Yasen-class SSNs offered to India?

President Putin’s regime is obviously unwilling to cede first place as armaments supplier to India and is ready to trump any Western country with deals that can’t be beat. In the news is the story about the proposal to set up India as the major hub for upgrade, refit, and repairs of Kilo-class submarines in the inventories of states in the extended Indian Ocean region, from Iran to Vietnam. This is fine. But a still more impressive offer apparently made to India is the transfer of the improved Yasen-M class SSN — the most advanced in the Russian naval list. Russian submersibles may be beaten by their US counterparts in terms of acoustic silencing features but, in turn, cannot match, as the reputed naval analyst Norman Palomar has observed, the far smaller turbulence signature (from less cavitation noises, placement of the forward-tilting conning tower, etc) of Russian boats. Indeed, despite the vaunted ASW capabilities of the USN, a Victor-III class Russian SSN around 2000 tailed an Ohio-class SSBN almost to its pen in Guam w/o anybody getting wind of it — that’s how loud the US boomer is in turbulence terms and how little turbulence is generated by the Russian boat. Russian subs have since the Sixties carried electro-optical devices in the sail and the hull to detect turbulence and identify enemy subs by their turbulence signatures. The Yasen can be in the SSGN cruise missile-carrying configuration, or, if India so wishes, it can be modified to carry a mixed ordnance load of conventional cruise missiles and nuclear ballistic missiles. That would be a devastating dual-purpose land attack-cum-strategic targeting weapons platform non pareil to have in IN service. There’s nothing like the Yasen-class with the Chinese Navy.

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
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13 Responses to Yasen-class SSNs offered to India?

  1. archit says:

    How come your indigenous manufacturing penchant and disaffectation with forign arms like the Rafale and FMBT , Armata et al doesn’t extend mutatis mutandis to the Yassen? Perhaps the sub will cost more than a sqn worth Rafales and with equipment and weapons as much as the entire deal worth of 36.
    audacter calumniare, semper aliquid haeret. contra principia negantem non est disputandum.
    dum Roma deliberat Saguntum perit. onus probandi on the IAF and IA??quid infantes sumus??
    O tempora O mores!
    omnia dicta fortiora si dicta Latina

    • Shaurya says:

      What nonsense. Does India have anything close to the ability to build its own fleet of advanced conventional subs? Have you looked at the state of our sub fleet and what is likely to happen to it in terms of numbers? Have you looked at the rate at which PLAN is building subs and forays into the IOR. Everything has a context. Let India first start building conventional subs…..our energies are devoted to building the next Arihant now. Maybe in 10-20 years, we may be totally self sufficient in the area but we need a conventional powered sub deal to fill in the numbers.

    • @Shaurya & @archit — all the blog revealed was the offer of the Yasen-M class SSN. It said nothing about its production in India. Any nuclear-powered submarine is a different kettle of fish than conv armaments — and comes with far more strategic, technology, and political weightage — not a point that needs stressing, I thought. The Yasen has only just begun its production run — with the 2nd of the series, Kazan, coming on stream. India has established a relationship with leasing Russian N-subs, with the deal for the 2nd Akula — the Iribis being finalized. Perhaps, the Yasen has come packaged with the offer for the Kilo-refit, upgrade, repair depot in India to firm up a longterm relationship.

      • Shaurya says:

        I was only replying to @archit. Agree with you that we need to procure some conventional subs. If it comes with TOT to build nothing like it.

      • archit says:

        Does no one see the double standards or hypocrisy in vehemently criticising one kind of foreign acquisition ( which we are in no position to make) and lapping up another one (again which are in no position to make) and is even more expensive? Tell the man, cruise missiles can be fired from aircraft as well, so can nukes. And there can be just so many subs as against many many aircraft. The man is biased

  2. satyaki says:

    Bharat Sir,

    I read a news item about Russia willing to sell Su-35s to Pakistan. How true is this likely to be ?

    • Moscow occasionally plays footsie with Pak to keep India interested. Don’t think the offer of MiG-35 is serious.

      • satyaki says:

        You meant Su-35 ?

      • Yes, sorry, Su-35.

      • James says:

        Since when Russia has played footsie before with “Paki” you love to call, from a man of your stature? We had few transport (vintage) MI-17 helicopters. Please be honest and don’t shoot from both ends when it comes to Pakistan. Russia is changing, recent MI35 gunship deal(even 6 hellos) and $2.5B gas pipeline may be just the beginning not the end. And don’t be so obsessed with Pakistan. We are only reactive. Pakistan army is an integral part and our guardian… and we are very proud of this institution..
        FYI it is India that introduced the nuclear menace in the subcontinent but you Indians cleverly lump China in this equation. Great diversion from real issue/s…

      • One of the primary thrusts of my writings since forever — which you may not be aware of, tho’ you can look up my numerous books — is to de-fixate Indian strategic thinking from Pakistan — a small but pesky neighbor who can be better contained by other than brandishing field armies, and that the real hard challenge is China which we better gear up to face or risk oblivion.

  3. AAYUSH's says:

    Sir, with so many converging interests is it possible that Russia and China becoming much closer than Russia and India . They both face same threats from western world as well as from democracies. Russia has ample amount of shale while China is also trying to to reduce it’s pollution and is enrgy hungry as always. Also China could be of great help for Russia in controlling it’s restive eastern region.

    • ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

      What threat is there to China from the West?
      Had China felt threatened would they have decided to become the biggest creditor to the West?
      And had West been really after China would they have facilitated China with MFN statuses for so long?
      Had West felt threatened by China would they have countenanced China ‘steeling’ their technology?
      G-2 is the real thing they are after. All else is drama.
      China would love to have Russia turned into another Noko/Pakistan for itself and Obama is helping achieve just that.

      http://www.brookings.edu/research/articles/2011/10/11-china-us-g2-bush
      [quote]Now there are a couple of “germs of reality” in the Brzezinski-Bergsten G-2 idea. In the sixth month of his presidency, President Barack Obama laid out a grand vision for bilateral relations between the two countries. On the occasion of the first Strategic and Economic Dialogue, he said, “The relationship between the U.S. and China will shape the 21st century, which makes it as important as any bilateral relationship in the world…. If we advance [our mutual] interests through cooperation, our people will benefit and the world will be better off—because our ability to partner with each other is a prerequisite for progress on many of the most pressing global challenges.”[/quote]

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