Skip to comments.Russia to Resurrect Titanium Submarines
Posted on 03/06/2013 12:26:50 AM PST by sukhoi-30mki
MOSCOW, March 5 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Navy will refit, modernize and recommission two Sierra class (Project 945) titanium-hull nuclear-powered attack submarines by 2017, the Zvezdochka shipyard said on Tuesday.
The Sierra class has a light and strong titanium pressure hull, enabling these boats to dive to depths of up to 550 meters (1800 feet) and enhancing their survivability, as well as having a low magnetic signature.
A total of four Project 945 and 945A submarines were built in Russia. In addition to the Karp and the Kostroma, the Pskov and the Nizhny Novgorod were built in the early 1990's and are currently in service with the Northern Fleet.
The K-239 Karp (Carp) was the first Project 945 (Barrakuda) submarine, which entered service with the Soviet Navy in 1984.
The K-276 Kostroma was commissioned in 1986 and had to be repaired after a February 11, 1992 collision with the American submarine USS Baton Rouge (SSN-689) while on patrol off Kildin Island near Severomorsk. The US Navy said the collision occurred more than 12 miles (22 km) from shore, in international waters.
The shipyard signed a modernization contract for the Karp and the Kostroma with the Defense Ministry in December 2012 , a Zvezdochka representative told RIA Novosti.
Karp has been sitting at the shipyard since 1994, he said, adding the submarines titanium hull is in a very good condition but a significant part of its equipment is missing.
The submarines sonar and navigation systems will be replaced and their reactors refuelled, he said.
The K-239 Karp (Carp)
© Photo ROYAL NORWEGIAN AIR FORCE
Anyone with some naval expertise know what this means - can the Soviets do it; will the subs be any good; how does this affect the US while Obama is dithering away our leadership in world military affairs?
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>>Anyone with some naval expertise know what this means - can the Soviets do it; will the subs be any good; how does this affect the US while Obama is dithering away our leadership in world military affairs?<<
Titanium hull is an incredible waste of money in the first place. I think a single sub like that cost in a range of Space Shuttle. Thus, it seems like they already have it. Titanium isn’t about to deteriorate to corrosion so it is quite possible it these hulls are in a good shape. Pros: they are strong and can dive much deeper than conventional subs (3 to 4 times deeper than Ohio-class), they have little magnetic signature. They could be a good subs if filled with silent powerplant and modern equipment.
For me the real question is there anyone who can do the work?
To refuel the sub the pressure hull will have to be cut open. To replace other equipment the hull may have to be cut open. You cut open the hull replace the equipment and then you have weld the hole shut again. Cutting and welding Titanium is a very specialized skill. Very few people have this skill.
Also a submarine hull is a special thing all by it self. A week weld on a submarine hull is a death sentence to the sub and the men inside.
Sure. It means my TaylorMade driver will cost more now.
>>For me the real question is there anyone who can do the work?<<
Well, they built and operated several vessels. Why won’t they do it again?
The same reason we wont build a Saturn 5 again. The men that designed and built then are dead or nearly so. The design drawings have been lost, stolen or destroyed.
When skills and knowledge are not passed on to the next generation they are lost. Many skills like welding must be taught by those who know and can not be learned from a book.
Only the most junior welders who worked on those subs will still be around. The best of them will be retired or dead. Welding is tough and dangerous work in the US, I can only imagine what it was like in the USSR.
I know guys who worked with VSMPO company making titanium items in Urals, Russia. As soon as this company lost military contracts in earlier 1990s it switched to making titanium shovels to stay alive. It wasn’t something special, every farmer around had it at very affordable price. They built and sold high-end titanium wheels for a fraction of cost of cheap alloy wheels.
Right now this company is back in big business. It is both major contractor for Boeing and Russian arms companies. I guess they kept technology.
In fact VSMPO located in a place with dozens of companies involved in making titanium things. Russians even call it “Titanium Valley” to mock Silicon Valley.