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Commissioned in Severodvinsk

The official act of finishing and delivering of the Russian Navy’s first nuclear powered submarine of the 2111 century, GEPARD (Project 971 Bars or Akula class), was signed at the Sevmashpredpriate industrial plant at Severodvinsk in the Archangelsk region of northern Russia on December 3, 2001. Navy Commander in Chief, Fleet Admiral Vladimir Kuroedov, Deputy Commander in Chief for Shipbuilding, Vice Admiral Michail Barskov, and Sevmash’s General Director, David Pashaev, completed formalities there.

On December 4, 2001, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin participated in the commission ceremony at the Sevmash shipyard of GEPARD (cheetah in English). The weather in Severodvinsk that day was not cold (minus 8 degrees in Celsius). On the moorings near GEPARD stood about 100 workers. The yard did not work because of the ceremony. Near the pier was moored the aircraft carrier ADMIRAL GORSHKOV, which was in process of pre-sale preparation and modernization for the Indian Navy. PartofGEPARD’s crew, with her Commanding Officer Captain 1 Rank Dmitry Kosolapov, was on the mooring pier.

President Putin had arrived silently without special cars’ signals and sirens. He took the flag of the submarine and delivered it to GEPARD’s Commanding Officer. Acting Commander of the Northern Fleet, Vice Admiral Dobroskotchenko had read the order for commissioning the submarine into the Northern Fleet. The Navy’s traditional Russian Andreevsky flag had been raised.

Then the President went down inside GEPARD and inspected her interior. After finishing that mission, he visited some shops of the shipbuilding enterprise and talked with their workers.

President Putin delivered his speech:

“Respected Severodvintsi, dear Sailors Severomortsi!

“Respected Severodvintsi, dear Sailors Severomortsi! Today all of us became the participants of the event of special state importance. The guard cruiser nuclear submarine GEPARD was commissioned. The Russian Navy got the ship, which represents the pride of both the Fleet of Russia and the creators of that sub. The submarines of this class provide the basis of the Russian Federation’s general purpose nuclear submarine force. And first of all, I like to congratulate the designers and builders of that project, all severodvintsi with this achievement.

During the three hundred years history of the Russian Fleet the raising of a Navy flag on every new major vessel was marked as an event of national importance. We must cherish that tradition of our ancestors, which gains the glory of a sea power for our country.

The common task of shipbuilders and sailors-our common task-is the creation of new, reliable, survivable ships, and formation of effective search and rescue services. Development of more exact standards of architecture and exploitation of ships is another aim. But as in all times, sea power of the contemporary Russia means not only ships, military bases, and unique shipbuilding technologies. First of all, it is people. It is their love of sea, devotion to the fleet and to the Motherland.

But today to be on a proper level of contemporary tasks for our Armed Forces is not sufficient. It is necessary to have the highest level of professionalism, a sense of respon-sibility and discipline. The sea does not forgive a neglecting attitude to it and punishes severely for mistakes.

In contemporary conditions our Navy provides not only security of our frontiers and sea resources. The destiny of the fleet, including the submarine force, and its qualitative renewal is very important for the state. We see today the strategic future of the Navy in technological, scientific and industrial perfection. Now we are shifting to creation of truly multipurpose submarines. The relevant subs were laid down in the assembly shops of your Northern Machinbuild-ing Enterprise.

And I must also say about one important moment. Now, for the first time in Russia, we put a beginning to the formation of a national naval policy. Its foundations were determined in naval doctrine, in which naval activity has the highest state priorities.

Dear friends! Today we are presenting high state awards of Russia to the creators of GEPARD. I think that the country must know your names. The choice of the Sev-mashpredpiratie for building of new submarines is based on the high trademark of your shipyard, which has built 127 submarines. Many of them personify Russian sea power. GEPARD is the 128111 child of the Severod vinsk’ s shipbuilders. We’ll hope that with each new submarine your wage will be growing. In any way, it is necessary to do all that is possible in that direction.

