Ok two off then as i dont count the first.
They are keeping all three... whether you count them or not...
But why havent SSN or SSGN been striking Syria? Is the Med considered a SSK sea? From what i know they have no SSN in BSF so its a long way from Northen or Pacific fleet to get there.
You answered your own question... why take an SSN or SSGN away from a strategic mission against the US and NATO when a corvette in the Caspian Sea can launch Calibrs?
Having SSKs frees bigger heavier more capable subs for jobs that require more capabilities.
The point is that the Lada class SSKs are much closer to SSN performance than previous SSKs so it becomes more useful...
About Ladas, you cant really say its a better SSK then the Kilo just on techs specs, it has to prove it also and there has been som short classes of subs that were failures.
But how do you define a failure... I mean during WWII the Soviet Air Force had Polikarpov I-16s and then got British Hurricane fighters... and then got Yak-3 fighters... the fact was they didn't know how bad the I-16s were until they used them against early model Bf-109s... the I-16 was state of the art in the 1930s when they first entered service but their performance was eclipsed by the time they got serious use... the Hurricane was better, but still not superior to the BF-109 models they were coming up against at the time they got them... it was only when they got Yak-3s when they actually had an aircraft that was superior to the late model Bf-109s and FW-190s they were coming up against... claiming the I-16s were bad is silly... making the number of MiG-3s or Yak-1s that they had of I-16s at the start of the war would have bankrupted the Soviet state and most were destroyed on the ground anyway, so the pilots survived to fight later in the war in better aircraft...
I can say the Lada was a better SSK because it was designed to be so... just like the MiG-29 was a better interceptor fighter than the MiG-21 it replaced in service and the Su-27 was better than the MiG-23 it replaced...
They were speaking of ordering another batch of 4 Ladas, but i dont think so really.
Of course its a quick work to add a section of AIP hull on a SSK, sweden did it with the Näcken sub in 1988...
AIP propulsion systems are generally modular and are designed to be able to be added on to existing subs as well as new ones... the point is that they have to actually be working first.
If the Ladas were no better than Kilos why even bother talking about making any more, it would make more sense to crank out a few extra Kilos they have already had in mass production before and concentrate on a real replacement without wasting time with something that is no better than what they already have.
As for SSN´s vs SSK´s, well not only top speed but range and endurance also. Trouble with SSK´s even if they are nearly as good as SSN´s is top speed and range, they can never accompany large task forces. So in every larger task force even in the med, they have to assigne some SSN to that role.
The days of long range SSKs is over... such roles have been replaced by SSNs so it is not really an issue any more.
Mediterranean is a closed sea, just as it should be for use of SSKs. When SSK is quiet it is really quiet indeed. SSN with her pumps and turbines can never be as quiet as SSK. Baltic fleet has no SSNs as any SSN there would be as a whale in a pool.
There is little value strategically for Russia to have subs in the Med or the Baltic except a few cruise missiles launched from behind so to speak... would be as vulnerable to NATO as a US carrier group in the black sea would be vulnerable to Russian forces.
i think it will be a temporary class to bridge over to more capable Kalina.
Funny you have confidence in Kalina being superior but not Lada?
You do know that some years ago the Kalina in this equation was Lada?
If they have fucked up the Lada, why do you place such high hopes they will do any better with Kalina?
Do you expect Kalina to be even smaller and lighter and with a crew of 12?