About the Author
l.D. SpassA.y was born on the 2na of August 1926
It is symbolic that the author of this article. who is a prominent scientist and specialist in the area of submarine design and Construction. received his secondary and higher education in naval schools and colleges and came to work in the industry from the USSR Navy (Senior Engineer-Lieutenant). ln 1944 I. D. Spassky graduated from the Baku Naval Preparatory School. After Iris graduation in 1949 from tire Dzerzhinsky High Naval College (Steam Generation Plant Department) and a short service on cruiser FRUNZE (under construction) Engineer-Lieutenant I. D. Spassky was assigned to work in SDB-143 where he participated in the creation of the experimental high speed submarine of Project 617. Jn 1953 Ire retired from the Navy and was transferred together with Project 617 to CDB-18 (now SOE CDB ME RUBIN) where he works at the present time.
Passing through all the stages of a designer’s career, in 1956 he became the Deputy Chief Designer of a nuclear submarine of Project 658 (NATO named HOTEL} armed with ballistic missiles; after that, in the same position, he continued to work on the development of Projects 667A and 667B (YANKEE and DELTA) submarines.
In 1968 he was appointed the Chief Engineer and since 1974 he has been the Head of Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering RUBIN, first as the Chief Designer and Head of the Enterprise and since 1983-as the General Designer- Head of SOE CDB ME RUBIN.
The fundamental contribution of I. D. Spassky to creation of the marine component of the missile-nuclear potential of Russia and Naval Submarine Forces is widely known. He developed a number of fundamental scientific and technical directions in submarine shipbuilding. Under his leadership a huge scope of research and development works were carried out and new technology of submarine construction was developed that considerably reduced the construction time and cost. The contribution of I. D. Spassky to the development of Naval Submarine Forces was realized in construction of more than 200 nuclear and diesel-electric submarines based on 20 projects developed by CDB ME RUBIN under his leadership.
In many respects, due to efforts of I. D. Spassky, the transition to the complex design was accepted in submarine shipbuilding. A striking example of such an approach to the design process was creation of system TYPHOON accomplished with a huge creative and organizational participation of I. D. Spassky.
The substantiated and strong position of I. D. Spassky determined the preservation and successful development of diesel-electric submarines within the Navy and creation of a whole family of the most silent and highly efficient SS that are highly appreciated in Russia and on the world market.
At present, the work on creation of the newest designs of nuclear and diesel-electric submarines of the XXI century are carried out under his leadership and with his enormous personal involvement. Under direct scientific and technical management of I. D. Spassky in 2001, a unique project that does not have analogues in the world’s practice was fulfilled. It was the international project of lifting, transportation and docking of i the nuclear submarine KURSK.
I. D. Spassh.y is a Doctor of Technical Science (1978), Professor (St. Petersburg State Maritime Technical University, 1984), Academician of the Russian Academy Science (1987).
The scientific and production services of I. D. Spassky were acknowledged by awarding him the Lenin prize (1965), the USSR State Prize (1983), and the title of Hero of Socialist Labour (1978). He has been awarded two Orders of Lenin, Order of the October Revolution, Order of the Red Banner of Labour, Order of the Patriotic War Second Class, Order For Services to the native Land Second Class and many medals.
In 2002 I. D. Spassky was honoured with a title of Honourable Citizen of Saint-Petersburg.
He is married, has a son and a daughter.
We are used to celebrating anniversaries: 50, 60, 70 years since the time of some event. There is something significant and, may be, even a little mystical in such numbers that end with zero. It seems that a date with a zero at the end resets all that previously was done and opens a new blank field for further deeds. A rounded date is a milestone of a kind that delimits the past and the future.
For submarine designers the 100th year anniversary of the Russian Submarine Forces is an extremely important event. Not only, and not so much, due to the fact that this date is marked by two zeros but rather that so many things were performed during these one hundred years- the time span that exceeds by just a little a normal duration of a human life. Out of the 300-year history of the Russian Navy one hundred passed under the sign of submarines. With confidence one can call the last hundred years of the Russian Navy’s history A Century of Submarines. In total, for a hundred years, submarines traveled a road from the grandmother of submarines- submarine DOLPHIN- up to heavy missile-carrying undersea cruisers. The evolution of submarines for the century-long historical interval can be characterized by the following numbers:
– Submerged displacement had increased by more than 250 times;
– Full submerged speed – by 5 times;
– Endurance – by 15 times;
– Duration of the submarine staying in the submerged condition that
practically equals the endurance for nuclear-powered submarines-by
In terms of capabilities, the progress of submarine shipbuilding and submerged sailing is even more impressive – a submarine that was capable of solving the tasks of a coast defense only, at the beginning of the historical way, the further evolution, was transformed into a ship intended for solution of tactical and strategic tasks. During each stage of the submarine maturing they in fact accumulated those qualities that were demanded by the Navy.
An objective history is always made by real people. The story of the Russian Submarine Forces was created by submariners- people of really courageous and very special profession. They mastered a new technique, performed long cruises, dived to new depths, sailed under ice cover. During World War I and the Great Patriotic War (WWII) they bravely sailed to sea to fight against enemy submarines and surface ships, laid mines at exits from enemy bases, carried out reconnaissance and disembarked scouting groups to a shore occupied by the enemy. A number of complicated and important combat missions were carried out by Russian submariners after the war. Patrolling, around-the-world submerged cruises, transarctic cruises- that is a far incomplete list of deeds performed by Russian submariners after the war.
Unfortunately, the frames of this article do not allow listing the names of all heroic submariners whose feats of arms and labour won the glory of the Russian Submarines Forces.
But it is impossible to pass over in silence such outstanding creators of the Navy as Nikolai Gerasimovich Kuznetsov and Sergei Georgievich Gorshkov. Large periods of the country and Navy history are closely connected with names of these two Comrnandersin-Chief of the Navy of the USSR. The Soviet Navy passed through severe years of terrible war ordeals and became a force that could not be ignored by our enemies when N.G. Kuznetsov was in the office. When S.G. Gorshkov was the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy the Soviet Navy became a blue-water and missile and nuclear fleet.
It is impossible to leave non-mentioned the name of another Commander-in-Chief of the Navy- Vladimir Nikolaevich Chemavin-Hero of the Soviet Union, the first submariner on this high and responsible post of the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. V.N. Chernavin, who participated in the first stage of putting into operation nuclear-powered submarines of the I 0 generation, performed many remarkable submerged cruises (including under the Arctic ice cover), was familiar with the specifics of the submarine service, but at the same time he understood the engineers who created the designs of submarines for our Navy.
It is impossible to mention all outstanding creators who designed submarines for the national submarine fleet; scientists who conducted researches and developed the theory of submarines and other fields of science, without whom creation of modem submarines is unthinkable; shipbuilders who implemented the designers’ ideas into real ships. We remember these wonderful people and practically every day we see the results of their work in this or that form. The hundred year history of the Russian Submarines Forces is both a source of pride of our predecessors’ creations and, at the same time, the treasure-house of invaluable experience out of which we can derive ideas and approaches to creation of new underwater ships.
Submarines as a new, independent class of naval ships obtained recognition in 1906. By the Order No. 52 of the 11th March issued by the Marine Ministry and signed by the Marine Minister Vice Admiral A. A. Birilev, with the Royal Assent, a category submarines was included into the Classification of Naval Ships. By this time 7 submarines (DOLPHIN and 6 submarines of type KASATKA) were in service with the Russian Navy. These submarines were on the list as torpedo boats. It was the date of the Royal Assent (the 19th of March, new style) that was considered the official birthday of the Russian Submarine Forces and for many years the birthday had been celebrated on this day.