The shipbuilders combined in that sub an alloy of the most distinguished scientific achievements. And that is a credit to the adjuster of the shipyard, B.S. Chramtsov. This sub is number 34 in his records. The birth of this unique ship was possible because of efforts of many scientific production and military electives. And not in the last place, it is to the credit of the St. Petersburg’s Sea Bureau of Machinebuilding Malachite. Its Head and General De-signer, V.N. Paylov, and Chief Designer of that sub’s modification Yu.I. Farafontov. The successful sea trials of GEPARD were accomplished by her crew under command of captain lnRankD.D. Kosolapov. The General Director of Sevmashpredpriatie, D.G. Pashaev, is not among those awarded today, but we know very well that doesn’t mean his merits to the Motherland become less. We thank him very much.

Dear friends! You were able to preserve not only unique complex of nuclear submarines’ creation but also the best native shipbuilding traditions, which always represented the highest levels of technologies and production skill.

I like to thank you for your labor from my heart. For your fidelity to Russia. For your faith to it.
Thank you. ”

In this connection it is reasonable to put a couple of questions. What kind of submarine is GEPARD? What is the place of that class of submarines among other nuclear submarines of the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation.?

In the 1984-2001 period the Soviet and Russian shipbuilding industry built 14 Bars (in American terminology Akula) class Project 971 nuclear attack submarines. They were built in Komsomolsk-on-Amur and Severodvinsk shipyards and were commissioned to the Pacific and Northern Fleets. These submarines and four Project 945 titanium attack submarines (In NATO designation Sierra class) are the most advanced Russian SSNs and they are comparable to the U.S. Improved-688 class attack nuclear submarines and even with the Seawolf class subs.

The Project 971 submarine is earmarked, first of all, for sweeping, detection, and shadowing of an adversary’s ballistic missile nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers and destroying them at the beginning of war actions. She also can destroy other submarines, surface ships and transports by her torpedoes, missiles and mines. The second very important mission, which was really first implemented on these SSNs, is her ability to strike land, and in principle, sea targets at ranges up to 3000 kilomters by her 533mm caliber Granat subsonic cruise missiles similar to U.S. Tomahawks.

The design of Project 971 began in 1977 in the Malachite Design Bureau which designed the first Soviet attack nuclear submarines of the November class (Project 627 A), and later the serial production of the Victor classes (Projects 671, 671 RT, and 671 RTM) attack submarines. The Chief Designer of Victor and Acula classes was Georgy Tchernishov; the Chief Navy Supervisor of Projects 945 and 971 class was Captain 1st Rank Igor Bogat-chenko.

The submarine has six compartments plus bow and stem parts, 17 main ballast tanks, a superstructure and a sail. For unsinkability, the first compartment is divided into two parts by the horizontal 10 atmospheres watertight deck. In the bow part there are torpedo and decoy tubes and the main hydroacoustic array. The I compartment has torpedoes and missiles, hydroacoustic equipment and storage batteries; II compartment-control room, living accommodations, air conditioning systems and electronic equipment; III compartment-radio, radar, navigational, some electrical equipment and diesel generator; IV compartment-reactor and its equipment; V compartment-main turbine, turbo generators and their components; VI compartment-thrust bearing, rudders and planes machinery. In the stern part-propeller, stabilizers, planes and rudders. The surfacing escape chamber, bridge, retractable masts and towed radio antenna are in the superstructure and sail.

