India would receive its first new generation Nerpa Akula-II class nuclear attack submarine, which is undergoing sea trials in Russia, by the end of this year, a top Russian official has said.
"The Nerpa will be handed over to the Indian Navy on lease by the end of this year," Director of Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSVTS) Mikhail Dmitriyev was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.
"Currently the submarine is undergoing sea trials, where the Indian crew is checking the functioning of its all systems and mechanism and are honing their skill for operating the vessel," said the official dealing in foreign military cooperation.
Under a $ 650 million confidential deal, part of the aircraft carrier 'Admiral Gorshkov' package, Russia is to give India the Nerpa on a 10-year lease, to be inducted as INS Chakra.
The Soviet-designed Shchuka B (Pike), NATO codenamed Akula-II, is claimed to be Russia's 'quietest' submarine avoiding detection by enemy sonars.
The Nerpa was to join the Indian Navy as early as 2008. However, an accident in November 2008 delayed the induction of the submarine.
During the sailing trials in the Sea of Japan, 20 people sleeping in the sailors compartment were killed by the deadly mixture of Freon gas due to the unauthorised manipulation of automatic fire extinguishing system.
It led to delay in the formal induction of the submarine by the Russian Navy for subsequent lease to the Indian Navy.
A court of inquiry had established that a cheaper lethal mixture of Freon was filled in the system, which instantly killed the sailors and technical staff of the shipyard.
Had there been normal more expensive Freon gas in the system, the crew would have enough time to put on gas masks and safely leave the sleeping compartment, the probe had revealed.