October 29, 2015

India Turns To Russia Again For Three Frigates and Nuclear Submarine

The lease of a second Akula class nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) and direct purchase of three more advanced Krivak-III class stealth frigates for the Indian Navy reportedly top India's military procurements agenda ahead of the Oct.29 Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) meeting and the forthcoming visit of Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar to Russia.
Defence Ministry sources confirmed to Arming India that a deal for the lease of the second Russian SSN was close to maturity. The first of these nuclear submarines was inducted into the Indian Navy in January 2012 on a 10-year lease.
Earlier known as the Nerpa, it's been re-christened INS Chakra by the Indian Navy. This submarine has been termed a "game changer" in favour of India in the Indian Ocean Region, and is also seen as a strategic training platform ahead of the induction of the indigenous Arihant SSBN.
SSNs are nuclear-powered attack submarines, while SSBNs are nuclear-powered submarines carrying nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles, to provide a credible deterrence capability forming the submarine-launched third leg of the nuclear weapons triad, the other two being land-launched and air-launched.
India also appears to have decided in favour of import of three Russian Krivak-III class frigates, which are in various stages of completion at a Russian shipyard.
Earlier, there were reports that Russia had offered to complete the construction of these warships in collaboration with an Indian shipyard. This option seems to have been rejected.
The willingness of Ukraine to provide engines for these warships if these are built for India also appears to have swung the decision in favour of a Buy (Global) option.
India has earlier purchased six Krivak-III (rechristened Talwar) class stealth frigates from Russia. The last three of these are fitted with the Indo-Russian BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles.
These decisions need to be ratified first by the DAC and later by the Cabinet Committee on Security.
Also on the agenda is a $652 million upgrade program for 26 Ilyushin IL-76 & IL-78 aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF), which operates a fleet of 20 IL-76 heavy-lift aircraft and six IL-78 mid-air refuellers.
The IAF is also seeking DAC approval for a $276 million program for the digitization of the Pechora surface-to-air missile (SAM) targeting and guidance system. Conversion from an analog system to a digital one has been sought for 24 firing units.
The Indian Army has reportedly sought a DAC nod for acquiring two more regiments of the Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launchers at a cost of $383.5 million.
A case for renewal of an earlier acceptance of necessity (AON) for importing a fresh batch of 150 BMP-2 armoured fighting vehicles from Russia has also been moved. The estimated cost is $146 million. The Army's mechanized forces are also seeking 50 simulators for anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs).
Approval has also been sought by the Army for upgradation of one of its important important base workshops. 


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