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Edited by Nikolai Spassky
Military Parade (Moscow)
Order from ZIGZAG Publishing Group (New York)
(212) 725-6700 Fax (212) 725-6915

If you have ever wondered how the torpedo loading hatch opens on a Russian SSN, or how the Russian MG-74 selfpropelled sonar countermeasures system works and what its characteristics are, or how many weapons are carried by an Akula class SSN, then this book is a must for you. This is an unclassified catalogue of the Russian Navy’s submarines, surface ships, aircraft, wing-in-ground-effect vehicles, missiles, torpedoes, sonars, fire control equipment, communications gear, coastal; defense weapons, and even swimmer weapons.

The book is one of a series of seven so-called catalogues being published in 1996-1997 by the Military Parade organization. The firm was previously known for its excellent, slick paper magazine Military Parade. The high quality of that journal was atypical of Soviet publications, which were always known for their grainy, third- or fifth-generation photos.

Like Military Parade, the NAVY volume of the catalogue series is inundated with crisp, color photography, drawings of ships and other systems (although the drawing of the Typhoon SSBN is inaccurate}, and several how it works drawings of torpedoes, countermeasure devices, and mines.

Each entry is accompanied by a brief discussion text and characteristics. The several descriptions of ASW weapons, torpedo countermeasures, and submarine weapons and systems should be of particular interest to Submarine League members. The torpedoes that are described in NAVX are carried by submarines, surface ships, and aircraft; they are:

  • 53-65K acoustic homing torpedo
  • APSET-95 acoustic homing torpedo
  • SAET-60 acoustic homing torpedo
  • SET-40 acoustic homing torpedo
  • SET-65 acoustic homing torpedo
  • TEST-71 M wire-guided acoustic homing torpedo

There are, obviously, other torpedoes in Russian naval service. Still, these weapons-described by text, cutaway diagrams, characteristics, and operating diagrams-are representative of Russian torpedo technology. One assumes that these weapons are also for sale to other nations. However, that statement is not universal for the book’s entries-it is highly unlikely that any nation could purchase a Typhoon SSBN or Kirov class nuclear battle cruiser.

The more interesting entries include the swimmer (i.e. SEAL weapons} and anti-swimmer weapons, and the vast array of electronic and fire control equipment described in the book.

The breadth and level of coverage is unprecedented for an unclassified publication. Produced by Military Parade magazine-the glossy journal of the Russian military-industrial complex-NAVY was prepared under the general supervision of Fleet Admiral Felix Gromov, the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, and a board of 16 senior, active duty naval officers.

The book does have flaws, the major one being that most of the items described have their Russian project numbers or names and not their U.S.-NATO code names. And, of course, this is a
catalogue and not a reference book like Combat Fleets or Jane’s Fighting Ships; thus NAVY does not contain data on new ships and aircraft not yet in the fleet, nor does it provide order-of-battle numbers. Further, the $495 price tag places the book beyond the reach of most individuals. However, it should be on the shelves of all major commands and offices where the Russian Navy is a topic of discussion.

(The other volumes in the series are: ARMY. AIR FORCE. and PRECISION WEAPONS AND AMMUNITION. published in 1996-1997; the volumes STRATEGIC MISSILE FORCES. AIR DEFENSE, and MILITARY SPACE FORCES will be published later this year.)

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