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Project 10831 / 01210 Losharik

The first Project 210 submarine was launched at the Severodvinsk shipyad in the Barents Sea in August 2003. According to the official newspaper of Sevmash shipyard "Korabel" the solemn ceremony of putting in the water the unique research and rescue submarine took place in the regime of top secrecy. The CinC of the Russian navy Vladimir Kuroedov participated in the ceremony. The main characteristics of Losharik remain known only to a very short list of specialists. However, the sub remained outdoors for three days, in spite of the fact that the US spy satellites monitor most of the shipyard's territory constantly. According to the Confidential Regime Deputy Director of Sevmash Nikolai Bogdanov this was due to technical reasons: it was impossible to put the sub straight in the water; time was needed to prepare for this operation.

The deep-sea vehicle AS-15, the repair of which will begin earlier than Losharik, according to open sources, is the second special submarine of the 1910 Sperm Whale project, launched in 1983. AS-15 in 2000 was involved in the search and rescue operations of the sunken submarine Kursk. Like the Losharik, the AS-15 is under the jurisdiction of the Main Directorate for Deep-Water Research of the Russian Ministry of Defense.

This submarine's spectrum of missions is very broad, although it has no weapons whatsoever on it. First of all, this is a saboteur boat, which can lay depth charges at inaccessible locations, conduct reconnaissance, and destroy communications cables.

"One of the missions of the Losharik submarine was to monitor the sea shelf, as well as to tap into or sever underwater telecommunication cables that transmit information about military ships' movements, as well as their intercommunications and information transfers. Yet, Losharik's main mission these days is extreme depth shelf exploration for potential further mineral extraction," military analyst Dmitry Safonov told Russia Beyond.

It is a top-secret project and few details are available. The project was treated with the greatest possible secrecy, and even many shipyard officials were denied access to the launch ceremony. The newspaper Izvestiya claimed that initially it was not planned to report on the completion of the building in the open sources. That was the restriction of the customer - the Russian navy. One fact speaks for itself: even various senior managers of the shipyard were not allowed in the workshop #42, which was building the sub. The number of personnel engaged in the construction was strictly supervised during the whole building process, which lasted for 15 years.

In many sources, the name of this project is found as 210, which is incorrect, since this is the usual abbreviation for the serial number of the submarine (serial number 01210). Also, some sources indicate that the project code is Losharik, but this name is an unofficial and rather spontaneous self-name, which however has been actively disseminated, including in the media. At the same time, in a number of sources, the project 10831 boat is related to the NATO name of the boat - NORSUB-5. According to an official statement by the Ministry of Defense in July 2019, the nuclear submarine is project 10831 AS-31 Losharik.

The AS-31 (it was mistakenly listed as AS-12 in some sources) was developed at St Petersburg's Malakhit Maritime Machine Building Bureau in the 1980s. Yury Konovalov was the project's chief designer. The AS-31 was the development of the Project 1910 Kashalot and Project 1851 Paltus nuclear deepwater stations.

Project 210 - Losharik
Length 60-69-79 meters
Beam 7 meters
Displacement 2000 tons
Depth of Immersion 6000m
Nuclear reactor 1 E-17
Nuclear reactor power10-15,000 hp / 52 MWt
Maximum Speed 30 knots
Crew 25 (all officers)
According to the info agency Interfax AVN the sub is designed for special operations. According to the specialists of Sevmash the sub's external appearance does not tell about its characteristics. This is the world's first submarine with such an outstanding combination of power and diving. Some reports claim it is nuclear powered, while other reports are silent on this subject. It reportedly can dive to a depth of over 6,000 meters, and is said to be the most silent and hard-to-detect submarine in the Russian Navy. The new submarine is designed for special operations, scientific research and can also rescue crews of other submarines at great depths. It is possible just to assume that Losharik will be the least noisy and vulnerable sub of the Russian fleet. It is considered that the boat at certain speed becomes almost impregnable for observing enemy ships and can carry out tasks not noticed on all World ocean.

The hybrid of a submarine and bathyspheres has been implemented. As it is known for bathyspheres, their use is at the expense of their dybamic form, but they can maintain enormous pressure of water. The outer hull of the type "210" Submarine serves only for reducing water resistance. The interval between the outer case and spheres is filled by a highly compressed material. In the case of bathyscaphes (bathysphere + the float) this is served by a material such as gasoline. The project "210" has also some drawbacks. In the first case, it has a small volume of living space, and in the second, a slow speed [other accounts attribute a rather brisk 30 knot speed to this vessel].

The American NR1 had a crew of around 18, displaced 400 tons, had an endurance of a couple weeks (food). The American Dolphin had a test depth of 3000' and a hull diameter of about 19'. The test depth of the NR1 isn't listed but the hull diameter is about 12' so the NR1 will be able to dive significantly deeper but not 20000'. The NR1 had to be towed out to the operating area.

Work on Project 210 began before the break-up of the Soviet Union. Losharik was laid down in 1988, but was later halted for lack of funding. In early 1990s the Russian top officials believed there is no need for special operations in the seas, but the sub had been already laid down. The building process was so long because of the lack of resources in mid 1990s. There was an attempt to attract the US investments to finish the sub, however the Americans refused. Otherwise Losharik would have been a vessel for purely rescue operations. Work on the project resumed after President Vladimir Putin came to power in 2000. He assigned high priority to the task of reviving the Russian submarine fleet. Financing was resumed and became regular only in the year 2000.

The project 210 sub was nicknamed Losharik from the appearance of a boat slightly resembling the horse combined from spherical elements - the hero of the well-known Soviet cartoon film. The use of these spherical fragments in the design, create conditions so that the ship can safely dive deeply. This is the origin of the nickname. The West has translated Losharik as "Hobby Horse" after the Children's animated Character of a Wodden Horse composed of Wooden Spheres. However, it also refers to a "Wooden Horse" as in "Trojan Horse".

The construction of this submarine was intended for Special Operations (and was still underway at the time of the existence of Soviet Union), has been surrounded by a fantastic veil of Secrecy. The Security level was such in fact, that in that area of the famous Sevmashevskogo shop N42, where this submarine was built, many of the numerous Company Heads and Engineers, were not aware of the existance this enterprise. The number of workers occupied in the course of building and engineers was rigidly regulated throughout all the fifteen years involved in creation of the unique ship. In fact the building and submarine operations were actually supervised by representatives of the Malachite design office.

The project "210" became the further development of nuclear deep-water stations of the project 1910 Cachalot. Building of a submarine of the project "210" had been conducted since 1988, but was suspended in 1990, in connection with the shortage of financing and a refusal of carrying out the concept of its use for "Spetsnaznachenija" Operations. However, the work was preserved and in the beginning of 2000, the work was continued.

The submarine was launched on August, 13th, 2003. At the solemn ceremony to mark the conclusion of this, when the Submarine was launched from a building berth, there was the Commander-in-chief of the Navy Navy Fleet Admiral Vladimir Ivanovich Kuroedov and representatives of KB "Malachite". After three days, the submarine was still visible there in the water.

Browsing through military internet fora many were surprised in January 2015 to see in the Russian edition of Top Gear automobile magazine a snapshot of a super-secret Russian deep-diving sub. The photo, covering a test run of a Mercedes-Benz GL 450 to Arkhangelsk, shows a deep-water nuclear-powered AS-12 Project 10830 submarine, better known as Losharik. The photo was taken from the White Sea shore where the car was undergoing an off-road test. Experts said this is the first good quality image of Losharik, one of this countrys top secret subs.



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