Vladimir Radyuhin

MOSCOW: The nuclear attack submarine Nerpa has been formally inducted in the Russian Navy for subsequent leasing to the Indian Navy next spring.

The submarine was commissioned on Monday after the successful completion of final sea trials. The ceremony was held at the Amur shipyard in Bolshoi Kamen (Big Rock) on the Pacific coast in extreme conditions of gusty winds, storm waves and biting frosts of minus 25C.

The military band had to play ice-covered instruments, the RIA Novosti news wire reported.

The Nerpa induction was delayed due to an onboard accident last November during sea trials, when accidental release of lethal fire-fighting gas had killed 20 civilian technical staff and crewmembers.

Before the submarine is commissioned as INS Chakra in March, the Indian crew would undergo training and sailing together with Russian specialists and servicemen.

The submarine is being leased to the Indian Navy for 10 years under a $ 650 million deal.

The 12,770-ton Nerpa, an Akula II class nuclear powered attack submarine, is rated one of the world’s deadliest and quietest warships.

According to the former Russian envoy to India, Vyacheslav Trubnikov, India’s indigenous nuclear submarine, INS Arihant, launched in July, has been designed after Russia’s Akula II submarines.

Nerpa is the second Russian submarine India has leased in the past 20 years.