Asia Defense | Security

New Russian Attack Sub Enters Sea Trials

The first of six diesel-electric attack subs destined for Russia’s Pacific Fleet has entered state trials, according to a source.

Franz-Stefan Gady
New Russian Attack Sub Enters Sea Trials
Credit: wikimedia commons/mil.ru

The first improved Project 636.3 Kilo-class (aka Vashavyanka-class) diesel-electric attack submarine (SSK), the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, destined for service in Russia’s Pacific Fleet, has reportedly entered state trials earlier this month, according to a source in the Russian defense industry.

“The Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky will today sail to the Gulf of Finland for the first stage of state trials,” the source was quoted as saying by TASS news agency on October 2. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has not officially confirmed the information.

The Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky was officially launched on March 28 of this year.

“A contract for the construction of submarines for the Pacific Fleet was signed in September 2016 at the Army forum,” the head of Admiralty shipyard, Alexander Buzakov, was quoted as saying during the launch ceremony. “In 2019, the submarine will be delivered to the Pacific Fleet.”

However, according to a 2018 report by the Admiralty shipyard in Saint Petersburg the delivery date of the first SSK has been pushed back to November 2020. The first two Project 636.3 Kilo-class SSKs—the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and the Volkhov—are expected to join the Pacific Fleet in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

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All six SSKs destined for service in the Pacific Fleet are slated to be delivered to the Russian Navy by the end of 2025. Russian Navy Deputy Commander-in-Chief Igor Mukhametshin stated at the March 28 ceremony: “I am confident that we will complete this series by 2025 and all the submarines will arrive at their permanent bases by that time.”

The improved Project 636.3 Kilo-class SSKs—dubbed “Black Holes” by the U.S. Navy—are extremely quiet, as I explained previously:

The Project 636.3 Kilo-class is an improved variant of the original Project 877 Kilo-class design. The updated version is slightly longer in length — the sub’s submerged displacement is around 4,000 tons — and feature improved engines, an improved combat system, as well as new noise reduction technology.

Additionally, I noted:

The submarine has a crew of around 50 and can conduct patrols for up to 45 days. The improved Kilo-class can fire both torpedoes and cruise missiles, launched from one of six 533-millimeter torpedo tubes.

The submarine has primarily been designed for anti-submarine and anti-surface ship warfare. However, it can also attack land targets.

Project 636.3 Kilo-class SSKs reportedly boast a special anechoic coating applied on the outer hull surface to reduce noise emanating from its interior. Also, the SSKs main propulsion plant is isolated on a rubber base in order to prevent vibrations. Notably, the SSK class does not feature an air-independent propulsion system, which reduces the submarine’s overall stealth capabilities.