INS Chakra, India’s only nuclear submarine met with an accident and has suffered “some damage” as reported by The Print. The submarine which got India back in the elite club of nations having nuclear-powered submarines in April, 2012 now require substantial repairing to overcome the detriment suffered.
In 2004, India had signed a deal with Russia worth over $900 million for leasing the submarine for 10 years. Lying idle at its home port of Vishakhapatnam for the repair work, the attack submarine has not sailed for a month.
The warship is manned by 80 crew members and is equipped with tactical missiles, a new fire control systems, sonars and contemporary optronic periscopes and surveillance systems.
The details of the accident that occurred sometime in August this year have not been confirmed as the Indian Navy refused to comment on the incident. Though, the sources have mentioned to ThePrint that the damage could be the result of either a collision at sea or accidental scraping while entering the harbor.
The accident has caused damaged to India’s only operational nuclear-powered vessel’s Sonar dome, which is located at the forward portion of the submarine, beneath the torpedo tubes. The sonar dome is made of titanium, a difficult metal that can complicate and delay the repair work as it requires both specialised machinery and manpower to deal with.
The Visakhapatnam harbour has witnessed similar incidents in the past when navigating the tight water channel has made warships to touch the bottom. INS Airavat — a Shardul class amphibious warship also went through the same course of event while entering the harbor.
The stealthy nature of nuclear-powered boats has made accidents quiet common. Last year in July, HMS Ambush, a British nuclear attack submarine and in August, the USS Louisiana nuclear missile submarine faced collision and suffered damages.
INS Chakra is a specialised Russian Akula-II class submarine. Being one of the stealthiest in the world after American vessels of similar class, it enlists among the quietest nuclear submarines around, with noise levels next to zero.
Despite of being a nuclear powered submarine, INS Chakra is designed to be a silent killer which lurks underwater to target enemy ships with no carriage of nuclear-tipped missiles on board.
The INS-Arihant, India’s second nuclear submarine, has cleared trials but is awaiting final clearance from the Indian Navy. The 6,000 ton vessel was built under the Advanced Technology Vessel project at the Ship Building Centre in the port city of Visakhapatnam.