Project 677 lead Lada-class submarine St. Petersburg passed all Russian Navy tests
The Project 677 Lada-class lead diesel-electric submarine (SSK) B-585 Saint Petersburg has passed all the main types of tests and substantiated its design characteristics. Thus, favorable conditions have been created for the domestic industry to receive additional orders from Russia’s Ministry of Defense for ships of this type and conclude contracts for the export version, Amur 1650, under military-technical cooperation, the Zvezda TV channel reported.
Lada class Diesel Electric Submarine (SSK) Project 677 is being offered to India as AMUR 1650.
Project 677 was developed under the supervision of Rubin’s General Designer Yuri Kormilitsyn. The primary mission for SSKs of this type is to search and destroy enemy submarines. Having implemented a lot of new technologies and advanced design solutions, the Rubin Central Design Bureau of Marine Engineering developed a unique ship. During its trials in the Baltic Sea and later (from mid-2013 to the present) at the Northern Fleet’s testing ranges, St. Petersburg demonstrated excellent "hunter" capabilities. In dueling situations with surface ships and submarines of other projects, the boat was the first to detect a simulated enemy. This gave its commander an opportunity to occupy an advantageous attack position and unexpectedly conduct a simulated launch.
The Russian Navy is expected to receive four ships in the original diesel-electric version, and then another five boats of an improved project fitted with an air-independent propulsion (AIP) system.
Igor Vilnit, CEO of Rubin, says that the Project 677 SSK is currently the most advanced non-nuclear submarine capable of successfully competing with all existing German, French and Swedish submarines of this class. In practical terms, this statement refers primarily to the Project 75i international tender for six submarines for the Indian Navy, in which Rosoboronexport is promoting the Amur 1650. "All other tender bids are based on the ships of earlier projects and some of their improvements, whereas we are offering Indian partners to build their indigenous submarine on the basis of ours, which is most advanced today. And this is a very important point,"
The second involves the specific features of the future ship in the light of the Indian Navy’s mandatory requirement for it to be fitted with AIP. The bottom line is this: retrofitting diesel-electric submarines with AIP makes it possible to extend submerged endurance at low speeds (3-5 knots) by two or three times, which increases the stealth of submarines on the enemy’s sea lines of communication and near its coast. St. Petersburg does not have an AIP system, but, beginning with the fifth hull, all of the follow-on Project 677 boats will be equipped with a fuel-cell AIP system based on diesel fuel reforming.
Lada class Diesel Electric Submarine (SSK) Project 677
Rubin has made significant progress over the past few years developing an AIP system for submarines. First a technology demonstrator and then a shore-based test facility were built. The tests on it have been completely completed, and the Russian Navy’s requirements have been met. Preparations are underway for the next stage of tests. Details of the program are not disclosed for reasons of security. At the same time, the developers of the domestic AIP openly state that their installation has a number of significant advantages over its Western counterparts. "The operating principle of our AIP has been recognized the most appropriate across the world, since both our German and French colleagues switched to this type, but our design bureau started this work much earlier. We have an edge here, which will be embodied in an advanced project for the Indian Navy with the help and participation of Indian enterprises,"
the Rubin CEO said.
The victory in India is very important for bringing the new product to the world market. Foreign contracts, added to State Defense Order, will make it possible to quickly pay back the costs incurred for research and development work, increase the size of the production series and reduce the cost per unit. Many importing countries are interested in AIP submarines, but they want to get a ready-made, proven system. If Rosoboronexport succeeds in persuading our partners in military and technical cooperation in the advantages of domestic shipbuilders’ products, then Rubin, Admiralty Shipyard and its subcontractors can count on numerous contracts. This will allow them to remain in the market and continue developing the national school of underwater shipbuilding.
The Indian military are closely following all the latest achievements of Russian sailors and shipbuilders. They are especially interested in St. Petersburg, as this ship is proposed as a prototype in the tender for Project 75i. Igor Molchanov, Chief Designer of non-nuclear submarines at Rubin, explains: "We say that the Project 677 diesel-electric submarine is a prototype for the Amur 1650. I confirm that all the main tests of the lead ship have been completed. There remained only a small scope of inspections related to the sonar system."
As is known, St. Petersburg is equipped with a prototype of the Lira sonar system developed by the Elektropribor Central Research Institute. In terms of performance, it is far superior to the series-built MGK-400 Rubicon-family sonar systems used in SSKs of previous Projects 636 and 877. "Since a really unique sonar system is installed aboard St. Petersburg, all efforts are focused today on carrying out its comprehensive testing in completely different conditions,"
continues Molchanov. "The system is operable and has substantiated all its claimed characteristics. However, since hydrology is complex and changing, a large scope of work is done for a variety of hydrological conditions that may be encountered in the Oceans of the World. I emphasize that it’s not about functional demonstration of the sonar - because there is no longer any doubt about it. It’s about a set of certain statistics that will allow using this sonar system with a given effectiveness under completely different conditions."
It is the Lira, together with the small dimensions of the ship and extremely low-noise SED-1 main permanent-magnet motor (such a motor was used for the first time on the Russian submarine), that makes the Project 677 boat a "hunter" for foreign submarines. The 533mm torpedo tubes are adapted for firing the Kalibr strike cruise missiles as well. St. Petersburg conducted its first missile launches in the fall of 2016.
The submarine is capable of firing a salvo from all six tubes, while a quick loader enables the whole available weapon load (18 units) to be fired at the enemy in a matter of minutes. This makes the boat formidable for any enemy, including an aircraft carrier strike group. Among the missile versions, there are also the 3M-14 land-attack missiles, which were already used by the Project 636.3 SSK Rostov-on-Don and Krasnodar to destroy IS ground targets in Syria. Although the tests of the lead boat took a long time, their completion suggests that our Navy has got a lethal combatant unit, fully prepared for batch production, the Zvezda TV channel writes.