Nine Russian technicians already in Mumbai under a one-year warranty arrangement

Russia will send its experts to India to help investigate the accident which wrecked the Russian-built INS Sindhurakshak.

“The United Shipbuilding Corporation will send its specialists to India to determine the cause of the explosion. They are in contact with the Indian side over this matter,” Ivan Kharchenko, First Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Military-Industrial Commission, said on Wednesday.

Mr. Kharchenko told reporters that nine Russian technicians were already in Mumbai under a one-year warranty arrangement.

Russian industry sources said the INS Sindhurakshak was in perfect operational shape when it docked in Mumbai in April after an indepth refit in Russia, said.

The diesel electric submarine, built in 1997, had undergone mid-term maintenance and extensive modernisation at Zvyozdochka shipyard in Severodvinsk from June 2010 to January 2012.

“The submarine had been put through exhaustive sea trials and firing tests after the refit and the Indian side had no complaints about its performance,” sources in the Russian shipbuilding industry told The Hindu.

The sources refuted reports in some Indian media that INS Sindhurakshak had suffered some breakdown when it ran into a storm on the way from Russia to India and allegedly had to be towed to an Egyptian port for repairs.

“There were no incidents during the voyage and the vessel performed as per specifications,” the Russian sources said.

During the overhaul in Russia the INS Sindhurakshak had been armed with the tube-launched Club-S cruise missiles and fitted with a range of Indian-made systems, including a hydro-acoustic “USHUS” complex, a CCS-MSK radio-communication system and Porpoise Electronic Support Measures. The ship’s batteries have also been manufactured in India.

“It was the fifth Kilo-class submarine refitted at Zvezdochka and each time we installed more systems sourced from India and other countries as requested by the Indian side,” Zvyozdochka director Vladimir Nikitin was quoted as saying last month.

“The submarine has been certified to serve for 10 more years before the next overhaul and is as good as a new one,” the shipyard CEO said.

Russian experts said hydrogen emitted during battery charging may cause an explosion if the batteries are not properly ventilated and concentration of hydrogen in the air is allowed to build up to 4 percent.

However, the Kilo-class submarines of Project 877 have an exceptionally high safety record. Russia has about 20 such vessels and they have all been 100-per cent accident-free.