File photo of a Russian Shchuka nuclear
The Russian Navy will hand over its newly-built nuclear submarine to India on a 10-year lease by the end of this year, the Russian Naval Chief today said.
"We will hand this submarine to the client by the year end," Naval Chief Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.
"The Indian crew is absolutely prepared for operating the submarine," he said.
Last month, a top official of the Defence Cooperation Service said the Indian naval crew was already on board the K-152 Nerpa nuclear submarine and was carrying out pre-delivery trials on the high seas.
The lease contract for the submarine is estimated to be between USD 650-900 million.
The Nerpa was to be inducted into the Indian Navy by November, 2008. But shortly after the sea trials commenced, as many as 20 sailors and technical workers were killed onboard, while they were asleep, due to the release of toxic Freon gas following a technical problem in the automatic fire suppression system in the vessel.