The history of the Russian submarine shipbuilding is counted from the 4th January 1901 (new style). On this day the Commission established based on a proposal of Vice Admiral I. M. Dikoy, the Chairman of the Marine Technical Committee, and N. E. Kuteinikov, Chief Shipbuilding Inspector, commenced the work on the design of the first combatant Russian submarine DOLPHIN. The following persons were included into the Commission: Naval Architect Senior Assistant I. G. Bubnov (Shipbuilding), Senior Mechanical Engineer Assistant I. S. Goryonov (Engineering) and Lieutenant M. N. Beklemishev (Electrical).
It is interesting to note that one of the Commission members (M. N. Beklemishev) later was appointed the Commanding Officer of submarine DOLPHIN. This fact is one more proof of a very close links between the engineers-shipbuilders and submarine designers with submariners.
Generally speaking, the history of the Russian submarine fleet and submarine shipbuilding contains a lot of instructive and useful facts. The roots of our modem achievements go deep into the distant past, and a lot of examples can be derived from the retrospective review of the history. Even now these examples did not lose their topicality. It looks like the history of submarines sets the vector for their development and, analyzing the past, we are able to understand and imagine the future of the Russian Submarine Forces much better.
Leaving aside the details and peripetia of transformations and renaming of design bureaus who designed submarines in Russia (USSR), I’d like to note that before 1948 CDB-18 was the only submarine designer in the country and it originated from the Construction Commission established in 1901. In 1948 the second design bureau was established- SBD-143- for designing submarines with high submerged speed (Project 617). It was organized by transfer of a number of employees of CDB-18 who studied captured equipment in Germany (so-called Antipin ‘s Bureau) and a department of CRI-45 (now the Krylov Research institute) that was developing single engines for the surface and submerged submarine cruise. Getting ahead, I’d like to mention that subsequently SDB-143 was switched to nuclear projects and developed the design of the first national torpedo nuclear-powered submarine (Project 627).
In 1953 two more organizations joined the submarine design field-CDB-16 and SDB-112. The latter was formed on the basis of the design bureau of shipyard Krasnoe Sormovo and was headed by Z. A. Deribin (former Chief Engineer of CDB-18 and Chief Designer of Project 613). He brought with him to SDB-112 a group of designers from CDB-18. The first large work of this SOB was the creation of Project 633.
CDB-16 is known for the development of the design of the first high-speed nuclear-powered submarine with a hull made of titanium alloy (Project 661) and a number of modification designs of diesel-electric submarines to be used for ballistic missile trials. Subsequently CDB-16 and SDB-143 were merged into one Design Bureau- SPMBM Malakhit (now- FSUE SPMBM Malakhit).
About 1,100 submarines were built in Russia for 100 years, and over 900 of them- based on designs of CDB-18 (now SOE CDB ME Rubin).
At present in Russia the practical submarine design is carried out by two design bureaus: Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering Rubin and St. Petersburg Marine Machine-Building Bureau Malakhit.
It is impossible to show in full colour the rich history of the Russian submarine shipbuilding in a short article; therefore I’ll try to outline in wide strokes of a paintbrush the basic historical events, to set out a short course of the Russian submarine shipbuilding history.
A SHORT COURSE
I will not dwell at length on the first steps of the national submarine design school- this period is rather deeply studied and described by our historians. The only thing I’d like to say is that Russian designers had to step very fast. First, the Russian-Japanese war speeded-up the process of developing the Russian submarine shipbuilding; then- the approaching World War I. Submarines being the operational strength of the Russian Navy (including 32 submarines built in Russia before 1917 by designs of Russian designers), in this period already had confidently declared themselves to be a formidable naval weapon. I’d like to pay tribute to the Marine Minister of Russia Ivan Konstantinovich Grigorovich, because the importance of the contribution made by him into the establishment of the Russian Submarine Forces and the Russian Navy in general can hardly be exaggerated. It was while I. K. Grigorovich (whose remains were brought to the native land in 2005) was the head of the Marine Ministry when the Russian Submarine Forces developed so dynamically.
The development of the national submarine shipbuilding in the period between the World War I and the Great Patriotic War (WWII) is also characterized by high rates of progress- a new class of ships (submarines) that experienced the baptism of fire formed the basis of new naval forces of the Soviet Union. By the beginning of the Great Patriotic war the Soviet Navy had the most powerful submarine fleet in the World, and for the period from 1925 to 1945, a total of 325 submarines of 20 types had been built. The submarine fleet had been growing up not only quantitatively but qualitatively as well. Tactical and technical characteristics of submarines and their weapons were considerably increased; skilled submariners were trained, the operating area of submarines increased considerably (submarines joined all the Fleets- the Baltic, Black Sea, Pacific and North Fleets).
The Great Patriotic War (WWII) not only proved high qualities of submarines designed by Russian engineers but also revealed the direction of further submarine improvements. The Navy became a factor facilitating the solution of the warfare outcome and the dominating role was played by naval Submarine Forces. It goes without saying that it did not mean the rejection of harmonic development of submarine and surface forces of the Navy and maritime aviation.
The development of designing and construction of the first postwar submarines was characterized by the principle from simple to complex. The first submarine of the Soviet Navy built after the war became a torpedo diesel-electric submarine of a medium displacement of Project 613 (Whiskey). The development of Project 608 submarine design (started back in 1942 but suspended in 1944, until the completion of studying captured German submarine U-2 50) preceded the development of this project. Later on the design was corrected with account of the analysis results of German submarines of Series XXL Thus, the best technical solutions both Russian and foreign (in the first place, German) submarine designers were accumulated in the developed Project 613.
Following the submarines of Project 613, in 1953 construction of large diesel-electric submarine of Project 611 (ZULU) began. The structures of these two boats are very similar, but the displacement of Project 611 submarines was practically two times larger and it allowed them to more than double the cruising range (22,000 miles instead of 8,600), endurance (75 days instead of 30), torpedo salvo power ( 10 torpedo tubes in place of 6) and ammunition (22 torpedoes in place of 12). In order to improve the habitability conditions for the crew during long-term cruises, two distilling plants were provided on Project 611 submarines.
At the same time, Projects 613 and 611 cannot be called revolutionary designs- a lot of features specific to submarines of the World War II (e.g., artillery armament that was later dismantled) were still present in them. Similar to submarines of World War II submarines of these projects remained to be ships intended for fighting surface ships and vessels.
In the fifties one more of the directions of improving tactical and technical characteristics of submarines was the increase of time of their continuous stay underwater (submerged endurance). This parameter at the time was one of the major ones in providing the submarine stealthiness.
At that time the increase of submarine stealthiness was achieved on the account of the following:
-Increase of the store of energy for submerged propulsion;
-Economical consumption of the storage battery energy for the submarine propulsion and ship’s needs.
The first direction included the improvement of storage batteries (SB) (increase of their specific energy) and increase of the number of SB groups. The approach related to increasing the number of SB groups led to a dead-end as it resulted in increase of submarine displacement and cost and deterioration of her other tactical and technical elements. The second direction included the development of ship’s equipment with a lower power consumption level and its rational use (e.g., galley equipment consuming a lot of power for cooking the food was used, mainly, when the submarine was running under diesel engines). The possibilities of creating equipment with a low level of power consumption were rather scarce as it was restrained by a general level of the electric industry development at that time. High efficiency propellers were used in the designs of diesel-electric submarines (SS) and the propulsion plant included main propulsion motors and economic speed motors that provided high and low submarine speed respectively.
The listed measures allowed obtaining a very limited effect only and, therefore, Russian designers were looking very actively for schemes of propulsion plants (PP) that were able to ensure the sufficient store of energy for the submarine long-term continuous submerged run. The second task that was set forth to the designers of submarine propulsion plants was to obtain large power allowing the submarine to have high submerged speed required for launching the attack at enemy ships and for darting off the pursuit after the attack.
The SB improvement could not ensure the required effect. Even replacement of lead-acid batteries with silver-zinc cells that possessed both higher energy indicators and much higher cost did not solve the problems. Thus, submarine designers were forced to turn their attention to the development of a propulsion plant for the submerged propulsion with heat engines.
