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INS Chakra (S71)

Nuclear-Powered Attack Submarine

Naval Warfare / Ships

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Image from the website of the Indian Navy.

INS Chakra began life as the Nerpa of the Russian Navy - the boat leased to the Indian Navy through a 2004 deal between the two allies.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 12/12/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
INS Chakra (S-71) of the modern Indian Navy is a Russian-made Akula-class nuclear-powered attack submarine at its core. The class was introduced by the Soviets in the mid-1980s and some 21 boats were planned for the series - though only 15 were eventually realized due to the deterioration of the Soviet Empire into the 1990s. Ten remain in active service as of 2016 with Nerpa (K-152) on loan (via lease) to the Indian Navy where it carries the name of "Chakra" (named after the weapon of the god Vishnu).

The Russian Navy agreed to lease the boat to the Indian Navy in a 2004 deal. The hand over was delayed by a 2008 incident which left 20 onboard personnel dead (by asphyxiation). The Indian Navy took ownership of the boat on December 30th, 2011 marking the start of a lease period set to span ten years. The crew of Chakra had already been trained in St. Petersburg waters on the nuances of operating and maintaining a nuclear-powered underwater vessel. An official commissioning ceremony for the Chakra was held on April 4th, 2012.

The Chakra follows a Charlie I-class boat of same name, this vessel operating with the Indian Navy from 1988 until 1992. Charlie I boats were also of Soviet-era origin and driven by nuclear technology.

As it stands, Chakra offers the Indian Navy a true nuclear-powered submarine capability it has lacked for some time. The nuclear-based propulsion scheme provides the boat with unlimited undersea staying power as the boat does not need to surface at all to recharge its critical battery stocks. In essence, deployment ranges of the boat are only limited by the endurance of the crew (and their available food supply). The crew of eighty personnel have access to some creature comforts as well and these serve well to aid in long-distance voyages under the sea. The submarine has the capability to reach beyond 30 knots underwater and can submerge as far down as 600 meters. Much emphasis has also been placed on stealth characteristics and this makes Chakra one of the quietest submarines in service. Displacement is just over 8,000 tons.
Armament is 4 x 650mm and 4 x 533 torpedo tubes - used to engage undersea and on-sea targets with equal lethality.

With the induction of Chakra into active service, the Indian Navy now joins the United States, Russia, France, China and Great Britain as the only nuclear-powered attack submarine-wielding nations.

Experience in operating INS Chakra serves well in ushering in the career of the indigenously designed, development and constructed Indian attack submarine - INS Arihant (detailed elsewhere on this site). Arihant was commissioned for service in August of 2016.


Ship Class [ Akula-class ]
Ships-in-Class [ 1 ] Ship Names: INS Chakra (S71)
National flag of India National flag of Russia Russia (as Nerpa); India (as Chakra)
- Blue Water Operations
- Fleet Support
- Hunter
- Direct-Attack
- Long-Range
263 ft (80.16 m)
Width / Beam:
45 ft (13.72 m)
Height / Draught:
32 ft (9.75 m)
Displacement (Surface):
8,500 tons
Displacement (Submerged):
13,500 tons
1 x OK0659B/M presusrized water nuclear reactor feeding 1 x OK-7 steam turbine developing 43,000 horsepower to 1 x Shaft; 2 x OK-2 turbogenerators; 2 x OK-300 retractable electric propulsors.
Speed (Surface):
10 kts (12 mph)
Speed (Submerged):
35 kts (40.28 miles)
Essentially Unlimited
4 x 650mm with 4 x 533mm torpedo tubes (40 torpedo reloads).

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