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Nerpa's pre-commissioning sea trials from Nov 15

Akula class nuclear attack submarine of Russia. A File photo.

MOSCOW (PTI): India's undersea warfare capabilities will receive a boost as Russia is set to hand over the Akula-II class 'Nerpa' nuclear attack submarine early next year, with the vessel going for the final pre-commissioning trials on November 15.

"The state-trials are to commence on November 15. Usually they last for two weeks. On the boat there are no more unresolved issues," Anatoly Zinovyev, chief of the pre-delivery trials department of Amur Shipyard, was quoted as saying by Interfax.

He said currently preparations are underway for the pre-commissioning sea trials and minor flaws found during technical trails are being put in order.

According to earlier reports, 'Nerpa' will be inducted by the Russian navy by the end of this year after which the Indian naval crew would undergo training by Russian instructors and then the sub would be rechristened as INS Chakra during its 10-year lease costing USD 650 million.

Initially Russia was to deliver the nuclear sub, said to be the quietest vessel, last summer itself, but the delivery has been delayed till the beginning of March-April 2010.

The Akula-II class 'Nerpa' nuclear submarine was hit by a mishap on November 8, 2008 during trial sailing in the Sea of Japan, when 21 sailors and technical staff were killed due to accidental release of toxic gas from the fire suppression system.

The probe had identified a sailor, who had tempered with the temperature gauge resulting in the release of toxic fire suppression agent.

According to the shipyard official, the 'algorithm' of the fire suppression system has been modified.

He underscored that there was no fire on board the sub last year and the casualties were caused due to use of cheaper but highly toxic tetra-chloride ethylene in place of inert Freon 114 B2.

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