GEPARD has the following tactical-technological characteristics:

Surfaced displacement (tons) 8,470
Submerged displacement (tons) 13,800
Length, beam, draft (meters) 113.0xl2.8×9.6
Bow torpedo tubes 4-533mm (upper row), 6 outside 400mm tubes with decoys.
Weapons 28-533mm and 12-650mm torpedoes and missiles or more than 40 mines; missiles Granat, Vodopad, Veter, 8 hand-launched antiaircraft missiles lgla-1.
Sonar Scat-3 with bow cylindrical array (height about 5m and diameter more than 7m), fixed side and stern towing antennas
Test depth (meters) 600 (AK-32 steel with yield 100 kg/sq mm
Damage control surface unsinkability with any one flooded compart-ment, 26 percent reserve buoyancy, bulkheads of II companment calculated on 20 kg/cm2, other bulk-heads-on 10kg/cm2, escape surfacing chamber in II com-partment calculated to take all the submarine’s crew
Speed, submerged, knots 33
Reactor 1 OK-650, 190 mgwt
Turbine 1×50,000 shp
Complement 73

In comparison with the Project 945 (Sierra) submarine, the increasing volume displacement of the Project 971 submarine reduced her speed by two knots but allowed the implementation of the newest weapons and electronics that broadened the spectrum of submarine mission. The most important of them was the installation of new cruise missiles Granat to strike land targets from the 533mm torpedo tubes at ranges up to 3000 km and a new hydroacoustic complex with digital processing.

But because the main task of GEPARD is to fight with SSBNs, SSNs and aircraft carriers, her principal weapons are torpedoes and missiles with less ranges.

First of all, it should be mentioned the anti-aircraft carriers 650mm caliber torpedo type 65-76 with kerosene fuel and hydrogen peroxide oxidizer which entered service in the 1980s. It has a speed of 50 knots with a range of 50 km or 30 knots with a range of 100 km. The warhead weight is 900 kg and it has wake homing guidance. It is a torpedo equivalent of the Project 941 (Oscar) anti-aircraft carrier supersonic cruise missile Granat with a range of 550 km with a 1000 kg conventional warhead.

The second category of torpedoes is a number of 533mm antisubmarine and anti-surface ship torpedoes. The contemporary USET-80 universal 533mm homing torpedo has a range of 20 km and a speed of 50 knots; a silver-zinc electric battery, a diving depth of more than 400m with a 300 kg conventional warhead. To that category belongs also torpedo TEST-71 wire controlled with a range up to 20 km, also with a silver-zinc electric battery, speed up to 40 knots, diving depth 400m and more than a 200 kg warhead.

The third exotic category of universal torpedoes is VA-111 torpedo Shkval developed in 1977 with a speed up to 200 knots and a range of 11-15 km with a ballistic missile type engine. It seems that this torpedo, in spite of its fantastic speed, cannot be a really practical weapon because of its limited range and dubious direction stability and accuracy.

As to torpedo size cruise missiles, there are two contemporary types: the 533mm Vodopad (RPK-6) with a weight of 2,445 kg, a length of 8.2m and a payload of742 kg with the UMGT-1 400mm antisubmarine torpedo with a range up to 35 km. The 650mm Meter (RPK-7) is 11m long with the same payload and a range up to 100 km. These missiles were designed by Novator Bureau, Sverdlovsk (now Ekaterinburg) in the l 980s.

But the main achievement in designing and building of that class submarines is in providing for their minimal self-noise. It was done by reduction of their mechanisms’ noise levels and arranging all of that in the submarine on intermediate rafts, which are fixed to the pressure hull and bulkheads on pneumatic shock absorbers. It is the second cascade of noise insulation. The first one is on rubber struts and mechanisms foundations. Thick anti-echoing coating (64mm) on the outer hull and thin anti-noise coating on the pressure hull also play their roles. As a result, this new submarine is the quietest in the Russian Navy. As was said by Vladimir Pyalov, General Designer and Head of the Malachite Bureau, in his interview to the Russian Izvestia newspaper, “the noise level of GEPARD is 3.5 times less in comparison with the first submarine of that project.

The new Russian SSN GEPART (K 335) arrived at the North Fleet submarine base in Gadjievo on December 21, 2001. The new Commander of the North Fleet, Vice Admiral Gennady Sutchkov, and his staff met the submarine on the pier

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