Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR March 2016 Contents 28 Asia Pacific Defence Reporter MAR 2016
things, this applies to multipurpose submarines of
the third generation”. In particular, a modernization
and lifetime extension program is being carried out
on Project 949As, involving replacement of radio-
electronic equipment, “digitalization” of sonars and
renovation of missiles.
Under its Pivot to Asia strategy, the U.S . declared
its intent to increase the proportion of submarines
operating in the Pacific to some 60%. As for Russia,
today’s distribution of atomic submarines (including
unarmed “deep water stations”) between the Northern
and the Pacific Fleet is roughly 2:1 [26+8 unarmed
The conventional underwater component is represented
by eight Project 877 diesel-electric submarines (six
active, one being repaired, one in reserve) in service
with the 19th Brigade in Vladivostok. Along with the
aforementioned six Project 971s, these were built on
the Pacific coast - at the Amurski Shipbuilding Plant
(ASZ) – and commissioned in the period 1988-1995.
After completion of a Project 971I for the Indian navy
in 2012 (INS Chakra), ASZ started building Project
20380 corvettes and overhauling diesel-electric
submarines. It completed lifetime extension work on
the B-178 in 2014-2015.
“Modernization and lifetime extension work on the
Pacific Fleet’s Kilo-class submarines will continue.
Most of them will go to ACZ, which had amassed rich
experience on the class at the time when it acted the
head enterprise for mastering Kilo in production”, Igor
Vilnit, general director and general designer at Rubin
design house told APDR (First hull, B-248, was laid
down in 1979, commissioned 1982, scrapped 2001).
Repair and overhaul is also undertaken at the Zvezda
plant, which worked on the B-260 (2011-2012), B-345
(2014-2015) and B-190 (2015). The navy wants most
of its Kilo class to undergo lifetime extension through to
2025-2030 (Northern Fleet’s B-800 and B-459 have
already expanded their lifetime by ten years).
The initial 877 evolved into 636 - both attributed
to the Kilo class by NATO. The difference lies in
more powerful engines resulting in higher speeds
(submerged mode from 17 to 19kt). The overall length
rose from 72.6 to 73.8 meters, and displacement
from 2300/3040 (normal/full) to 2350/3950 tons
respectively. Range at moderate speed under snorkel
rose by 1,500nm, up to 7,500. Measures were taken to
reduce noise signatures and improve onboard systems.
There are several versions and modifications of the
Kilo class. The most important of the new qualities
added has been the induction of the Club-S missile
system (employing Novator 3M-54 antiship and 3M-14
land-attack weapons), an exportable version of the
Caliber. The first launch from a refitted 877EKM took
place in July 2000. Since then, about thirty Indian,
Chinese, Algerian and Vietnamese submarines have
been so equipped. Vietnam has taken delivery of five
Project 636.1s, and is to accept the final sixth later
this year. Algeria has finalized follow-on orders for two,
while India is considering purchasing two new boats to
compensate for the loss of INS Sindurakshak.
“Foreign sales of diesel-electric submarines were the
main factor in saving this company. Export orders for
the Kilo class helped the design house and its industrial
partners to stay afloat”, said academician Igor Spasski,
who headed Rubin at the turn of the century when the
number of employees reduced twofold.
Four dockyards are used to build the Kilo family. Last
decade, production of diesel-electric submarines was
confined to the Admiralty Shipyards in St. Petersburg.
According to general manager Alexander Buzakov, his
company’s capacity is three Kilo-class annually, the
construction cycle being 24 to 36 months.
In January 2016, the Russian navy announced plans
for the acquisition of six Project 636.3s for the Pacific
Fleet “so as to overcome disparity in underwater forces
between Russia and Japan”. The first keel is to be
laid down next year, either at Admiralty Shipyards or
ASZ. The service estimated its needs in conventionally
powered submarines at 10-12 units over the next
decade. “Coupled with the atomic component, this
would ensure superiority over the Japanese navy in
bordering waters and parity with the U.S.N.”
An initial production batch of six Project 636.3
submarines goes to the Black Sea Fleet. The first
was commissioned in August 2014. Speaking at
the ceremony, defense minister Sergei Shoigu said:
“Novorossiysk is the first among diesel-electric
submarines made to the improved Project 636.3.
She has a high degree of buoyancy and resistance to
sinking. Besides, the submarine comes equipped with
modern means of noise reduction. This makes it more
difficult for the enemy to detect her. Building a modern
and effective navy is among our top priorities. In future,
the development of the navy will only be accelerating.
Military equipment manufacturing will see more
introductions of modern technologies. Construction of
this new series of submarines is a testimony of that”.
As of February 2016, Novorossiysk and Rostov-upon-
Don were operational, Stary Oskol and Kransnodar
were undergoing trials before commissioning, Veliky
Novgorod and Kolpino were being built with a view
to completion by year-end. They will form the 4th
Project 636.3 submarine "Staryi Oskol”. Credit: V Karnozov
Russia’s coastline stretches over 40 thousand kilometers, and is
washed by waters of three oceans and thirteen seas.
3/03/2016 8:34 PM
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