaged in a fatal accident during tests last November, resumed sea trials on July 10 in the Sea of Japan after extensive repairs that cost an estimated 1.9 billion rubles ($60 million).

The submarine is to be leased to the Indian Navy by the end of 2009 under the name INS Chakra. The source said the Indian submariners would need to undergo a course of training together with Russian specialists and servicemen. They will subsequently operate on their own under the supervision of Russian instructors.

On November 8, 2008, while the Nerpa was undergoing sea trials in the Sea of Japan, its on-board fire suppression system activated, releasing a deadly gas into the sleeping quarters. Three crewmembers and 17 shipyard workers were killed. There were 208 people, 81 of them submariners, on board the vessel at the time.

India reportedly paid $650 million for a 10-year lease of the 12,000-ton K-152 Nerpa, an Akula II class nuclear-powered attack submarine. Akula II class vessels are considered the quietest and deadliest of all Russian nuclear-powered attack submarines.

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