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Russian experts to investigate Indian sub explosion if the country requests it

August 20, 2013, 17:01 UTC+3

Manufacturer's warranty department specialists on site are not participating in salvage works

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ARKHANGELSK, August 20 (Itar-Tass) North Russia's Severodvinsk shipyard Zvyozdochka is ready to help India investigate the cause of the fatal accident involving the Sindhurakshak diesel electric submarine.

The shipyard, which upgraded the submarine for India, is setting up groups of specialists ready to visit the scene of the accident, the company's press service told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.

"The initiative to enlist assistance of Russian specialists in salvage works and in the investigation into the cause of the accident should belong to India," the press service said, adding that it had not yet received such requests from India. "If the Indian Navy asks for assistance, it will be provided in full and as quickly as possible," a statement said.

Currently, several representatives of the company's warranty department are present in India, having worked on the vessel before the accident. The Russian group numbers seven, including two experts from Zvyozdochka's contractor companies.

"Due to the circumstances, there is no need for their presence on board the vessel or at the scene of the accident. It would be more correct to say that the Indian side is not enlisting Zvyozdochka experts for salvage works. Of course, there are reasons for it. None of the members of the warranty group are proficient in diving or salvagin operations," the press service said.

A decision to recall the warranty group to Russia is pending notification by India that its services are no longer needed. A second group of Zvyozdochka specialists in Mumbai is working under a contract not related to the Sindhurakshak. "India has not placed any restrictions on their activity," the company said.

The submarine sank overnight to August 14 as it was pending deployment for active duty. Preliminary reports said a fire had broken out aboard, causing two explosions in the torpedo section. Among other versions of the accident is an explosion caused by emission of hydrogen from the charging accumulators and an error in loading missiles. Indian officials said all 18 crew on board died in the accident.

Sindhurakshak was built by the Admiralteiskiye Verfi shipyard in St. Petersburg under a contract with the Indian Navy. The submarine was upgraded in Severodvinsk and sailed to Mumbai in January, 2013.

On June 4, 2010, the Indian Defence Ministry and Zvyozdochka, part of Russia's Unified Shipbuilding Corporation, signed a contract for intermediate-level maintenance and to upgrade the submarine. In August, the vessel arrived at Severodvinsk. A modern Club-S missile system was installed together with more than 10 Indian and foreign systems, including the Ushus hydro-acoustic system and CCS-MK-2 communications equipment.

"The coolant system has been modernised, a Porpoise radar has been installed and other work has been carried out to enhance the submarine’s combat capability and safe operation," a Zvyozdochka official said.

In 2012 the submarine was overhauled at the Zvyozdochka shipyard in Severodvinsk. The agreement between “Zvyozdochka” and India’s Defense Ministry has been signed in June 2010. In August 2010 the submarine arrived to Severodvinsk. As reported by the shipyard’s press service, the submarine was equipped with a modern missile complex Club-S. Over 10 Indian and foreign systems have been also installed, including Ushus sonar complex and СCS-MK-2 radio communications system.

The shipyard has also upgraded the cooling system, installed Porpoise radar set and implemented several other upgrades to boost combat facilities and operation safety of the submarine.

In November and December of 2012 the watercraft successfully completed the factory test program at the White sea, which included tests of its torpedo and rocket armaments. This January Sindurakshak departed from the shipyard to sail to its Mumbai port. 

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