India's second nuclear SSN


New Member
Dec 24, 2011
Indian plans to lease a cutting edge nuclear attack submarine that would assist in technical knowhow for an indigenous project have run aground with Russia seen to be backing out on the deal. Senior officials in Delhi and Moscow have told ET that plans to lease a Yasen class attack submarine - two of which are in service with the Russian Navy - are being reconsidered after fairly advanced talks on the project.

India was keen on acquitting on lease the latest Russian submarine under a plan that would result in a new boat being constructed from scratch, giving planners and designers in the Navy here a rare peek into the building process of one of the most complex military systems in the world.

By being involved in the process from the beginning, India would have gained expertise for an indigenous project to produce six nuclear powered attack submarines (SSNs) for the Navy under a Rs 100000 crore project that was cleared by the Modi government in February. Talks were at an advanced stage with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval too said to be in the picture.

However, ET has learnt that Russia is reconsidering and has now offered India one of its older Akula class submarines on lease, similar to the Chakra IIthat is currently in service with the Indian Navy on lease. "The plan now is to lease an attack submarine that is in service with the Russian Navy. This submarine would be deeply modernized to meet Indian requirements," an official familiar with the developments told ET.

This submarine would be modernized at a shipyard in Severodvinsk, the Russian city where the INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier was refitted as well.

While the Indian Navy has been taken aback with the development, efforts are still on to rescue the Yasen project, with planners said to be against the lease of yet another, older generation nuclear submarine from Russia. "We are hoping for a resolution and there is a possibility that this (the refusal) is a negotiating tactic. We have not closed hopes on the project yet," an Indian official told ET.

The circumstances behind the blockage are unclear, though sources point that the funding required to build a new Yasen class submarine from scratch could be an issue as it mean a considerable contribution by the Indian side. Another issue could be Moscow's observations that Indian planners have been in talks with French and US submarine builders also for possible collaboration on the SSN project for the Navy.

Clarity is expected on the matter during PM Narendra Modi's Moscow visit this week where the lease plan, as well as other military projects are to be discussed in detail. Besides the nuclear submarine, Russia is also keen on selling India two of its advanced Kilo class submarines that are under construction in St Petersburg.

Global Defence