India may be interested in leasing a second nuclear attack submarine (SSN) from Russia, according to a Wednesday report from Jane’s Defence Weekly.
Jane’s quoted Russian officials at the International Maritime Defence in St. Petersburg saying the Indian Navy was interested in leasing a follow-on submarine to INS Chakra II , an Akula-class submarine the Indian Navy is leasing from the Russians for ten years.
During Chakra’s commissioning in April, Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony said the Indian Navy would be open to the idea of leasing a second SSN.
“India can afford it. It is reasonable,” Antony said it following the ceremony.
Vladimir Dorofeev — head of Russian submarine design firm St. Petersburg Marine Engineering Bureau “Malachite” — told Indian Express the new lease would likely be built around the former Akula-class submarine, Iribis. Construction on the SSN was halted following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Several international treaties forbid the sale of nuclear powered submarines but extended leases fall out of treaty prohibitions.
Several Asian countries — Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia — have recently bought submarines as overlapping claims to territory in the South China Sea have increased.
However, most of the submarines purchased are diesel electric boats that are limited in range and must surface to provide air to the ship’s engines.
Nuclear are famously can stay underwater indefinitely — limited only by crew needs like food — and can greatly
India has also completed a domestically built nuclear ballistic missile submarine, INS Arihant. The boomer — commissioned last year — is armed with 12 Sagarika submarine-launched ballistic missile with nuclear warheads. The missiles are capable of a range of 435 miles.