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Russia Chooses To Dismantle Former INS Chakra And Now ‘Nerpa’ Nuclear Submarine

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Russia Chooses To Dismantle Former INS Chakra And Now ‘Nerpa’ Nuclear Submarine


by Joseph P Chacko

The Russian Navy proposes dismantling the damaged nuclear-powered submarine “Shchuka-B” from Project 971U, which was leased to the Indian Navy and renamed “Chakra-2.”

For budgetary reasons, the Russian Navy’s Main Command has deemed it impractical to repair and modernise the damaged nuclear-powered submarine “Nerpa,” which is now at one of the shipyards in Vladivostok. Instead, they recommend getting rid of it.

The hulls of Chakra-2 sustained damage when a High-Pressure (HP) air bottle exploded on board in April 2020. Hydro-Acoustic devices and electronic equipment were also impacted. India prematurely terminated the submarine’s leasing agreement following the incident.

Based on my estimation of the accident and the submarine’s state afterwards, the HP air system had degraded, which meant it needed to be replaced completely. Fixing the submarine would have cost a lot of time and money, so it might not have been possible economically (Beyond Economic Repair/ BER).

Although the HP Air bottle explosion occurred in a specific location, it was necessary to conduct a comprehensive survey to proceed with the investigation because HP Air is the submarine’s lifeline. Internal corrosion in HP air bottles is a possibility.

The submarine might have had a minimum life of a couple of years and possibly even longer, even after repairs. Russian submarines have a thirty-to-forty-year lifespan.

The INS Chakra returned to Russia on its own power on the surface because of the unreliability of the HP air system. This also shows no problems with the power plant’s dependability.

No Official Statement

Russia or the Indian Navy has not publicly explained the premature return of INS Chakra.

On June 5, the Indian media stated that India’s leased atomic submarine, “Chakra”, had been returned to Russia. The decision was linked to the lease’s expiration date. According to Indian media, the submarine was escorted to Vladivostok by Russian and Indian ships. The submarine had then reached Singapore, and the Indian crew was on board. In 2012, the Indian side leased the submarine.

On Wednesday, June 9, 2021, the Russian news outlet TASS first revealed the cause, citing an insider in the defence sector. According to the report, a high-pressure air bottle on board the submarine “Chakra” (INS Chakra), project 971U “Shchuka-B,” exploded, forcing it to be returned to Russia from India. TASS later withdrew the message at 12:21 Moscow time, claiming it had been released incorrectly.

Initially, the source stated that the event occurred during a deployment in the spring of 2020, damaging the submarine’s light and durable hulls, between which the air bottle was located. Radio-electronic and hydroacoustic weapons were also affected. Following the explosion, Indian specialists repaired both hulls of the submarine, which autonomously went to Russia in the surface position.

As reported by the media, India entered into a contract with Russia in 2019 to lease a nuclear submarine for the Indian Navy for ten years. The agreement was worth three billion dollars. At this point, India had leased a nuclear submarine from Russia for the second time. In 1988 the first one, referred to as “Chakra,” was leased from the Soviet Union for three years.

The construction of the nuclear-powered assault submarine known as “Nerpa,” which has a displacement of 8140 tons, originally started in 1991 at the Amur Shipbuilding Plant. However, due to a lack of funds, the development of the submarine was delayed for more than ten years. In 2000, India and Russia agreed to the long-term lease of the K-152 “Nerpa.” “Nerpa” was technically ready at 86.5% when the agreement was reached and ready to be used. It was planned that a second submarine of the same sort would be developed and then leased to India after it was finished.

Chakra-2 was first damaged during its lease to the Indian Navy on October 3, 2017. At the time, Admiral Sunil Lanba, the Chief of Naval Staff of India, confirmed the incident on December 1, 2017, during a press conference leading up to the Navy Day that year. According to Lanba, the hydroacoustic dome of Chakra 2 was damaged, and two hull panels were displaced.

The catastrophe occurred around the time the submarine was entering the harbour of Visakhapatnam. As reported by TASS, Russia would repair the hydro-acoustic dome of Chakra-2 for $20 Million. The price tag covered the production of replacement panels at their facilities and shipment to India. Finally, the repairs were undertaken by the Indian Navy’s Naval Dock Visakhapatnam (ND(V)), overseen by Russian specialists, and the special shield plates were sent from Russia. The total cost was around $25 Million.

Joseph P Chacko is the publisher of Frontier India, Flicks Town and D2Mobi. He holds an M.B.A in International Business





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INS Arihant’s Nuke-Capable K-4 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile ‘Ready To Roll’

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INS Arihant’s Nuke-Capable K-4 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile ‘Ready To Roll’


NEW DELHI: India tested its nuclear capable K-4 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), designed to have a strike range of 3,500 km, for the second time in six days on Friday. The missile test, as the one conducted on January 19, was undertaken from an undersea platform in the shape of a submersible pontoon off the coast of Andhra Pradesh according to a report by Rajat Pandit of TOI.

