Submarines: February 8, 2000

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The first of Russia's newest diesel submarine class (variously known as Amur, Lada, or Project 677) is now 30% complete. The first unit (St Petersburg) is being built for the Russian Navy; the second (now 7% complete) is available for export sales. St Petersburg will launch this year and enter service at the end of 2001. Amur displaces 1,765 tons. Made of AB2 steel, it can dive to 250m. Its seven-bladed propeller will provide a speed of 21 knots submerged (on diesels) or 10knots on the surface. It can remain submerged for 10 days. Cruising range on diesel engines is 6,000 nautical miles. The Russians had planned to fit Amur with an air-independent propulsion system, but could not get one to work and now tell prospective purchasers that the systems are not that important. Amur is significantly quieter than Kilo, which it is to replace on the production lines and export sales brochures. A new sonar system known as Lira includes bow-mounted and towed sonars, plus separate arrays to detect mines and other noise, new range and velocity measuring systems, and underwater telephones. Amur is designed for a crew of 34 operating in two shifts, but could accommodate 41 men if the owner wants to operate in three shifts. There are six torpedo tubes and storage space for 18 weapons. These can include 533mm torpedoes, 3M54E anti-ship cruise missiles, or 91PE1 anti-submarine missiles. --Stephen V Cole

 


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