July 5, 2009

INDIAS NEW SSNs (Everything going well)

Indias Planned new Akuls (Project 971 Shuka- B, SSN)

On 5 December 2000 India announced new negotiations with Russia to lease a nuclear-powered attack submarine. The goal was to retain the familiarization with nuclear propulsion gained during the three-year lease of the Chakra. India’s interest in leasing a pair of Type 971 SSNs was based in part on the slow progress in the Advanced Technology Vessel. Reports are in conflict as to whether the submarines in question are the improved Akula or the Akula-II. As of 2000 there were a pair of both types in a state of partial completion. By 2007 the discussion of the state of completion of the vessels contemplated for lease strongly suggested that they would be the improved Akula Nerpa, laid down in 1986, and Kaban, laid down in 1992.

As of November 2001 it was reported that the the terms of lease for a single Akula II/Schuka-B class nuclear-powered submarine had been finalized in September 2001. The submarine, to be leased for three years at a price of $25 million for it, was expected to arrive in Vishakapatnam in early 2002. However, as of February 2002 the Russian submarines were slated to begin service in the Indian Navy in 2004 under a five-year lease. India was to help finance the construction of the two new Akula class boats with the proceeds allowing Russia to complete the first Type 855 SSN. At that time no agreement had been reached on the transfer of the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier, the proposed lease of two Akulas, or the purchase of four Tu-22M Backfire bombers.

As of mid-2002 the Indian Ministry of Defence was saying little about a move to lease-purchase two Project 971 class nuclear submarines from Russia. But negotiations were reported to be at an advanced stage and India's commitment could include providing money to enable Russia to complete construction work on the subs. The subs in question were believed at that time to be of the Project 971 improved Akula-II class.

On 20 January 2004 India finalized the purchase of the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov after over a decade of negotiations. But Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov and Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes did not reach agreement on other weapons, such as the Tu-22 Backfire bombers or Akula-class nuclear submarines.

By mid-2005 India appeared set to get at least two Akula class subs on lease — with the option to buy them— from Russia by end of 2005. The construction of a training center for the Indian defence officers in Sosnovy Bor, west of St Petersburg, confirmed Russia’s intentions to lease nuclear submarines to India. The international center started training 300 Indian Naval officers by mid-September 2005. This number suggested 4 Akula crews (2 on, 2 off duty rotations.) The leasing/buying of Akulas would train crews and augment force levels as the ATV goes into serial production.

As of 2005, the two Akulas, one said to be 70-85% complete and the other said to be 40-60% complete, were estimated to cost India some $400m. The leasing costs would amount to some $25m a year. The construction of both submarines and training of the crews could run up to around $2 billion.

These submarines are to be manned entirely by Indian crew. In August 2005 Bellona Web reported evidence of construction of a nuclear submarine training center for the Indian Navy in Sosnovy Bor, 70 kilometers west of St. Petersburg in Russia. The training center, large enough to train 300 submariners, was built following the visit of Russian President Vladamir Putin to India in December 2004. By 2007 there were reports that nearly 300 Indian naval personnel, or three sets of crews, had trained to operate the submarine the training facility in Sosnovy Bor. These personnel were reported to have returned to India in early 2007, after completion of training.

By late 2007 the two sides were said to be set to seal an agreement for the lease of two Akula class nuclear submarines to India. This agreement was to be the high point of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Moscow on 10 November 2007, a reminder of the heyday of the Indo-Russian relationship. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh went to Moscow on a two-day visit, and nothing was publicly agreed. The visit was expected to envisage upgrading the predominant buyer-seller relationship between India and Russia in the defense sector to a new level of joint partnership for co-developing state-of-the-art future weaponries.

The Akulas were to be delivered to the Indian Navy in 2008 on a lease of at least seven years, and up to ten years. This acquisition was to help the Indian Navy prepare for the induction of the ATV, India's long-delayed indigenous nuclear-powered submarine, set for for sea trials in 2009. The cost to India of acquiring two Akula submarines and their support infrastructure along with training of the crews had been estimated at $2 billion. Other estimates suggested that the deal, which could be worth over Rs 2,000 crore, about $500 million to $650 million dollars.