The creation of PP with heat engines for the submarine submerged run has a long history in many countries related with sea.
In Russia (USSR) these works were started before WWII by the search for variants of the diesel operation in closed cycle when the submarine was running in submerged condition. In the post-war period propulsion plants were made after likeliness to a steam-gas-turbine plant of German engineer Walter. The operation of this plant was based on an open cycle using the high-test hydrogen peroxide as an oxidant. Since the second half of the previous century works on creation of so called fuel cells had been continuously in progress. The fuel cells generate the electric power based on the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen.
A distinctive crown of the above activities was appearance in the Soviet Navy of submarines of Projects 615 and A615 (Quebec, 30 units), Project 617 (Whale, 1 unit) and Project 613E(Beluga, 1 unit). The appearance of these objects made the shore infrastructure of naval bases much more complicated (high-test hydrogen peroxide, cryogenic oxygen and hydrogen). At the same time, it’s worth noting that the level of the machine building in general (pressure-tight valves and fittings, thermal insulating materials) and monitoring systems did not fully correspond to the specifics of these plants and that is why their reliability was not very high.
Submarines with such propulsion plants played their role as they indirectly, and in a very short time, provided for the preparation of scientific and production facilities of the country for the creation of the first nuclear-powered submarine. And this, essentially, put the end to works on other types of propulsion plants.
A special role was played by a submarine of Project 617 on which very high (for that time) submerged speed was achieved. It allowed the designers to get better understanding in the field of seagoing abilities and steerability of high-speed submarines. All these things were very important for the development of nuclear-powered submarines (SSN).
Searching for a propulsion plant that was able to meet the full extent of the Navy’s requirements for submerged endurance and submerged speed resulted in an idea of utilizing nuclear power. Profound works carried out in the USSR in the fifties ensured the creation of first nuclear propulsion plants (NPP) and SSN. Tactical and technical capabilities obtained by submarines with NPP allowed the Soviet Navy to solve more efficiently the missions on ocean lanes and optimize the composition of Submarine Forces.
One of the characteristic features of the naval Submarine Force development during the after-war period was reconsideration of attitude to submarine weapons. The artillery armament traditionally fitted on submarines in addition to the torpedo and mine weapon had lost its topicality when submarines were converted into submerged cruise ships.
Almost simultaneously with rejection of the artillery armament a search for the possibility to use a new type of weapons- missiles and rockets-onboard submarines had been started. These types of weapons were able to provide a qualitatively new level of submarine efficiency due to sharp increase of the target hitting range.
Project P-2, executed in 1949, became a prelude of some kind to the creation of strategic submarines. Nevertheless, the novelty of this subject and imperfections of missile weapons of that time did not allow designing truly combatant submarines.
One of the problems the designers faced was the problem of selecting the missile weapon type for submarines. The development of cruise and ballistic missiles progressed in equally dynamic ways at that time. However, solving the technical problems of the cruise missile layout onboard the submarine seemed to be easier. As a result, the development of submarines with cruise missiles progressed faster than of submarines with ballistic missiles.
The development of first special designs of submarines with cruise missiles intended for firing at shore area targets was started at the beginning of the fifties, but the first implemented projects of Soviet submarines with cruise missiles were submarines that underwent refitting based on projects P-611 and P-613 (Whiskey One Cylinder). These submarines were intended for testing of cruise missiles P-10 and P-5.
Based on the results of the carried out tests the preference was given to missile P-5, wings of which automatically opened after the missile left the container. Conversion of diesel-electric submarines of Project 613 into carriers of these missiles began. The submarine converting design got the number 644 (Whiskey Twin Cylinder).
Submarines of Project 644 represented only one of the possible variants of a submarine armed with cruise missiles. They had an evident drawback-they managed to locate onboard the submarine only two missiles. For considerable improvement of the military and economic efficiency it was required to increase considerably the number of missiles. This problem was to be the major one during development of all subsequent Russian submarines with cruise and ballistic missiles. Its solution was related to the search of an optimum submarine architecture and structural layout schemes of missile silos and containers.
The initial stages of the submarine design development ensuring the possibility of firing at shore targets passed under uncertainty conditions: what missiles (cruise or ballistic) should be preferred. It was the reason of parallel works on the development of missile submarine designs. In particular, development of diesel-electric submarines for Project 644 (1956) and Project V-611 (1954)-submarine-carrier of ballistic missiles R-11FM- were carried out practically simultaneously.
While creating first submarines with ballistic missiles the designers had to solve a large number of new technical problems. They included: layout of missiles with a relatively large diameter and length in the submarine hull; missile launching from an oscillating and moving platform; keeping the depth under the action of a powerful launching pulse; ensuring that missile weapon is continuously ready for launching; minimizing the pre-launch preparation time. In order to avoid discrediting the idea of submarine arming with ballistic missiles in case of failure, it was decided to master the surface missile launch first. On the l 61 h of September 1955 for the first time in the world a ballistic missile was launched from submarine B-67 (Project V-611 ).
To gain the experience of a submarine operation with ballistic missiles and training the personnel for service on ships of new projects, it was decided to re-equip five more diesel-electric submarines based on the improved design A V-611 (Zulu V). These works were completed in 1957 – 1958, and as a result, the Soviet Navy became the first navy in the world having in its strength submarines with ballistic missiles.
Subsequently, the events developed in even faster pace-in 1957 a launch of a full-scale missile mock-up with a solid-propellant engine was carried out from a submarine in submerged condition; and in 1958 a missile mock-up with liquid propellant engine was launched. In September 1960 a ballistic missile was successfully launched from a running submarine from the depth of 30 m.
Creation of the first diesel-electric submarine with ballistic missiles (SSB) had shown that the task of striking missile attacks at objects located deep in the enemy’s territory is quite possible. As compared to cruise missiles intended for hitting shore fixed objects, ballistic missiles had a considerable advantage-it was practically impossible to intercept them using air defense aids available at that time. This important quality of ballistic missiles made them the main strategic weapon, the weapon of inevitable head-on attack or counter strike. Submarines carrying this weapon first became the full member of the strategic nuclear triad (together with the strategic aviation and land-based strategic missile forces) and after that, in essence, the major element of the triad.
At the end of the fifties the Soviet Navy was no more satisfied with either technical and tactical capabilities of Project A V-611, or the number of these submarines. This problem could be solved only by creation of new designs of ballistic missile submarines (SSB). A new project of DES with ballistic missiles became Project 629 (SSB GOLF) and its nuclear analogue-Project 658 (SSBN HOTEL). Appearance of submarines of Project 658 signified a new revolutionary stage in the development of the national submarine design school. With appearance of Project 658 the development of new designs of SSB was stopped.
I was lucky to be one of the major participants in the development of the design of the first national nuclear submarine armed with ballistic missiles, Project 658. I clearly remember this complex but extremely interesting period of work. Being a Deputy Chief Designer, during the initial design stages, I actually kept in hands the entire ship using for this purpose a cross-section profile paper made with my own hands. Both the submarine hull and her major equipment were drawn on this cross-section paper. It was this cross-section paper where the main issues related to the ship configuration were solved.
According to contemporary notions, a submarine of Project 658 was a relatively weak ship on which only three ballistic missiles were located with a rather short range. But we should keep in mind that this project was a pioneer project for us and a lot of things, if not all the things, were made for the first time. Project 658M was similarly innovating for us. On this project we implemented on practice the ballistic missile launching from a submerged nuclear submarine. Gaining certain experience during the development of Projects 658 and 658M, further we bravely solved more complicated tasks on missile-carrying submarines of subsequent projects (667A- YANKEE 1, 667AM- YANKEE 11, 667B- DELTA, 667BD-DELTA 1/, 667BDR- DELTA 111, 667BDRM- DELTA JV).