The solid-fuelled K-4 missile is being developed by DRDO to arm the country’s nuclear-powered submarines in the shape of INS Arihant and its under-development sister vessels. INS Arihant, which became fully operational in November 2018 to complete India’s nuclear triad, is currently armed with the much shorter K-15 missiles with a 750 km range.

“The K-4 is now virtually ready for its serial production to kick-off. The two tests have demonstrated its capability to emerge straight from underwater and undertake its parabolic trajectory,” said a source.

India has the land-based Agni missiles, with the over 5,000-km Agni-V inter-continental ballistic missile now in the process of being inducted, and fighter jets jury-rigged to deliver nuclear weapons. But INS Arihant gives the country’s deterrence posture much more credibility because nuclear-powered submarines armed with nuclear-tipped missiles are considered the most secure, survivable and potent platforms for retaliatory strikes.

Once the K-4 missiles are inducted, they will help India narrow the gap with countries like the US, Russia and China, which have over 5,000-km range SLBMs. The K-4 missiles are to be followed by the K-5 and K-6 missiles in the 5,000-6,000 km range class.

The 6,000-ton INS Arihant, which is propelled by an 83 MW pressurised light-water reactor at its core, in turn, is to be followed by INS Arighat, which was launched in 2017. The next generation of nuclear submarines, currently called S-4 and S-4*, will be much larger in size.





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After Upgradation, Sukhoi Su-30MKI Indigenisation To Reach 78%

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After Upgradation, Sukhoi Su-30MKI Indigenisation To Reach 78%


India has received clearance to upgrade 84 Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets, which will result in 78% indigenization after the upgrade

In a significant step towards bolstering its military might with indigenously developed technology, India is poised to witness its Russian-origin Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets evolve into a domestic platform. Speaking at a recent lecture.

The upgrade program is being led by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in partnership with the Indian Air Force and other partners. The upgrade is expected to cost US$7.5 billion.

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) granted Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the upgrade. The upgrade is part of India’s efforts to improve the capabilities of its primary fighter aircraft, it refers to as the “Super Sukhoi”.

This initiative is a part of a larger effort by the Indian Air Force to modernize its ageing fleet. Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari asserted the critical role of an offensive air force as demonstrated in current global conflicts and emphasized India’s move towards an indigenized arsenal. To this end, the IAF has been proactive, from upgrading its Mirage 2000 to enhancing its MiG-29 fleet.

In summary, the IAF’s commitment to updating their combat forces with the latest technology, including shifting to fifth-generation fighter jets, ensures operational preparedness and a strong deterrence capability. The gradual indigenization of its air fleet marks a pivotal shift in India’s defence landscape, reducing dependency on foreign imports and fostering technological sovereignty.





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Akash Weapon System Exports For The Armenian Armed Forces Gathers Pace

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Akash Weapon System Exports For The Armenian Armed Forces Gathers Pace


According to unconfirmed reports, Armenia is a top contender for an export order for Akash SAM system manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL).

While there is no official confirmation because of the sensitivities involved, documents suggest that the order for the same has already been placed the report further added.
There are nine countries, in turn, which have shown interest in the indigenously-developed Akash missile systems, which can intercept hostile aircraft, helicopters, drones and subsonic cruise missiles at a range of 25-km. They are Kenya, Philippines, Indonesia, UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Vietnam and Algeria reported TOI.

The Akash export version will also be slightly different from the one inducted by the armed forces. The 100-km range air-to-air Astra missiles, now entering production after successful trials from Sukhoi-30MKI fighters, also have “good export potential”, said sources.

Akash is a “tried, tested and successfully inducted systems”. Indian armed forces have ordered Akash systems worth Rs 24,000 crore over the years, and MoD inked a contract in Mar 2023 of over Rs 9,100 crores for improved Akash Weapon System

BDL is a government enterprise under the Ministry of Defence that was established in 1970. BDL manufactures surface-to-air missiles and delivers them to the Indian Army. BDL also offers its products for export.

Akash Weapon System

The AWS is a Short Range Surface to Air Missile (SRSAM) Air Defence System, indigenously designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). In order to meet aerial threats, two additional Regiments of AWS with Upgradation are being procured for Indian Army for the Northern borders. Improved AWS has Seeker Technology, Reduced Foot Print, 360° Engagement Capability and improved environmental parameters.

The project will give a boost to the Indian missile manufacturing industry in particular and the indigenous defence manufacturing ecosystem as a whole. The project has overall indigenous content of 82% which will be increased to 93% by 2026-27.

The induction of the improved AWS into the Indian Army will increase India’s self-reliance in Short Range Missile capability. This project will play a role in boosting the overall economy by avoiding outgo of precious foreign exchange to other countries, increasing employment avenues in India and encouraging Indian MSMEs through components manufacturing. Around 60% of the project cost will be awarded to the private industry, including MSMEs, in maintaining the supply chain of the weapon system, thereby creating large scale of direct and indirect employment.





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