As usual the Navy came out with its annual publicity blitz around Navy Day i.e. 4 Dec each year, by announcing some of its plans and achievements. This year the emphasis was on two new acquisitions and one indigenous achievement.

The acquisition of the aircraft carrier Vikramaditya featured prominently in the media because of the delay in completion of its refit by the Russians and their demand to increase the cost to nearly double of what was agreed too. The media appeared to have cornered the CNS into revealing the details. CNS was however of the view that having already purchased the ship and paid $500 m in advance the Russians should stick to the time schedule and not ask for more money as this was a fixed price contract. He also felt that the Russians were going slow on the project and could easily employ additional manpower to complete the refit on time by 2010 and not delay it to 2012. However, it remains to be seen whether the RM and MOD heed his advice or as always politics will prevail. HT was the only paper which carried the news and we give below the gist of the report.

The other news item was that the Navy would look to procure an additional six modern submarines to augment the six Scorpenes being built at home. The possible choices for the six new submarines may be the German HDW , Russian Amur class and French Scorpenes as a repeat order.

The achievements referred to for the first time the construction of India's first nuclear powered submarine the so called 'Advanced Technology Vessel' (ATV). It was announced that the ATV would be operational by 2009.

It may be recalled that earlier this year the media had carried the story of India acquiring its first nuclear powered submarine by leasing an Akula II class from Russia which would be commissioned as INS Chakra in June 2008.  The submarine, was being built at a shipyard in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, accordng to a secret deal signed by the NDA government. India was financing the construction of an unfinished Russian nuclear submarine hull and would lease it for 10 years.

Vikramaditya Deal at Sea! (HT)

The deal is in trouble with Russia asking for more money to refurbish the ship while also saying delivery will be delayed 末 commissioned into Russian Navy in 1987, bought by India under intergovernmental contract with Russians in 2004, renamed INS Vikramaditya 末 $1.5 billion was the original cost for refurbishing the ship under the fixed-price contract 末 August 2008 was when it was to have been delivered to India 末 $1.2 billion is the additional amount the Russians recently raised, citing delays and additional work as reasons 末 2012 is when Russia says it will deliver the ship, despite the hike 末 meanwhile, India has taken up the issue of delays, which attract a penalty as listed in the contract

Admiral Sureesh Mehta said on Monday that the government should neither pay more money to the Russians for refurbishing the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, nor pull out of the deal. He said that the contact signed by Russia quotes a fixed price and it should be honoured. Russia has asked for $1.2 billion over and above the contracted price of $1.5 billion, almost doubling the agreed cost. "It is a fixed price contract and they should honour it," Admiral Mehta said while also ruling out pulling out of the deal. "The ship is our property We have paid them almost $500 million already. There is no question of pulling out," he said.

Admiral Mehta said Russia's attitude raised vital questions about India's partnership with the Russians. "Where is our relationship with Russia going," he asked, adding that India had signed the deal with Russia at a time when they were going through a crunch. "They said give us work. I would like to believe we helped them in their times of need."

With the shipyard getting more work and the Russians striking it rich with oil prices rising, the Navy Chief accused them of going slow on the project. His tough talk on Russia comes ahead of the visit of a high-level Russian team for renegotiating the price. The issue had also figured during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's recent visit to Russia for a summit with President Vladimir Putin.

Under the Indo-Russian inter-governmental contract signed in 2004, Russia was to deliver the carrier by August 2008 for $1.5 billion. Apart from seeking a hike that violates the contract, Russia has indicated that the carrier cannot be delivered to India before 2012. The Naval Chief said India was trying to persuade the Russians to work faster on the project. "If they put enough people on the job, the naval carrier will be commissioned by late 2010 or early 2011," he said. Navy comes clean on N-sub For years, the Navy denied the project even existed. But on Monday Admiral Mehta said India's nuclear , submarine - the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) would be commissioned into the fleet in two years time. "The project is somewhere near completion," he said.

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Navy Chief 末 India Plans to Buy Six New Submarines (TOI)
India is looking for six more submarines to augment the six Scorpenes being built at Mazagon Docks under a Rs 19,000 crore contrat with the French.

"We are now actively looking at the second line of submarines after the Scorpenes. I think the global tender for the six new submarines should be floated in the next financial year (2008-2009)," navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta said recently. The contenders for the six new submarines could include the German HDW and Russian Amur submarines, with the French Scorpenes also being in the reckoning for a repeat order.

At present, India has just 16 conventional diesel-electric submarines 10 Russian Kilo-class, four German HDW-class and two very-old Foxtrot-class vessels. The Scorpene project, under which the six submarines will roll out between 2012 and 2017, is crucial since naval projections show India will be left with only nine out of its 16 submarines by the middle of the next decade.

The long-term perspective programme is to acquire indigenous capability in design, development and construction of submarines, with a total of 24 submarines to be manufactured in a phased manner. But what about the fact that India neither has nuclear-powered submarines, nor SLBM (submarine-launched ballistic missile) capabilities, at present? "We have come to the final threshold. I think within two years or so, we should have that kind of a capability," said Admiral Mehta.

India is building its own nuclear submarines under the hush-hush Rs 14,000-crore ATV (advanced technology vessel) programme at Vishakapatnam. The first of the five long-delayed ATVs is scheduled to be fully-ready by 2010 or so.

Indian defence scientists are also developing SLBMs and SLCMs (cruise missiles) under the equally-secretive 'Sagarika' project.

But it will take another three-four years for an integrated SLBM or SLCM capability to be ready. Asked about the modernisation of Chinese and Pakistan navies, Admiral Mehta said, "They have their national interests to protect, we have ours. Naval developments are not threat-specific, they are capability driven. We define our capabilities in tune with our national interests."