Getting ahead in my story, I’d like to say a couple of words about Project 667 A that became the basis for a whole family of strategic submarines. This project implemented a number of new technical solutions that allowed multiple increases of the ship’s combat power (16 ballistic missiles instead of 3), reliability (in the first place, the reliability of a steam generating plant), survivability (due to echelonment) as well as other combat and operating parameters. Considerable changes took place in radio electronic armament of the submarine (navigation complex, sonar systems, radio communication). The control system of ship’s technical facilities was also changed: the level of the control automatisation considerably increased. All the changes resulted in the growth of displacement and principal dimensions of the ship that seemed to be very large for us at that time.
Nowadays, looking back, one can say that we managed to find an optimum in Project 667A: ships underwent the modification, were refitted into submarines of different purposes (including into a cruise-missile submarines-Projects 667M, YANKEE SSGN, submarines with increased torpedo-missile weapons- Project 667AT YANKEE NOTCH), but the reserve for modifications was sufficient for more than 20 years and the submarine displacement was not excessive. Moreover, the right bases laid into Project 677 A allowed in future to develop this direction very fast creating designs of missile-carrying ships of this family. The last projects that inherited an essential number of technical solutions of ANNUSHKA (a tender woman’s name-so lovingly in the Navy they called submarines of Project 667A), were missile-carrying submarines of Projects 677BDR and 667BDRM that are on the combat duty up to now.
Simultaneously with SSBN of Project 658, submarines of Project 659 (ECHO I) with cruise missiles were developed. Contrary to the US Navy where the appearance of the first sea-based ballistic missiles was accompanied by a full rejection of the cruise missile development, the Soviet Navy changed the orientation in the cruise missile development: this type of missile got a new purpose- hitting sea moving targets (enemy’s ships and vessels). Architectural and design solutions that became firmly established during creation of a cruise-missile submarine after completion of Project 659 development, were widely used subsequently on SSGN of Project 675 (ECHO II) with cruise missiles of complex P-6 and its modifications. The same solutions were used during creation of a cruise-missile SSG (Project 651 JUL/£17) as well.
A new task of hitting missile strikes at surface ships was ensured by using cruise missiles P-6. It was reasonable to fire at hard-to-kill targets (e.g., strike aircraft carriers) from distances exceeding the operating radius of antisubmarine and air defense of these ships. Solution of a complicated task of hitting missile strikes at a manoeuvring target from a large distance required not only obtaining external data for the missile launch but also for the missile flight control and guidance using a radar sight at the target beyond the visual contact with the cruise-missile carrier. If several targets were detected the possibility was provided of their selective kill using the transmission of the target radar images in the direction from missile to submarine and control commands in the direction from submarine to missiles.
Thus, the combat task became more complicated. As a consequence of this the submarine herself became more sophisticated. Additional components were included into the set of radio electronic submarine aids including ship’s equipment of target indication system Argument.
The creation of submarines of Projects 651 and 675 was a next stage in mastering techniques that were new for the submarine shipbuilding. In particular, in the process of design a lot of attention was paid to the problem of decreasing the primary and secondary acoustic fields of the ship. So, for example, the outer hull of these submarines for the first time was covered with a non-resonance anti-sonar coating and low-noise propellers in shrouds were included into their propulsion systems that allowed increasing considerably sub cavitation speeds of submarines. New structural materials, in particular, low magnetic steel, were actively used.
SSBN and SSGN of Projects 658, 659, 675 (so-called submarines of the l” generation) played, in essence, a role of the first step in formation of the Soviet ocean-going submarine fleet. Submarines possessing long endurance provided fulfilment of combat missions practically in any point of the World Ocean. Technical solutions implemented in these projects allowed considerable improvement of the submarine crew habitability conditions.
Non-nuclear submarines were not forgotten as well. New oceangoing submarines of Project 641 (Foxtrot) and new SS of medium displacement of Project 633 (ROMEO) replaced successful SS of Projects 611 and 613. Generally speaking, SS acted as an efficient supplement to torpedo nuclear submarines (SSN) that could solve anti-ship tasks practically in all areas of the Ocean. Later submarines of Project 641 passed on the baton to new SS of Project 641B (TANGO).
The major efforts in the development of Project 6418 were directed towards further improvement of the ship’s qualities in submerged condition: improvement of acoustic stealthiness (in particular due to application of hull coatings), and use of new sonar systems. More efficient weapons and radio technical aids were used, hull lines were improved as well as the crew habitability and operating conditions, the storage battery capacity was increased.
The development of nuclear multipurpose submarines is a separate didactic story. At the beginning of this narration, I’d like to mention that lately at various, including academic, levels they discuss the issue that a notion of rationalism has to be given a scientific status. Being guided by my large practical experience of creating the most complex engineering systems, including submarines, I am deeply convinced that notwithstanding any statuses the notion RATIONALISM as a method, technology, tool, in combination with a logic comprehension and substantiation of principal solutions, is the most proper thing for planned realizations especially under conditions of strict financial programs. The latter condition in the second half of the last century during anns race, in essence, was absent and this fact, among many others, explained a number of NON RATIONAL decisions during creation of SSN.
The first nuclear torpedo submarine-Project 627 A (NOVEMBER)-by her creation determined and ensured a great breakthrough in underwater technologies and, practically, was the foremother of the rest of nuclear submarine projects and, in the first place, of the entire series of SSN of Project 627 A (the 1’1 generation).
At the same time the decision was taken to develop a nuclear submarine of Project 645 with a nuclear propulsion plant based on a heat-transfer metal not being under pressure. It was both logical and rational as they looked for a nuclear plant that could be an alternative to plants with water coolant under high pressure. It was a natural process as at initial stages of creation of plants with water under pressure, many of units and systems had a low reliability.
While creating designs of multipurpose submarines of the 2nd generation, a clear picture is not so evident.
Project 661 (PAP A). The development of this nuclear submarine with cruise missiles of complex AMETISTS (first cruise missiles with submerged launch) was carried out at the end of the fifties-beginning of the sixties. The main aim of this project was to master application of titanium alloy for a submarine hull and obtaining an extra-high speed nuclear submarine (about 40 knots). Besides, all new equipment had to be qualified at this project (main propulsion plant, ship’s machinery, radio electronic equipment etc.).
By her manoeuvring qualities the SSGN of Project 661 at that time had no analogues either in the national or in foreign submarine shipbuilding and played an important role in the fate of the submarine shipbuilding Project 671 (VICTORI). Works on this project were started in 1958. The project was a considerable step for-ward as compared to the series of SSN a of Project. 627 A being under construction: a single-shaft submarine with increased hull diameter, graceful lines, powerful torpedo weapons and sonar. Nevertheless, the design was carried out without attempts to step over the verge of rationality. It was clearly revealed in Project 705 (ALFA) that was developed a little later (I’ll tell about Project 705 further).
A responsible, weighted approach to the creation of Project 671 bore its fruits- these SSN built in a series of 15 units showed them perfectly well in operation. In terms of ship’s systems and equipment the level of unification was very high for SSN of Project 671 and strategic SSBN of Project 667 A. SSN of Project 671RT (VICTOR II, 3 units) and 671RTM (VICTOR III, 26 units) followed Project 671 submarines. All these submarines had kept their watch at sea for many years. It should be noted that many features characteristic for Project 671 and modifications were later on displayed in the next design of SSN- Project 971 (AKULA) of the 3rd generation.
It was quite possible to create SSGN with tactical cruise missiles based on Project 671, but the wish of the Gorky
Industrial Group (CDB-112 and Krasn oe Sormovo Shipyard) to create an SSN with their own forces, as well as a concurrent wish of a very high ranking and highly respected Moscow leader to run for the Supreme Council of the USSR from the Gorky region resulted in the decision to create SSGN of Project 670 (CHARLEY I) in the city of Gorky. This decision was implemented 1 though with difficulty. Having a good basic Project 671, this decision, for many reasons, was both illogical and irrational.
