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Pre-delivery trials of Nerpa nuke sub to complete this month

A file photo.

MOSCOW (PTI): The pre-delivery trials of the Akula-II class nuclear attack submarine K-152 the "Nerpa" are expected to be completed by the end of August for handing over to the Indian Navy on a 10-year lease.

In the course of the trials in the Sea of Japan under the supervision of the Russian naval personnel and experts of the manufacturer, Indian crew is honing the skill to handle the deadly weapon platform before sailing for home port some time in autumn (September-November), according to state-run ITAR-TASS news agency.

"The Indian crew is giving a kind of proficiency test to the Russian experts. After the completion of trials in the end of August, the process of transfer of the nuclear submarine to the Indian Navy will commence," the agency reported quoting unnamed officials of Amur Shipyard – the manufacturer of the Nerpa.

"The Indian side has no complaints about the boat," the shipyard officials said.

The Indian crew underwent almost a two-year-long training course including a six month crash course in Russian language in India and about 18 month training in St Petersburg to sail and operate the weapon system of "Shchuka-B" class (NATO codename Akula-II) of Project 971.

The Indian crew will bring the vessel from Vladivostok to India and a group of Russian submariners will accompany it "just in any case", who will then return to Vladivostok.

The Nerpa designed by St Petersburg-based "Malachite" and "NPO Avrora" is a third generation nuclear submarine, which was laid at Amur Shipyard in 1991 just before the Soviet collapse and its construction was frozen in mid-1990s due to cash crunch.

India had financed its completion under a USD 650-800 million deal according to various Russian media reports.

The Nerpa was commissioned by the Russian Navy in December 2009 after several delays, including the delay caused by the deadly release of toxic mixture of Freon gas in the sleeping quarters during trails in November 2008, when 20 sailors and technical staff of the shipyard were killed.

Like the earlier, Charlie class nuclear submarine leased by the Indian Navy from the erstwhile USSR in early 1980s, the Nerpa will also be christened INS Chakra.


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