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India to Lease Akula II Class Submarine (India Today)

On June 15, 2008, the Indian Navy will commission the INS Chakra, a 12,000-tonne Akula-II class nuclear-powered attack submarine, from the far eastern Russian port of Vladivostok. The submarine, which is being built at a shipyard in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, marks the fruition of a $650-million (Rs 2,600 crore) secret deal signed by the NDA government three-and-a-half years ago, which said that India would finance the construction of an unfinished Russian nuclear submarine hull and then lease it for 10 years. The impending acquisition of the Chakra gives India the long-awaited third leg of the nuclear triad葉he others being air and land-based nuclear delivery platforms謡idely regarded as the most survivable mode of launching nuclear weapons.

的t is the most crucial strategic capability we are acquiring after testing nuclear weapons in 1998, says strategic analyst Bharat Karnad. Manned by a specially trained Indian crew, the Chakra溶amed after Krishna痴 weapon謡ill undertake a 15-day passage through the South China Sea, with no port calls, to India, where it will be formally inducted as a component of India痴 strategic forces command.

Nuclear submarines use a miniature nuclear reactor, to produce steam, which drives a turbine. Capable of tremendous underwater speed and almost unlimited endurance, they are in fact limited only by the endurance of their crew. The Akula-II submarine痴 speed of 35 knots and diving depth of 600 m is twice that of a conventionally powered submarine. 滴owever, a nuclear submarine is much more than just a submarine with a nuclear reactor, says Rear Admiral (retired) Raja Menon. 的t is the arbiter of power at sea, he adds.

Armed with indigenously built nuclear-tipped cruise missiles with a range of over 1,000 km, the Chakra will be a potent addition to India痴 strategic arsenal. A need which was felt after the Pokhran tests of 1998 when India enunciated a nuclear doctrine of 創o first use and nuclear forces based on a triad of aircraft, mobile land-based missiles and sea-based assets, to ensure that its nuclear deterrent was 兎ffective, enduring, diverse, flexible, and responsive to the requirements of credible minimum deterrence. While the road and rail-mobile Agni series missiles afforded the land-based legs of the triad, the focus quickly shifted on inducting submarines armed with nuclear weapons. India痴 Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV), a euphemism for a nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) project initiated in the 1970s was still a decade from induction.

Hence talks on leasing two Akula class submarines様ater reduced to one謡ere begun by the Vajpayee government after the Kargil War in 1999. Code-named Project (I), it was part of the three key naval items on the list of the Indian-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation initiated by the government in 2002. The other two items on the list were the purchase of the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier, and the lease of four Tu-22M strategic bombers (which has since been cancelled). Funds for the submarine lease were allotted by the Central Government, but never publicised. The deal for leasing the submarine was signed quietly in Delhi in January 2004 along with the Gorshkov deal, during Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov痴 visit.

Yet for years, the government denied plans of leasing nuclear submarines. Ivanov, too, consistently denied reports of the lease, but in 2005, the Russian daily Kommersant noted that the unaccounted for spike in the country痴 arms export earnings indicated that the lease had been paid up.

The Chakra will soon be joined by the indigenous ATV, under construction at a secret dry dock in Visakhapatnam. Construction of the 5,000-tonne ATV, a modified version of the Russian Charlie-II class is now nearly complete, and will be launched for sea trials next year. It will be inducted into the Indian Navy in 2009. Armed with indigenously developed ballistic missiles (future variants with the three-stage 5000-km range Agni 3), the ATV will mark India痴 entry into the SSBN club and will mean the fruition of a long-delayed strategic programme.

The delays seem to have moved to the Russian side. Originally slated for induction on August 15 this year, the delivery of the Chakra has been delayed by 10 months for the same reasons that delayed the Gorshkov refit in Russia. Earlier this year, Russia escalated the cost of the N sub lease by $135 million (Rs 540 crore), which was rejected by the Indian Defence Ministry delegation. Ministry officials confirmed the advanced stage of both the lease and the projects and said that the Government was debating on when to bring both the programmes out of the closet.

The lease of the Akula-II submarine熔riginally slated for the cash-strapped Russian Navy and on which construction had ceased at the Amur shipyard in the 1990s謡ill make India the world痴 sixth power to operate a nuclear submarine. It has only one precedent葉he three-year transfer of a Charlie-I class nuclear attack submarine (also named Chakra) from the Soviet Union in January 1988, which took advantage of a loophole in international treaties. The treaties prohibit the sale of nuclear submarines but do not object to a lease, provided the submarines are not equipped with nuclear weapons or missiles with a range of over 300 km. The Chakra will be stripped of its inventory of strategic cruise missiles with a range of 3,000 km, as these violate the Missile Technology Control Regime, but India will not be prevented from equipping the submarine with its own missiles.

The present 10-year lease謡hich may be extended later妖iffers from that of the Charlie-I class submarine in some important aspects. While the latter痴 reactor controls and missile launch area were manned by Soviet naval personnel, the new Chakra will be manned entirely by an Indian crew, which is to leave for Vladivostok in December. Nearly 300 Indian naval personnel, or three sets of crews, have already been trained to man the submarine at a specially constructed facility in Sosnovy Bor, a small town near St Petersburg in Russia. All personnel returned after completion of training this year.

Future ATV crews will also be trained on the Chakra, which offers a valuable training platform. 鄭 leased submarine gives you a tremendous headstart in training crews, says Menon. 的t takes several years to produce a crew of nuclear submarine experts like hydroplane operators and watch keeping officers. The new Chakra will make up for the expertise that was lost when the Charlie-I submarine was returned to the former Soviet Union but also add a strategic platform into India痴 inventory.

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