By the way, the similar situation was observed in respect to SSNs of the 3rd generation as well, but without political underlying reasons. During construction of SSNs of the 2″d generation an idea appeared (I don’ t know exactly whose idea it was) to create a principally new extra-automated nuclear submarine with a minimum complement. High requirements for the speed defined the necessity of her development with a minimum possible displacement and it determined the utilization of a steam-generation plant (nuclear reactor) with a heat-transfer metal of the 1st contour. The best scientific, design and production forces were involved in the creation of this SSN that got the number Project 705. The works were under control of the highest authorities and financing was massive.
Here I express my purely personal feelings and opinion that was formed back at the time of Project 705 submarine development. The appearance of such a submarine was not adequately prepared both by the existing level of science and technology and by the entire infrastructure of shore support. Telemetry, robotics, information science and control system integration were not sufficiently developed in this period. There were a lot of concerns that the issues of sound insulation of a very high-capacity propulsion plant could not be efficiently resolved within the volumes of spaces where it was located.
In my mind I somehow got such a primitive and rough analogy. As if someone tried to put on a tail-coat on a man of the Stone Age. They managed to do so with difficulty- and around him were the walls of the cave, fire, hunting.
It is clear that a tail-coat did not last for a long time under such conditions-approximately a similar thing happened to SSN of Project 705. The first-of-the-class SSN of Project 705 was in experimental operation and covered 3,500 miles only. Other submarines of Project 705 were in operation for 9 to I 2 years. In respect to Project 705K submarines (with water-cooled and water-moderated SGP) the situation was a little better. The submarines were in service for 14 years in average performing 6 to 7 patrols. Undoubtedly, Project 705 submarines, in terms of technology, pushed forward the automatics but this push was extremely expensive. There was too little rationalism and logics in the decision on creation Project 705, but what could we do, it was such a time …
Sometimes I think that if alt the funds spent on Project 705 program were addressed to the shore infrastructure of naval bases and construction of cantonments with an adequate level of living for our heroic submariners and their families, we would not have, at the background of KURSK tragedy, such scandalous pictures of the way of life in the Vidyaevo settlement.
Actually, we approached the optimum structure of the naval Submarine Forces only by the 4th generation of submarines when only three projects were reatized-SSBN with strategic weapons, multipurpose SSN and diesel-electric submarine (SS).
Now I come back to the chronology of the Russian submarine shipbuilding evolution and to the next stage-the 3’d generation submarines.
Project 971 (Akula). As compared to SSN of Project 945 (Sierra) with titanium alloy hulls that had been constructed at Krasnoe Sormovo Shipyard since the beginning of the eighties, submarines of Project 971 had steel hulls and it reduced drastically the submarine cost and allowed the construction of a series of submarines with involvement of several yards of the industry, to ensure the reduction of SSN noise level and interference level to the sonar system operation (due to introduction of a number of design measures) as well as using of the major completing equipment already developed for other SSN of the 3rd generation. These design solutions predetennined the fate of Project 971 submarines that were accepted for a serial construction and were built at two yards (the yard Leninskiy Komsomol in Komsomolsk-on-Amur and yard Sevmashpredpriyatie in Severodvinsk). During trials of the first-in-the-class submarine of Project 971 high tactical and technical capabilities of this ship were validated. Then started serial construction of Project 971 submarines, which duplicated the tasks assigned to SSN of Projects 945 and 945A (Sierra), resulted in the only correct decision: construction of SSN of Project 945A at Krasnoe Sormovo Yard (city of Gorky) was stopped and the fabricated sections of these submarines were scrapped. A total of only four ships of Projects 945 and 945A joined the Navy.
Submarines of Project 941 (TYPHOON} with ballistic missiles of complex D-19 became a certain crown of the design conception of the shipbuilders aspiring to create a strong ship with drastically increased survivability that could ensure the parity with strategic missile-carriers of system TRIDENT of the US Navy. They managed to do so-each heavy missile strategic submarine cruiser of Project 941 carried 200 re-entry vehicles, and her missiles allowed her to hit any target located in the northern hemisphere, even when missiles were launched, so to say, from a jetty position (dock or pier in a Naval Submarine Base). The peculiarity of the geographical position of the USSR and weight and dimension characteristics of those missiles could not help influencing the very special architecture of these underwater giants.
Nuclear submarine cruisers (SSGN) of Projects 949 (OSCAR I) and 949A (OSCAR II) belonged to a subclass of ships designed for fighting a strong sea enemy. These submarines carrying 24 cruise missiles created a real threat to large surface action forces and, in the first place, to aircraft carrier forces. Submarines of these projects performed a hard duty of defending our marine boundaries, went to long cruises, covertly penetrated into the Mediterranean Sea.
I have a profound respect for submariners who served and continue to serve on Project 949A submarines: it is not so easy to fulfil the mission assigned to these submarines taking into account the opposing forces. Speaking about Project 949A submarines it is impossible to pass over the catastrophe with SSGN KURSK in silence. This tragedy shook sailors, shipbuilders and the entire 1— world community. In order to carry out very thorough investigation of the catastrophe causes, it was required to perform a unique operation of KURSK salvage from the Barents Sea bottom. The profound study of all the materials including those obtained after the ship lifting and her examination in dock PD-50 allowed finding the truth- nuclear submarine cruiser KURSK was lost in the result of explosion of a practice torpedo and catastrophic events entailing that explosion. The materials of the catastrophe investigation showed that the crew members who remained alive after the explosion till their last minutes preserved their courage and fought both for the ship’s survival and their own rescue.
The loss of a submarine of Project 685 (MIKE), more widely known under the name KOMSOMOLETS, still causes pain in the hearts of people, The same way as the loss of KURSK, this catastrophe that occurred in April 1989 and took away the lives of 42 sailors, was very thoroughly analyzed both by the sailors and scientists.
Contrary to the Project 705 (Alfa) submarines, creation of SSN of Project 685 (Mike) similarly to SSGN of Project 661 (Papa) was not aimed at obtaining an absolutely new ship in all her components. In particular, in Project 685 the main task was to increase sharply the diving depth. The task mainly involved the pressure hull. A new quality of this SSN- to sail in the ocean below the thermal (sound) layer-resulted in the impossibility of her detection using existing sonar facilities. In the rest part the technical outfitting of this submarine was at the level of an SSN of the 21’4 generation and therefore she was easily adapted to the shore infrastructure and successfully fulfilled her duty for 4 years.
According to the results of the submarine loss that, unfortunately, due to a number of reasons, was not possible to lift, conclusions were made based on the analysis of available materials, performed calculations and experimental works. These conclusions became the foundation of a program that was aimed to increase the survivability of sailing and designed submarines. In many respects we managed to implement this program.
These two examples from the after-war history- SSGN KURSK and SSN KOMSOMOLETS, unfortunately prove the fact that the profession of a submariner still bears certain risk. All the people involved- both sailors and shipbuilders- have to understand this. The shipbuilder’s task is to minimize the risk by design solutions laid into the design. But, most probably, such a risk will still be present in the future. A submarine is a complex man-machine system. Reliable technical solutions and fast and confident actions of the entire crew trained up to automatism are equally important.
Submarines of Project 877 (KILO) continued the line of national torpedo diesel-electric submarines. I’d like to talk in a little more details about submarines of this project. In the process of the project development the state-of-the-art design and construction technologies, the most perfect equipment, weapons and radio electronic aids were used. Similar to their predecessors, the ships of these new project were created with account of the possibility of their operation in any climatic zones- from the Arctic to the equator.
While creating Project 877 a special attention was paid to the underwater qualities of the boat. For this purpose the hull shape was optimized (ratio of principal dimensions, axially symmetric smooth lines, improved shape of the mast fairwater), a single-shaft propulsion plant was applied, the number of openings in the outer hull was optimized. The listed measures allowed not only growing the full submerged speed but increasing the submerged cruising range as well, reducing hydrodynamic noise generated during the ship motion. The perfect lines of the forward end allowed improving the operating conditions of the forward sonar array.
