More Submarines: India Signs Lease Agreement With Russia For Akula-II Class Nuclear Attack SubmarineINS Chakra-II Submarine which will be replaced by Chakra-III (@livefist/Twitter)

India and Russia have signed a US $3 billion deal for the Indian Navy to lease an Akula-II class nuclear attack (SSN) submarine, Livefist has reported.

The deal is reportedly the biggest defence deal between India and Russia since a sale agreement for S-400 air defence systems was finalised for $5.5 billion in 2018. The intergovernmental agreement paves the way for the currently mothballed hull of an Akula class submarine in possession of Russia to be fully built, customised and fitted with Indian developed equipment or sensors.

The refit program is planned to be completed by 2025 with the lease period lasting for 10 years. This submarine named as Chakra-III will replace the INS Chakra-II that was also acquired from Russia under a lease agreement.

According to the Economic Times, Indian personnel will also be involved in the refit project and such experience may come in handy for India which has been running programs to design and build nuclear submarines for some years now.

INS Arihant, a nuclear powered submarine armed with ballistic missiles tipped with nuclear weapons, was the first locally built Indian nuclear vessel to enter naval service. INS Arighat, a follow on unit, is likely to be commissioned after 2020.

India also has a conventional diesel powered submarine building program underway with the construction of six Scorpene class submarines at the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited, Mumbai. Another tender for building six more submarines under Project 75I is expected to be awarded in future.

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