Monday, October 27, 2008

Nuclear Attack Submarine - On the Cheap

Isn't this kind of like asking to borrow a cigarette, you'll give it back when your done? This is one of those stories where the hard truth is elusive. All we really know is that there is a new modern nuclear attack submarine, and a lot of people think it will soon be operated by Indian sailors.

"The submarine, built under a contract with the Russian Defense Ministry, has been moved from the shipyard in Komsomolsk-on-Amur to a maintenance facility in the Primorye Territory and fitted with all necessary equipment. At present it is undergoing sea trials," a spokesman for the shipyard told RIA Novosti.

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.

According to Indian defense sources, Nerpa is expected to join the Indian navy under the designation INS Chakra in the second half of 2009.
Is $65 million lease plus operational costs a good deal for a nuclear attack submarine? Yep, it is cheaper annually than buying and supporting the operational costs of a US Navy Virginia class submarine, so it is hard to blame the Indians for wanting the deal? It also can't be a bad thing for Russia, insuring the shipyard remembers how to build nuclear attack submarines is important as Russia looks to the future. Looks like a winning deal for both sides.

Now if we could just get some hard data regarding the comparisons of a Type 093 and the Akula II. I don't know about you, but I'd be interested to know if India just passed China in terms of underwater nuclear submarine capabilities with one swing of the checkbook.

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