Submarines: The Last Victors


January 16, 2023: The last two Russian Victor III SSNs (nuclear-powered attack submarines) have completed their latest and probably final refurbishment. 48 Victors entered service between 1967 and 1991. The last two entered service between 1990 and 1991. These two were the third version of Russia’s second class of SSNs. The Victors had a modern teardrop shape and each of the three subclasses was more capable than the previous sub-class. The improvements were mainly about silencing, sensors and more capabilities in general. All displaced about 7,200 tons on the surface and had crews of about a hundred men. There were 16 Victor 1s, seven Victor IIs and 25 Victor IIIs, most of them entering service in the 1980s. Victor IIIs were followed by 19 Sierra and Akula-class SSNs that entered service between 1984 and 1999. Only eight of the latter are currently in service although six others are awaiting refurbishment and return to service. There are also four of the later (and most recent) Yasen class SSNs. Five were planned but budget and other problems mean that only four are likely to be completed. Yasens were supposed to follow the Laika class, which is still in development. The difficulties in designing and building new classes of SSNs led to the two most recent two Victors being refurbished so they could remain in service,

The U.S. Navy was more successful with designing and building SSNs during and after the Cold War. The U.S. built 51 SSNs between 1951 and 1975 before moving on to 62 of the more modern Los Angeles-class and three Seawolf-class SSNs that entered service between 1976 and 1996. After 1991 these were followed by the Virginia-class, with the first of 62 entering service in 2004. There were still 29 Los Angeles and Seawolf boats in service. These are being retired as new Virginia's enter service.


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