06:46 GMT +313 December 2017
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    One of Russia's largest Soviet-built nuclear submarines, Typhoon (Akula) class, which remains the world's largest with the displacement of about 25,000 metric tons (27,500 tons) heaves ahead in the Barents Sea at Russia's Arctic Coast in this September 2001 photo

    Second to None: Why Russian Submarines Are the Best Around

    © AP Photo/ Dmitry Lovetsky
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    In the field of submarine design and construction Russia is second to none. This is a hard fact even the Americans can have to agree uponwith, RIA contributor Alexander Khrolenko wrote.

    Khrolenko offered a short list of technological breakthroughs which have put Russia onat the cutting edge of modern-day submarine warfare.

    Aside from protecting Russia interests on the high seas, Russian submarines have for decades been setting technological records no other country has yet been able to break.

    World’s First Nuclear Missile Sub

    Sixty-two years ago, in September 1955 the Soviet B-67 submarine carried out the first ever launch of a ballistic missile. Over the course of the next three years, Russia added five Project AV611 (NATO reporting name – Zulu) ballistic missile submarines to its submarine fleet.

    They were the first mass-produced submarine carriers of ballistic missiles around. Each submarine carried a pair of R-11FM missiles placed in vertical silos inside the sub’s pressure hull.

    The first brigade of strategic missile submarines appeared inat the Soviet Northern Fleet in 1957.

    World’s Fastest

    In December 1970 the Project 661 K-162 multi-role nuclear submarine established a world underwater speed record of 44.7 knots (51 miles per hour) which remained unbeaten for several decades.

    The world’s first all-titanium submarine, the K-162 featured powerful nuclear reactors and was armed with underwater launched Ametist anti-ship missiles. Experts compared the launch of the K-162 to the first human space flight, Alexander Khrolenko wrote.

    The K-162 was able to hunt down and destroy any warship that was afloat at the time.

    The Project 702 Lira-class multi-role submarines that came along in the late-1970s were relatively small and, were powered by a unique liquid-metal core nuclear reactor that ensured a very impressive submerged speed of 41 knots (47 miles per hour).

    Though not armed with missiles, the Lira sub was equipped with enough torpedoes to take on entire enemy carrier groups.

    Western submarine experts said that there was no way a ship or even ships could possibly avoid an attacking Lira submarine and taking it out with torpedoes, even self-homing ones, was akin toalmost mission impossible.

    The Enemy (Very Deep) Below

    The all-titanium Project 685 submarines (NATO reporting name – Mike) could dive to 1,000 meters (3,280 feet), which made them virtually immune even to all existing means of antisubmarine warfare.

    Moreover, these subs could fire 533 mm torpedo at a record depth of 800 meters (2,624 feet).

    A pilot K-278 Project 685 submarine of the third generation entered service with the Northern Fleet in 1983 and established an all-time diving record  to a staggering depth of 1,027 meters (3,369 feet).

    Size Matters

    In 1981 the Northern Fleet got the world’s largest submarine — the Project 941 Akula-class heavy missile cruiser (NATO reporting name –Typhoon).

    Each such behemoth was 172 meters (564 feet) long, more than 23 meters (75 feet) wide and had a displacement of 48,000 tons. For comparison’s sake, US Ohio-class subs have a submersed displacement of just 18,700 tons.

    The Akulas carried 20 RSM-52 solid-fuel ballistic missiles each with ten 100 kiloton individually-targeted warheads.

    Cold War-era experts said that a single broadside of such missiles was enough to erase the entire US West Coast off the face of the Earth, Alexander Khrolenko wrote.

    Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry has greenlighted a contract to design a fifth-generation multirole submarine whose construction is slated to begin after 2020.

    Related:

    Akula-II Class Vepr Nuclear Attack Sub to Rejoin Russian Navy by End of 2017
    India to Lease One More Akula-Class Nuclear Sub From Russian Navy
    Tags:
    Russian submarines, fast, ICBMs, records, history, RSM-52, K-162, B-67, Akula-class submarine, NATO, Russian Navy, Russian Northern Fleet, US Navy, Alexander Khrolenko, Russia
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