Submarines: October 19, 1999


: The Russian Kilo class diesel-electric submarine has become a popular export item. The Russians will modify the basic design for export customers. There are now four variants; Project 877,877EK & 877EKM (exports), and the more advanced Project 636(VMF & export) plus projected export variants 'updated 877' and 877 AIP propulsion.

Some of the Kilos exported went to India (eight 877EKMs and two 636 under construction), China (two 877EK and two 636 order), Iran (four 877EKM) and Algeria (two 877EK). 
The Kilo is equipped with six 533 mm forward torpedo tubes in the nose of the submarine and carries eighteen torpedoes with six in the torpedo tubes and twelve stored on the racks. Alternatively the torpedo tubes can deploy mines. The submarine can carry 24 mines with two in each of the six tubes and twelve on the racks.

Two torpedo tubes are designed for firing remote-controlled (i.e. wire-guided) torpedoes with a very high accuracy. All torpedo tubes and their service systems provide effective firing from periscope (which is 17.5m) to operational depths (normal 250 meters, max 300 meters).
The computer-controlled torpedo system is provided with a quick-loading device. It takes only 15 seconds to prepare stand-by torpedo tubes for firing: The first salvo can be away in under two minutes and the second within five minutes.

Typical Torpedoes carrier are the Type 53-65 passive *wake homing torpedo* (range of 21 kilometers; 19km at 45knots with a 305 kg warhead) and the TEST 71/76 anti-submarine, active & passive homing torpedo (range of 17 kilometers; 15 kilometers at 40 knots or 22 kilometers at 25 knots with a 200 kg warhead).

The 877ekm Kilo has six 533 mm torpedo tubes and carries 18 heavyweight torpedoes (six in the tubes and 12 on the racks). It uses an automatic rapid loader which is remotely controlled from the Murena main control panel or by controls in the launch station. Two targets can be engaged simultaneously.

Two of the launch tubes can fire the TEST-71MKE TV electric wire-guided/homing torpedo which has an active sonar homing system with TV guidance which allows the operator to manually switch to an alternative target, and can maneuver in two axes. It is powered by a storage battery and birotary motor giving a wakeless run at constant range and speed. It is 7.9 meters long and weighs 1,820 kg with a 205 kg explosive charge. Note TV means wire or fibreoptic-guided in English.
The submarine is also fitted with UGST *wake homing torpedoes*. This torpedo is 7.2 m long and weighs 2,200 kg with 200 kg explosive charge. It has a range of up to 40 km, and a depth of search of up to 500 m. Maximum speed is 50 knots.
The tubes are also capable of deploying mines, 24 of which can be carried (12 in the tubes and 12 on the racks).

The 877 & 636 type Kilos can carry missiles. A SAM launcher can carry eight Strela-3 (NATO ASCC SA-N-8 Gremlin, maximum range is 6 km and speed is Mach 1.7) or Igla (NATO ASCC SA-N-10 Gimlet, maximum range of 5 km and speed of Mach 1.65.)
There are unconfirmed reports that INS Sindhuvir and INS Sindhushastra (Indian 636s) are to be armed with the 3M-54E1 AshCM (a 60 kilometer range anti-ship missile). It is possible that the rest of the vessels (INS 877EKMs) will be similarly equipped. 

In the Kilo Class submarines, the AShCMs can be mounted in vertical launch cells or std torpedo tubes. A 20 meter hull plug, currently being considered as a Kilo fuel-cell compartment, could instead be utilized for vertical launch cells for the 3m54E/E1 missile, or within 2 years the highly supersonic 'Yakhont' as an alternative. -- W. Patterson

Russia has agreed to Chinese requests to negotiate for the sale of two Project-971 Akula-class nuclear submarines to the Chinese. The two subs could dramatically improve Chinese naval capabilities. The five existing Han-class nuclear subs are old and noisy and pose no serious challenge to US, or even Taiwanese, anti-submarine forces. The Chinese are building a new submarine (Type-093) with Russian help, but it is two years from completion. A pair of Akulas could be bought fairly quickly if the Chinese are willing to accept existing (used) boats, or within a year or so if they want new boats built to order.--Stephen V Cole


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