India Set to Lease Russian Nuclear Submarine under $3 Billion Deal

Reports in Indian media indicate that a 10-year, $3 billion lease of a Russian Akula class submarine is set to be inked this week under an intergovernmental agreement between New Delhi and Moscow. The submarine in question, which will be dubbed Chakra III in Indian Navy service, is a mothballed hull shipped to Severodvinsk in 2014 as part of an extensive building program. Under the agreement, the submarine will undergo a major buildup and activation of its nuclear reactor and be outfitted with Indian-sourced systems for communications and situational awareness.

India has leased a lone Russian nuclear attack submarine (SSN) dating back to 1988 when the original INS Chakra was brought into service under a three-year deal. The second submarine – in Indian service since April 2012 – arrived following a prolonged refit that allowed a capability gap to emerge. This submarine, Chakra II, was leased under a 10-year deal that may need to be extended in order to allow time for the work-up on the third vessel to be completed by 2025.

Reports indicate that the Chakra II lease may be extended out to 2027.

The lease is valuable to the Indian Navy not only because of the capability of the Russian SSN, but because it allows naval personnel to prepare for work on this submarine type, with more such vessels set to come into service in future years under an indigenous SSN program.

This program received the green-light from the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 18, 2015. The project calls for the construction of six SSNs, the parameters for which remain under wraps, as the project is classified. Navy officials, however, made note in December 2017 that the project had been launched. While design work has begun, the timeline for the program remains uncertain.


About Daniel Darling

Dan Darling is Forecast International’s director of military and defense markets. In this role, Dan oversees a team of analysts tasked with covering everything from budgeting to weapons systems to defense electronics and military aerospace. Additionally, for over 17 years Dan has, at various times, authored the International Military Markets reports for Europe, Eurasia, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region. Dan's work has been cited in Defense News, Real Clear Defense, Asian Military Review, Al Jazeera, and Financial Express, among others, and he has also contributed commentary to The Diplomat, The National Interest and World Politics Review. He has been quoted in Arabian Business, the Financial Times, Flight International, The New York Times, Bloomberg and National Defense Magazine. In addition, Dan has made guest appearances on the online radio show Midrats and on The Media Line, as well as The Red Line Podcast, plus media appearances on France 24 and World Is One News (WION).

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