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SOURCE: TUSHKAR SHIRODKAR / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG.

Russia and India have agreed to lease an Akula class submarine to the Indian Navy for 10 years to be inducted as Chakra III possibly from 2025 onwards to replace the Chakra II submarine already in service with Indian Navy from 2012. K-322 Kashalot which was commissioned in the pacific fleet of Russia in 1988 is much older submarine than the current Chakra II in service with India but will come equipped with modern systems.

Amur Shipyard will be in charge of overhaul and modernization of the K-322 Kashalot before it is delivered to India in 2025. according to Russian media reports K-322 Kashalot has been in Amur Shipyard from 2014 for a major overhaul but was held up due to lack of funds. Russia had offered India K-322 Kashalot in 2015 to replace Chakra II which will complete its 10-year lease in 2022.

Amur Shipyard officials have said that once overhauled Chakra III will have better capabilities than Chakra II submarine in service with Indian Navy and Indian specific requirements and systems have been worked out between two governments. Chakra III will also have Indian developed communications and strategic systems which will eventually make into Six Nuclear powered Attack Submarines which India is planning to develop and induct by 2030.

Due to vast experience in the construction of Arihant class, Nuclear Ballistic missile submarines, work to produce next-generation nuclear-powered submarines for the Indian Navy already has started and special alloy for the hull already has been developed. Official Government approvals came in 2015 and in 2017 design phase for the upcoming SSN program was moving ahead steadily and it was expected that by 2020 design will be frozen and scale model testing might have begun.

Chakra III for the first time will see many technologies that will eventually make it into Six nuclear attack submarines and Chakra III will act as a test bed submarine to test and perfect many of the local systems before they make it into new submarines. Indian Navy and Russia have not revealed what Indian systems will make it into Chakra III. Russian engineers will also be consultants in the development of a new 190 MW pressurized water nuclear reactor by BARC, which India is planning to develop for its S5 Class Nuclear Ballistic missile submarines and SSN Program.

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