Submarines: Russian Replacement for the Kilo Class


September 24, 2005: Russia is about to
commission into service a replacement for its Kilo class
diesel-electric subs. The new class is the Lada (or Amur, for export
versions). With all the new money the navy is getting, there are now
plans to establish a unit of six (or more) Ladas in the Baltic in the
next few years.

The Ladas are designed to be fast attack and
scouting boats. They are intended for anti-surface and anti-submarine
operations as well as naval reconnaissance. These boats are said to be
eight times quieter than the Kilos. This was accomplished by using
anechoic (sound absorbing) tile coatings on the exterior, and a very
quiet (skewed) propeller. All interior machinery was designed with
silence in mind. The sensors include active and passive sonars,
including towed passive sonar. The Ladas have six 533mm torpedo tubes,
with 18 torpedoes and/or missiles carried. The Lada has a surface
displacement of 1,750 tons, are 220 feet long and carry a crew of 41.
Each crewmember has their own cabin (very small for the junior crew,
but still, a big morale boost). When submerged, the submarine can
cruise at a top speed of about 39 kilometers an hour (half that on the
surface) and can dive to about 800 feet. The Lada can can stay at sea
for as long as 50 days, and the sub can travel as much as 10,000
kilometers using its diesel engine (underwater, via the snorkel)
Submerged, using battery power, the Lada can travel about 450
kilometers. There is also an electronic periscope (which goes to the
surface via a cable), that includes a night vision capability and a
laser range finder. The Lada was designed to accept a AIP (air
independent propulsion) system. Russia was long a pioneer in AIP
design, but recently Western European nations have taken the lead.
Construction on the first Lada began in 1997, but money shortages
delayed work for years. The first Amur boat is under construction, and
more Ladas will be laid down next year.


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