New Delhi: The Indian government on Thursday signed a USD 3 billion deal with Russia for a lease of a nuclear-powered Akula class attack submarine for 10 years. The inter-governmental agreement has come after months of negotiations on price and other aspects of the crucial deal, stated military sources.

As per the pact, Russia has agreed to deliver the submarine called Chakra III to Indian Navy by the year 2025. Chakra III  will be the third Russian submarine that will be leased to the Indian Navy. Reports claim that Chakra III will be equipped with Indian communication systems and sensors, including the indigenously-developed USHUS integrated sonar system, Panchendriya sonar and a refurbished hull. The submarine is likely to get a unified submarine sonar and tactical control system, like the one used on the INS Arihant.

The new submarine weighs around 8,140-ton and will have a submerged speed of 30 knots and an operating depth of 530 meters. Chakra III can carry 73 crew and comes loaded with four 650-millimetre and four 533-millimetre launch tubes for firing Type 65 and Type 53 Russian torpedoes. The submarine will be propelled by a 190 mW nuclear reactor.

The first Russian nuclear-powered submarine was INS Chakra which was taken on lease by Indian Navy in 1988 for a three-year period. The second Russian submarine leased to India in 2012 for a period of 10 years was INS Chakra. Sources revealed that since Chakra II’s lease will expire in 2022, the Indian government has already begun negotiations to extend the lease period.

The third submarine would be a valuable addition to the naval prowess of the country. Chakra III is a counter to China’s attempts to expand its influence across the Indian Ocean.

Currently, the Indian Navy has 14 conventional submarines apart from a nuclear attack and nuclear ballistic missile submarine.

(With PTI inputs)