Russia has delivered the Akula-II-class Nerpa K-152 nuclear submarine to the Indian Navy at the Bolshoi Kamen shipbuilding facility after more than two years of delays.

The delivery follows completion of all naval tests and performance checks on the new nuclear-powered attack submarine.

The ten-year lease follows a $650m accord between India and Russia, signed in January 2004, to lease the 110m-long, 8,140t submarine Nerpa.

The second submarine, which will be rechristened as INS Chakra, was leased by the Indian Navy in a move to enhance the country’s defence capabilities.

The vessel, capable of remaining underwater for months, is expected to bridge the operational gap until the commissioning of the indigenously built nuclear submarine INS Arihant for the Indian Navy.

The nuclear-powered submarine emits very low levels of sound while operating underwater, making it difficult to detect by enemy warships and helicopters.

The Akula II-class submarines have a strike range of 3,000km and are armed with 28 nuclear-capable cruise missiles, whereas the Indian version is expected to be integrated with the 300km Club nuclear-capable missiles.

The vessel is capable of firing torpedoes and Granat cruise missiles and is the first nuclear-powered submarine to be operated by the navy since the decommissioning of its Soviet-built vessel in 1991.

Indian naval teams have been undergoing training on the vessel for several months.

Russia is currently modernising the 45,000t aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, formerly Adm Gorshkov, at the Shemash shipyard for the Indian Navy, which is expected to join the fleet in early 2013.

Presently, India possesses a conventional diesel-electric submarine fleet, which includes four German HDW submarines and ten Russian-origin Kilo-class vessels.