The design measures on increasing the level of the submarine acoustic stealthiness as per the primary and secondary fields included the application of improved sonar coating on the hull, use of the latest methods of fighting the noise level of machinery and ways of its propagation, use of a low-noise propulsors and a number of other measures.
The electric propulsion scheme was used on Project 877 for the first time in the USSR. Use of diesel-generators allowed providing a flexibility of electric power systems of the submarine, optimizing propulsion modes under snorkel and during SB charging. The ability of the submarine propulsion plant to change speed was improved (the time of picking up the speed on the shaft was reduced).
The control of the submarine combat system and technical facilities was arranged at a new level. The submarine designers managed to find an optimum combination of automated and manual operations performed by the crew during the cruise, and it provided the possibility to reduce the complement considerably without compromising other qualities of the ship. The reduction of the personnel number, in its turn, allowed creating more comfortable conditions for operation and rest for submariners during an endurance cruise.
Practically all the radio electronic equipment of Project 877 submarines was developed on a new elementary base, that allowed change to its characteristics qualitatively and to minimize the volume occupied by the equipment. A low level of the own ship’s interference to the sonar complex operation and high sensitivity of sonar array made possible a search of the most silent targets.
A successful combination of tactical and technical parameters of the ship makes it efficient both in the ocean (very far from her base) and in a restricted water areas (in fjords, near reefs). As for the spectrum of the performed missions, Project 877 submarines are practically universal. They are able to solve both anti-submarine tasks and anti-surface ship tasks.
Solution of the listed design tasks demanded from the designers a lot of effort and the ship designing was not so easy. The design development required involvement of a large number of industrial enterprises and scientific organization and very punctual coordination of their activities.
The recognition of high qualities of Project 877 submarines and their modifications is proven by the fact of their purchase by the navies of many countries in the world. In 2005 the number of constructed submarines of Project 877 reached 55 units. 25 of them are successfully operating abroad.
Thoughts About Future
I am used to thinking that the future, for sure, has to be better than the time when we live. Probably, this optimism is determined by the fact that every day we perform dozens of acts the after-affects of which we can feel practically next day. Making decisions today, fulfilling a work planned for a day we always estimate what the results of these decisions and work will be. We always tend that our acts make our future better.
For a submarine designer orientation for future is quite natural: submarines have to be in service with the Navy for many years and successful or non-successful operation of submarines depends not only on technical solutions implemented in their designs but also on the Navy’s ability to solve the task assigned to it. The submarine designer is obliged to look into the future, to weigh on the scales of his own experience and knowledge, all the factors on which the submarine appearance, structure and equipment will depend.
Many times I had to express my views on what future submarines should look like, but every time I had to make corrections in the appearance of possible submarines of the future. And it is quite clear- the science and technique do not rest in peace, quite to the contrary, their development picks up speed. The political situation changes both in the world and in the country, the economic conditions keep changing, technology develops. Submarines being a product of their own time, as a rule, reflect all the above listed factors.
Forecasts say that in the nearest future the general character of international relations will remain practically the same- the polarity will be and must be preserved in the world where one of the poles obligatory has to be Russia. It means that Russia still needs powerful armed forces. It is required because of one more consideration: Russia possesses huge resources in the bowels of the earth and water, and that will be a constant factor of longing for foreign forces. The role of the Navy within the armed forces of the country will remain invariably important. It goes without saying that the quantitative composition and structure of the Russian Navy will be considerably different from that of the Soviet Navy of the Cold War period, and it is defined by the Military Doctrine of Russia and missions assigned to the Navy. It is necessary to note, that the importance of Submarine Forces within the Navy will inevitably grow.
These particular new conditions put many questions to the Navy and Industry. It is difficult to choose quick and correct answers to all the questions but I think that it is advisable to outline some part of the tasks that already have revealed.
Special features of the submarine creation process today
1. The principle of reasonable sufficiency accepted at the present time (for our country having 4-5 sea regions, of course, the sufficiency shall be determined with account of this factor) determines the minimization of the quantitative composition of the naval Submarine Forces. At the same time the reduction of the number of submarines within the Navy requires that combat abilities of new submarines, without doubts, should exceed those of earlier designed and built ships. Actually a well-known principle applies: Better less but better.
It is not a must that the improvement of tactical and technical capabilities of future submarines shall be expressed in such a way that all their parameters will be higher as compared to previous ships. A number of technical parameters of modem submarines already correspond to the limit that is sufficiently efficient. Such parameters include, for example, a full submerged speed and endurance. Moreover, some of the submarine parameters can be even lower in respect to submarines of previous generations. At the same time a number of parameters of new ships, for sure, should be different by times as compared to the predecessor ships. In the first place, such parameters are those that are the determining ones from the point of view of combat efficiency, namely, within the context of solving main tasks assigned to the Navy.
As applied to future submarines, the prioritized direction in the increase of their combat efficiency will be, as previously, characteristics of their weapons and stealthiness. We already managed to achieve certain success in this direction, but a lot is still to be done. For example, in the area of acoustic stealthiness the last submarines of the 3n1 generation practically matched similar submarines of the US Navy built at the same time. But for submarines of the XXI century, especially taking into account massive and intensive activities in this field, these achievements cannot be considered satisfactory any more. In the first place, for new projects of submarines even lower noise level at low speed have to be achieved. Second, taking into account the appearance in arsenals of foreign navies of new means of the submarine search with active sonar facilities, works on reduction of the acoustic visibility of a submarine and on outfitting submarines with more perfect sonar complexes have to be continued. Third, the submarine’s ability to remain steal thy ( especially by mu !ti-purpose submarines or SSN) has to be widened and cover not only a slow speed mode but modes of higher speeds as well both during transient modes and manoeuvring. Activities directed toward increase of the submarine stealthiness are not exhausted with this list. Though the submarine acoustic field will remain the most informative even in the future, it is not the only one source of information. Therefore we have to continue works on reducing parameters and other physical fields of ships.
Speaking about the increase of the submarine stealthiness, it is not possible to leave aside the necessity of further improvements of the external situation observation means. Even today a modern submarine in many respects recollects acoustic telescope-she should be able to carry out search for solely low noise targets in the ocean. Operation with weak acoustic signals, a large scope of information derived from the water medium, difficulty of discrimination of useful signal at the interference background- all these things require not only powerful computing resources but application of complicated mathematical algorithms and software as well. Creation of such sonar complexes that are able to solve tasks under hard hydrological conditions and in the real time scale is a very complicated process, but Russian companies already achieved appreciable success in this direction. The fleet orientation, under the present conditions, to solution of strategic tasks (deterrence of probably enemy) and tactical tasks mainly in a close-range sea zone, influences the technical appearance of future submarines in certain respect as well. The formation of the balanced ship composition of the general purpose Submarine Forces should be carried out taking into account the necessity and possibility of the mutually supplementing use of multipurpose SSN and non-nuclear submarines. At the same time, it should be noted that a resemblance between a new non-nuclear submarine and diesel-electric submarines that we all are used to will be very distant. A non-nuclear submarine of a new generation, which will be in operation in the first half of the XXI century, will be a new ship in terms of the quality, with a considerably higher combat abilities and with comparatively low cost. In the first place, new non-nuclear submarines have to possess the ability to remain submerged practically during the entire endurance cruise. This quality as well as acoustic stealthiness inherent to non-nuclear submarines will allow them to solve successfully their tasks in the coastal areas (and at present this task becomes more and more important) and at the same time to sail under the ice cover, if required. In order to ensure this new quality of non-nuclear submarines designers put a lot of effort into studies of various options of propulsion plants for these ships. We hope that the Customer will provide more active support to these studies initiated by the Industry.
