The Chakra III of the Indian Navy is equipped with an OK-650 pressurized water nuclear reactor producing 190 MW.

India signed a $ 3 billion contract with Russia to lease the INS Chakra III nuclear submarine

In March 2019, India signed a $ 3 billion contract for the lease of an Akula class nuclear-powered attack submarine from Russia. New nuclear submarine, called Chakra III.

This is the third time a Russian submarine has been leased to the Indian Navy. In 1988, the Indian Navy commissioned a Project 670 nuclear attack submarine, the Skat class, named the INS Chakra, under a three-year lease.

By 2012, a second INS Chakra, which was an Akula-class K-152 of Project 971, codenamed Nerpa, was also hired from Russia by the Indian Navy for 10 years. This Chakra entered naval service in 2012 and is currently under the command of the East Naval Command. The two countries are discussing the possibility of extending the charter period by 5 years, until 2027.

INS Chakra III
INS Chakra III

Design of Chakra III submarine

The new nuclear submarine, called the Chakra III, is an Akula I class K-332 attack nuclear submarine, codenamed Kashalot, and is expected to be ready for service by 2025. Currently the ship is on shore at the shipyard of the Russian Navy in Severodvinsk.

The Akula I class nuclear submarines is considered one of the quietest operating submarines of the Russian Navy, characterized with an unusually large tail fin. The distinctive “bulb” or “can” located on top of the Akula’s rudder houses its towed sonar array. Most Akulas have the wake detection system hydrodynamic sensors, which detect changes in temperature and salinity. They are located on the leading edge of the sail, on the outer hull casing in front of the sail and on the bottom of the hull forward of the sail.

The Akula incorporates a double hull system composed of an inner pressure hull and an outer “light” hull. This allows more freedom in the design of the exterior hull shape, resulting in a submarine with more reserve buoyancy than its western analogs.

Based on open information about the Akula I class submarines, the INS Chakra III will have displacement of 8,140 tons, length of 110.3m (362 ft), beam of 13.6m (45 ft), and draft of 9.7m (32 ft).

Propulsion

The Chakra III of the Indian Navy is equipped with an OK-650 pressurized water nuclear reactor producing 190 MW. Two auxiliary diesels rated at 750hp provide emergency power. The propulsion system drives a seven-bladed fixed-pitch propeller. It is capable of operating continuously at sea for 100 days at a maximum depth of 520m. The standard crew member is 73.

The propulsion system provides a maximum submerged speed of 33kt and a surface speed of 10kt.

Armament

Fire power of Project 971 submarines include: 4 torpedo tubes size 533mm; Four 650mm torpedo tubes.

While the Akula of the Russian Navy can be armed with Granit nuclear-capable cruise missiles with a range of 3,000 km, the Indian version is reportedly armed with the 300 km-range Club-S nuclear-capable missiles. Missiles with ranges greater than 300 km cannot be exported due to arms control restrictions, since Russia is a signatory to the MTCR treaty.

The submarine’s anti-ship missiles are the Novator SS-N-15 Starfish and the Novator SS-N-16 Stallion.

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

Chakra III submarines of the Indian Navy

India is expected to be heavily involved in upgrading the submarine, including an information system and sensors made by the country. Along with that, the hull will be refurbished by India.

Chakra III, after being handed over to the Indian side, is expected to be in service for 10 years and will replace the Chakra II submarine, which has been leased by India from Russia since 2012. Chakra II lease period will expire in 2022, but as the construction and testing of the new submarine is likely to be longer than expected, the Chakra II lease could be extended for another 5 years.

Chakra III is believed to help India outperform other competitors in the Indian Ocean region.

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