Russia reportedly intended to use the money from the Indian lease to complete two Akula class submarines, long under construction at the Amur Shipbuilding yard. One of them [the Nerpa] was 70 to 85 percent complete, while the other one [Kaban] is 40 to 60 percent complete [other earlier reports had suggested that Kaban was only 25% complete].

The first of these two submarines was reportedly planned to be named INS Chakra. In January 1988 India had arranged a three-year transfer of a Charlie-I class nuclear attack submarine from the Soviet Union, also named Chakra. The word comes from the Sanskrit "cakra" meaning "wheel, circle", and sometimes also referring to the "wheel of life". The Indian flag is a familiar horizontal tricolor of orange, white, and green, with a blue Ashoka Chakra with 24 spokes at the center. In Hinduism and its spiritual systems of yoga a chakra is thought to be an energy node in the human body. The seven main chakras are described as being aligned in an ascending column from the base of the spine to the top of the head. The flag code of India from the official Home Ministry website of the Indian government states that "The Ashoka Wheel in the centre of the white is the wheel of the law of dharma. Truth or satya, dharma or virtue ought to be the controlling principles of those who work under this flag. Again, the wheel denotes motion. There is death in stagnation. There is life in movement. India should no more resist change, it must move and go forward. The wheel represents the dynamism of a peaceful change."

The submarine was to join the Indian Navy in August 2007, then the induction was rescheduled to August 2009. Repeated deiays may be due to a large number of new systems and technologies installed onboard the Nerpa, the latest in a series of Schucka-B or Akula-I1 (NATO designation) class attack submarines built in Russia. The construction of the Akula II class Nerpa nuclear attack submarine started in 1991, but was suspended for over a decade due to a lack of funding. Indian media have reported on various occasions that the construction of the submarine was partially financed by the Indian government. India has reportedly paid $650 million for a 10-year lease of the 12,000-ton submarine.

On 08 November 2008, while the submarine was undergoing trials in the Sea of Japan, a crew member is believed to have entered the wrong data into the temperature sensor, which caused the fire safety system to release Freon gas into the living quarters killing 20 sailors. The Russian Navy said the sea trials of the submarine would continue after the investigation into the recent tragedy and certain technical adjustments are made in the fire safety system. The submarine's reactor was not affected by the accident, which took place in the nose of the submarine, and radiation levels on board remained normal.

The Russian Navy will commission the Nerpa nuclear submarine, which was involved in a fire accident killing 20 people on board, rather than sell or lease it to India. The Chief of the General Staff of Russia, General Nikolai Makarov, said "The sum of $650-780 million, which Rosoboronexport and the Amur Shipbuilding Plant had negotiated over a long period of time with the Indian defence ministry, will now be found in Russia, either within the state weapons procurement programme or somewhere else." Nerpa will reportedly join other seven Akula class submarines in Russia's Pacific Fleet.

On 11 February 2009 an Indian team has visited a dock in Russia's Far East where the Nerpa nuclear submarine has been kept since last year's fatal accident. During their two-day visit to the Vostok dockyard, the Indian delegates inspected the submarine and met with experts employed at the dock.

Russian officials had consistently denied any plans to sell India a nuclear submarine. Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Center for Analysis and Technologies, Russia's leading arms export think tank, ruled out the possibility of Russia pulling out of the leasing deal. In the light of the current problems with the Gorshkov aircraft carrier refit for India, cancellation of the submarine deal would deal a crushing blow to defence cooperation, Mr. Pukhov said.
Specifications of Bars Class project 971
Crew - 73
Surfaced Displacement - 8,140t
Displacement, Submerged - 12,770t
Overall Height - 11.3m
Hull Cross Section - 13.6m x 9.68m
Diving Depth - 600m
Run Speed Surfaced - 10kt

The Russian Navy has 14 Bars Class project 971 submarines known in the West as the Akula Class nuclear-powered submarines (SSN). A number of Russian Akula class submarines are deployed in the Pacific region.
The submarines were built by the Amur Shipbuilding Plant Joint Stock Company at Komsomolsk-on-Amur and at the Severodvinsk shipbuilding yard. Seven Akula I submarines were commissioned between 1986 and 1992, and three Improved Akula between 1992 and 1995.