2. The principle described in the previous paragraph and which can be re-formulated as a principle of refuse from quantitative and qualitative redundancy receives a logic continuation in the principle of a reasonable cost of a submarine. Prospective submarines have to be created not only with account for the minimization of the cost of completing items and materials, minimization of cost of the construction yard own works, but with account of minimization of a submarine life cycle cost. This task can be with confidence related to a category of arch·complicated, as achievement of high tactical and technical characteristics of submarines growth of their scientific intensity inevitably will turn up the cost curve. The reduction of the number of constructed submarines, i.e. drop of a number of submarines to be constructed as a series, will create additional difficulties. Solving the problem of reducing the cost of a submarine design, construction and operation lies, mainly, in the plane of application of highly efficient technologies. Design measures also may have certain effect (e.g., measures directed towards reduction of the ship displacement, such as selection of small-size equipment and devices, reasonable completing the submarine with equipment, rational layout of submarine compartments).
Of course, it is necessary (but we can only dream about it) to liquidate monopoly in the design and production of all completing equipment for submarines that can restrain the irrepressible growth of the equipment cost.3. What can be actually said about the influence of technology and work arrangement of the submarine construction cost? It is well known that the submarine construction cost, to a considerable degree, is determined by the duration of the submarine stay on slipways. The decrease of the slipways period is able to reduce in reality the construction costs of the yard. It can be achieved by application of the modular construction principles that were used in the process of construction of a number of 3rd generation submarines. In this case a lot of construction activities are carried out in parallel, the labour content is reduced and the quality of installation works is increased as these activities are transferred from the crowded space of a submarine hull into a shop where the most favorable conditions for aggregate assembly can be provided. Moreover, application of a block approach to the submarine construction creates necessary prerequisites for paralleling of tests and trials as well. It is known that the duration of trials has a lot of influence on the duration of the submarine stay at the construction yard.
An approximately similar effect can be achieved due to rejection of hydraulic pressure tests of the submarine pressure hull, but deletion of this checking operation is possible only when a high production efficiency is available at the construction yard that allows to guarantee the quality of important hull works.
Use of a block-module method in the submarine construction is inseparably linked with a high working efficiency of the design bureau and the construction yard and with the discipline of equipment supplies of the entire cooperation. The modular-aggregate method of submarine construction requires strict observation of scheduled terms of equipment supply from manufacturers to the construction yard, and it means very strict control over execution of experimental design works by the design bureau and control over serial supplies by the construction yard.
Of course, speaking about cost and technology of the submarine construction we cannot leave aside the necessity to improve the production facilities of the submarine construction yards. During the golden age of the national submarine construction the growth of production facilities was very dynamic- the machine tool fleet was improved, both individual technological complexes and entire production lines were incorporated into production.
Nowadays the shipbuilding technologies (especially in part of hull and pipe production) made a large step forward, but … unfortunately, not on Russian yards that build submarines. Of course, in order to transfer the shipbuilding onto a higher level of quality, the financing is required. And we should say, a lot of financing. The construction yards that barely started stand up after the production collapse of the nineties, do not have funds for the production facility development. One shall not count on bank loans under the present conditions because there won’t be money to pay back the loan. A conclusion inevitably comes to mind: the state-owned companies that work in the submarine shipbuilding sphere need a real state support.
Using words high design efficiency and technological discipline I consider them not as abstract terms but as absolutely specific notions that have a lot of influence on the duration and cost of the submarine construction. Mistakes in design documents of the design bureau (unfortunately, there are some) result in the necessity to correct these mistakes at the construction yard. Of course, it means a loss of time, labour and certain materials losses. Taking into account complicacy of a modem submarine (a large nomenclature of equipment and devices, complex connections that connect equipment into systems and other factors) it is impossible to exclude completely appearance of mistakes using traditional design technology. A possible way out of such a situation is a transition to 30 modelling systems and computerized control system of engineering data (PDMsystems). The listed systems are already in use during execution of individual design works. The next in turn- transition to a full-scale industrial use of these systems.
Modem information technologies are able to provide realistic acceleration of the submarine construction process. For example, a communication channel that was arranged between COB ME Rubin (Saint-Petersburg) and PA SEVMASH (Severodvinsk) in reality demonstrated its efficiency. The process of information integration, and the submarine designers and builders were the first to join this process, inevitably will continue catching other enterprises participating in the ship construction. The next in tum- strong engineering companies developing equipment for submarine propulsion plants as well as scientific and production associations creating radio electronic aids.
Of course, the submarine design and construction efficiency is not limited by the ability to use actively state-of-the-art information technologies. In the first turn it is necessary to talk about the professional skills and responsibility of those who take part in the submarine creation, about their ability of a team work. And the latter quality shall show itself not only in relations between companies creating the ships but internally between employees of factories, institutes and design bureaus.
The efficiency of the submarine designers and builders has to be supplemented by a high level of the staff efficiency of the Customer. We need to talk about it because the real staff efficiency is replaced with bureaucratism. Papers, and in the process of the ship construction we give birth to a lot of them, do not assist in keeping the required order but serve to some other purpose that cannot be understood by a human mind. Approval of these papers, drawing up contracts, payments for executed works-all these things sometimes require as much time as was spent for the actual technical work.
4. The previous paragraphs once again confirmed the unbreakable link between the Industry and the Navy, the necessity of unity of opinion of sailors-submariners and shipbuilders on the way of the Russian Submarine Forces development. The system ofGOST (State Standards) and General Tactical and Technical Requirements (GTTR), developed by the Navy and agreed upon with the Industry, always acted as the bases for the unity of opinion of submariners and shipbuilders. Unfortunately, both GOST and GTTR are hopelessly obsolete. A number of other normative naval documents used by the designers indirectly also became out of date. Such normative documents include, in the first place, Manual on the Submarine Damage Control. A lot of technical innovations that make the damage control for the submarine crew easier and reduce the probability of heavy consequences in case of emergency are incorporated into the new submarines being under construction at yards in Saint-Petersburg and Severodvinsk. Nevertheless, these technical features of new submarines had not been reflected yet in the naval documents that determine the tactics of the damage control. By the opinion of designers, it is important in the nearest future to revise the normative base of the submarine design and construction to validate its correspondence to modem conditions and to reissue the basic documents.
S. The submarine damage control is just one of the examples of the fact that in the process of the future submarine design they have to be considered as an element of a complicated man-machine system. Within these systems both a man and a ship have to fulfill particularly those functions that are optimal for them. At the same time it has to be noted that continuous growth of the technique sophistication, use of very highly technological equipment results in the necessity to complete the submarines by professional crews only. Under professional we understand not a crew that was formed out of service men hired under a contract but a crew every member of which is a real professional, expert in his trade. If one wants such people to come to the Navy and serve in the Submarine Forces, one should create for them normal and even better than normal financial conditions and special conditions of life. This is not the task of the submarine designers but of the State, which these people will defend. Quite recently the designers, who knew perfectly well the conditions of the submariners’ service, tried to create onboard certain comfort that shore services were not able to provide. This practice was good for the Soviet times but nowadays such an approach cannot remove from the agenda the issue of attractiveness of service on submariners.
Let’s assume that the State will be able to solve this problem and submariners will actually become the elite of the Navy as, e.g., in the Navies of NATO countries. Does it mean that the designers of future submarines will not have new questions related to the presence of a man in a technogenic medium of a submarine? No, questions will always spring up and both changing technique and changing man will give rise to them.
The submarine saturation with a sophisticated equipment is growing and even today it is difficult to imagine that the crew is able to know the hardware they are responsible for very thoroughly, at the level of developers. After all, the personnel have to be able to operate their ships competently and to solve combat tasks using them. It is difficult to demand from the submariners the same depth of the hardware understanding as from those people who developed the equipment. The conclusion suggests itself: it is necessary to release the submarine crews from the equipment repair. And not only has the crew to be released from this work but naval repair yards as well. These works have to be performed by qualified specialists of Industrial enterprises within the framework of accompanying support during the entire life cycle of ships commissioned to the Navy.
