Since your debunking rumors, there are those who say that the Amur/Lada with VLS cruise missiles will have no room for the AIP propulsion,
Hahahaha... funny. the AIP section is like the VLS section... look at any submarine design and point out the empty space with enough room to add vertical launch tubes for a dozen or more cruise missiles, or an entire propulsion system?
The AIP section or VLS section can be added to the existing design... the original sub is designed with separate compartments and adding new compartments is kinda straight forward.
and a follow up question, will the AIP engine replace or will it assist the Diesel engine sorta like a hybrid?
An AIP section would technically be the third propulsion system in the sub... a diesel electric generally has diesel and electric motors, which run on diesel and batteries respectively. This new Russian AIP uses diesel fuel to generate electricity so in many ways it is like a battery in that it is quiet and has no moving parts. BTW western AIPs use hydrogen and basically do the same thing... generate electricity like a battery.
I wouldn't say the best in the world, but definitely one of the best in the world, the Type214 still wins in depth, at least double that of the Lada.
The main problem there is that Russian torpedos can hit either sub no matter how deep they go, and being hit at 400m will crush a sub like a beer can... it is rather more important to not have to surface for almost a month than it is to be able to dive deeper... there is no benefit to diving deeper any more when you can't outdive the enemies torpedoes or depth charges or mines etc.
In many coastal areas the water is often very shallow anyway.
although i wonder if these breakthroughs will be passed to the kilo design?
The export model of the Kilo will likely be offered with the export model of the AIP.
Its not good news to pursue a failed project, better cut your losses and begin with a new design.
The fact that they are pursuing it suggests the rumours of its failure are largely exaggerated.
The reason why russia is continuing with Kilo design is because Lada design has not come up to expectation and is decade behind service due to technical and management issue coupled with financial problems for the 90's
Kilo is a proven design in production... just like the Russian Navy is buying Talwars as well as new ships... both are effective, though the new generation systems are a generation ahead... it is like the PAK FA and Su-35S... they are making both... and not because the PAK FA is rubbish either.
I think the main problem is that people in the west see Lada and they think old Italian crap... the Lada class SSK are potentially very powerful subs with electronics and sonar that is several levels above those fitted to other SSKs and comparable to those fitted to SSNs... the addition of AIPs and VLS just makes them even more competitive... the main difference between the Lada-M and an Akula will likely be top speed. Endurance will be largely dependent on the amount of food stored on board rather than other limitations.