Three Akula II submarines, with hull length extended by 4m and advanced machinery-quietening technology, have been built.

"Three Akula II submarines, with advanced machinery-quietening technology, have been built."
The first, Viper, was commissioned in 1995, the second, Nerpa, in December 2000 and the third, Gepard, in August 2001. The Akula II submarines are 110m long and displace up to 12,770t. They have a maximum speed of 35kt submerged and a maximum diving depth of 600m.
The Indian Navy has signed an agreement with Russia to lease a new Akula II submarine, SSN Nerpa, for ten years. The vessel is being completed at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur shipyard and is scheduled for delivery in August 2009.

Akula submarine design
The submarine has a double-hulled configuration with a distinctive high aft fin. The hull has seven compartments and the stand-off distance between the outer and inner hulls is considerable, reducing the possible inner hull damage. The very low acoustic signature has been achieved by incremental design improvements to minimise noise generation and transmission – for example, the installation of active noise cancellation techniques.
The retractable masts viewed from bow to stern are the periscopes, radar antennae, radio and satellite communications and navigation masts.


The Akula Class carry up to 12 Granit submarine-launched cruise missiles. The missiles are fired from the 533mm torpedo launch tubes. Granit (Nato designation: SS-N-21 Sampson) has a range of about 3,000km and delivers a 200kt warhead.

The CEP (the circle of equal probability) is 150m. The CEP value is a measure of the accuracy of strike on the target and is the radius of the circle within which half the strikes will impact. The land attack Granit missile uses inertial and terrain following guidance.

The submarine's anti-ship missiles are the Novator SS-N-15 Starfish and the Novator SS-N-16 Stallion. The Starfish, fired from the 533mm tubes, has a target range of 45km. The Stallion, fired from the 650mm tubes, has a longer range of up to 100km. The Stallion and the Starfish can be armed with a 200kt warhead or a type 40 torpedo.

An air defence capability is provided by a Strela SA-N-5/8 portable missile launcher with 18 missiles.


The submarine has eight torpedo launch tubes, four 650mm and four 533mm tubes. The Improved Akula and Akula II have ten, with six 533mm tubes. The four 650mm tubes can be fitted with liners to provide additional 533mm weapon launch capacity. The torpedo tubes can be used to launch mines instead of torpedoes. The Akula can launch a range of anti-submarine and anti-surface vessel torpedoes.


The Akula's surface search radar is the Snoop Pair or the Snoop Half. The surface search radar antennae are installed on the same mast as the Rim Hat radar intercept receiver.
"The Akula Class submarines carry up to 12 Granit submarine-launched cruise missiles."

The submarine is fitted with the MGK 540 sonar system which provides automatic target detection in broad and narrow-band modes by active sonar. It gives the range, relative bearing and range rate.

The sonar system can also be used in a passive, listening mode for detection of hostile sonars. The sonar signal processor can detect and automatically classify targets as well as reject spurious acoustic noise sources and compensate for variable acoustic conditions.


The main machinery consists of a VM-5 pressure water reactor rated at 190MW with a GT3A turbine developing 35MW. Two auxiliary diesels rated at 750hp provide emergency power. The propulsion system drives a seven-bladed fixed-pitch propeller.

The propulsion system provides a maximum submerged speed of 33kt and a surface speed of 10kt. A reserve propeller system, powered by two motors rated at 370kW, provides a speed of 3kt to 4kt. The submarine is rated for a diving depth to 600m.
Sidharth K Menon