India’s Nuclear Submarine Projects


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March 11/19: India leases Russian Submarine India signed a $3 billion contract for the lease of an Akula-1 class nuclear-powered attack submarine from Russia for a period of ten years. The submarine will be ready by 2025 and the contract includes refurbishment of the submarine with Indian communication and sensor systems, spares support and technical infrastructure for its operations. This submarine will replace INS Chakra, a submarine taken on a ten-year lease from Russia in 2012. The existing lease will be extended until the new submarine becomes operational. The so called Chakra III will not be equipped with long-range nuclear missiles because of international treaties and because it is not meant for deterrence patrols. In November last year, India’s first indigenous nuclear-powered submarine, INS Arihant, completed its first deterrence patrol. A second nuclear submarine, INS Arighat, will be commissioned later this year, with two more currently under construction.


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SSN Akula Class (click to view full) According to, India’s ATV (advanced technology vessel) program to build a nuclear-powered submarine began in 1974, and became a serious effort in 1985. The Federation of American Scientists’ December 1996 document “The Indian Strategic Nuclear Submarine Project: An Open Literature Analysis” remains one of the best single open sources on India’s program. Unfortunately, it was compiled over a decade ago and has become rather dated. That project has continued, and this DID Spotlight article continues to collect open source information on the ATV program. More and more sources were claiming that a rented Russian Akula class boat would be operational as a training vessel by 2009. The concept was correct, but the date was not. A deadly accident during K-152 Nerpa’s sea trials delayed that project, and further complications pushed its hand-over date to 2012. As efforts to move the Nerpa into service continue, India has finally launched its indigenous nuclear sub Arihant, to begin sea trials and testing. The ATV Program: Background Strategic Pressure: Keeping Up with the Shangs SSK Scorpene Class (click to view full) India has long sea lanes, and industrial progress is forcing greater interest in Africa, with […]

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