It is time to resolve the issue of handing over to the Industry naval ship repair yards and technical support of the ship operation, as it was done recently in Great Britain. It improved the quality of all types of repair and increased the level of combat training of crews.
Taking into account the increasing shortage of multi-purpose submarines I think that it is very important to have a very clear program of a long-term support to keeping in the combat strength of the Navy SSN of Project 971 (Akula) and SSGN of Project 949A (Oscar II).
6. Talking about future submarine and submariners who will serve on them, it is necessary to keep in mind that both these boats and these people will not be absolutely the same as we know them today. Nowadays in the US Navy and in navies of some other countries women serve on submarines, and this fact is taken in account during the submarine design. People’s views on comfort are also changing. Today many people cannot imagine their life without such means of communication as Internet and it influences the fleet requirements to the habitability conditions on surface ships and submarines. In particular, the British standard for the surface ship and submarine habitability in line with usual requirements set forth a requirement that is formulated as follows: A dedicated computer access connection point shall be provided for each occupant in sleeping accommodation providing on-line information including, but not limited to, ship administration data, on-board training material, personal development and external news, etc.
7. An abstract from the British standard given in the previous paragraph is just an illustration of those new tasks that the designers of future national submarines may have. I deliberately avoid using a word generation when mentioning future submarines. As I understand it, the word generation has lost to certain extent its former meaning. When first nuclear submarines (Projects 627, 62 7 A, 645, 658, 659) were designed and built we did not meditate over the fact that later on they would be related to the first generation, that submarines of the second generation would follow them and then-third and fourth.
The notion generation was clear and logical when the massive construction of submarines was carried out. It united submarines of different types-nuclear submarines with ballistic missiles, nuclear submarines with tactical cruise missiles, nuclear submarines and diesel-electric submarines with torpedo and missile weapons. In spite of different purposes of the nuclear submarines of the listed sub classes, they were united by the unity of design approaches, design solutions, main used equipment and radio electronic complexes.
The submarine construction in large series and within a very short time (e.g., there were built 34 SSBN of Project 667 A (Yankee)) required minimization of differences between ships under construction. But it was such conveyor assembly of submarines on the slipways that to the largest degree met the conditions of the naval arms race. At the same time the minimization of differences in serial construction ships as well as a high degree of inter-project unification of nuclear submarines of different types allowed to operate submarines and carry out their repair with the minimum number of problems. Transition from a generation to a generation took place only when necessary prerequisites appeared for the achievement of a qualitative leap in tactical and technical parameters of ships, and it required decades of tenacious efforts of scientific centers and industrial enterprises.
In the present situation (reduction of the number of submarines in each subclass, construction of submarine series very protracted in time and dynamic development of element base for radio electronic equipment) maintaining the high level of unification of equipment and complexes of ships of one series does not provide any more the same effect that was achieved during the massive construction of submarines. On the contrary, striving for maintaining the same level of unification at any cost starts to hamper the introduction of more progressive solutions and technologies.
Even today, especially in the world practice, the pace of development of individual types of engineering (and in the first place of radio electronic equipment) is so high that approximately in 3 to 5 years a change of generations of this technique takes place. It mainly pertains to radio electronics and software. For example, changing of computer processors takes place practically every two years with doubling the computing abilities. With so fast engineering development we observe, figuratively speaking, an inflation or devaluation of old technical achievements: new systems and complexes demonstrate higher tactical and technical capabilities that drastically increase the efficiency of ships on which they are installed. At the same time the displacement and principal dimensions of the ship remain unchanged.
An approximately similar effect was obtained during creation of a diesel-electric submarine of Project 636: the submarine hull remained unchanged as compared to Project 877 submarine but the boat’s combat efficiency was considerably increased.
High paces of engineering development are reflected in economics. New technique washes out the old one not only because it is better but because it is impossible and economically unreasonable to keep the production facilities for the old equipment. The impossibility to get spare parts to an old TV set brings us to a shop for buying a new one. Similar processes are observed in the defense industry. We are forced to use the state-of-the-art samples of technique just because we are not able to find spare parts for the old equipment.
For sure, the rates of improvement of submarine equipment are not uniform. As I already said, radio electronics develops much faster. The rates of development of machine building and structural materials are considerably lower. It was noted that the larger was the submarine’s equipment the lower were the rates of its development. Taking this fact into account in the present conditions the submarine improvement can occur not in leaps (generations), as in the not so distant past, but in the process of construction of a submarine series. Apparently, it will be reasonable to create submarines in sub-series with transfer to the next sub-series every 5 to 7 years. This sub-series will be equipped with more sophisticated weapons and computers without changing the appearance and contents of the basic design of the ship. Such a technology, but expanded for a large time interval, reminds the creation of strategic missile submarines of the 2nd generation, when the way from SSBN of Project 667A (Yankee) to Project 667BDRM (Delta IV) was covered within 15 years.
Similar ideas already hover in air with foreign submarine designers. In the USA, for example, the construction of SSN’s of VIRGINIA type is planned to be carried out in small sub-series, with introduction of a certain number of new equipment and devices into each next constructed submarine. So, starting from the seventh hull of SSN of Virginia class, they will be equipped with a new propulsion plant based on electric propulsion principles with a powerful propulsion motor.
May be, a similar approach will be logical in application to our national nuclear submarines as well? At least an interval of 7 to JO years seems to be rather sufficient for a considerable modifying change of the project appearance.
The described approach puts new tasks in front of designers of future submarines. Design works on modifying changes of the next submarine have to be carried out fast, ensuring the required rates of the ship construction in series. It is technically possible with acceptance of a new design technique. I will repeat that the design should be carried out using modem computer technologies.
8. I talk a lot about the tasks of future submarine designers and builders. Nevertheless, it does not mean that the rest of co-operation participating in the submarine creation will stay aside from this process. Undoubtedly, geopolitical changes that caused some movements in views on a modem fleet, on Submarine Forces, effect the entire Industry and Science related to the future ship creation. All participants of the process should move forward as a united front.
The confrontation between the USSR and USA, the Warsaw Treaty and NA TO countries existing during the Cold War determined requirements to the Navy and, in particular, to the composition of ships. The corresponding industrial base was established in our country for the creation and maintaining in combat readiness of the strong Navy. The lessening of tension in international relations after the end of the Cold War resulted in a sharp reduction of the number of ships, and economical process in the country brought to sharp reduction of financing allocated for maintenance of the fleet readiness and for the development of new ships.
The existing industrial base, in certain case, happened to be excessive for the new Navy. Attempts to use the existing production facilities for production of civil goods were made by enterprises with different degrees of success and, practically, without any thought-out State policy in this respect. As a consequence of these painful economic processes, many enterprises that produced items for the submarine shipbuilding were re-directed to other spheres of activities and many of them had lost their production potential.
In addition to this, changing the form of ownership to these enterprises made its negative contribution into the abilities of the submarine shipbuilding. We do not fully feel and fully overcome consequences of all these factors. However, the backbone already exists for a new cooperation for creation of submarines. Today it is important to complete the process of regrouping forces oriented towards creation of modern ships. It is required that the Government takes careful and thoughtful approach to avoid damaging newly established links by its controlling actions.
Drawing the Line
Coming back to the anniversary of the Russian Submarine Forces. One hundred years …. It is much or little? Glancing back one can see that for these hundred years sailors and shipbuilders made a lot of things. There were glorious victories and bitter defeats and losses on this century-long way. But the road goes on. We already see what we have to do within the next few years. And the outlines of more distant prospects are also visible though less distinctly. We are realists and we understand that the Submarine Forces will be required by our country for long-long years. That’s why we strive to look into the future and we work for the future. I am sure, we will be able to solve the appearing questions and our submarines of the XXI century will add vivid pages into the history of the Russian fleet. Only those who keep walking can cope with the road, and our task is to show them the correct direction.
Soviet/Russian Submarine Classes
By Project Number with NATO Designations
|USN Ship Type