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Whiskey Class - Project 613 - Major Variants


Over two hundred WHISKEY Class submarines were constructed during the 1950s by the Soviet Union. Approximately fifty units were transfered to the navies of Albania, Bulgaria, China, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, North Korea, and Poland. Pennant numbers: AL 512, 5'14, 516; BU 11, 12; CH 119, 120, 122, 123, 127, 129, 131, 201 thru 208, 221, 241, 243, 244, 265, 266; EG 415, 418, 421, 432, 455, 477; ID' 410, 412; PL 292 thru 295.

The sail of the WHISKEY Class submarine is located forward of amidships. Except for a few early units which had steps fore and aft on the sail, all have a near vertical leading edge and a stepped down trailing edge. A fixed snorkel exhaust angles upward at the after extremity of the upper tier. The bow is rounded and the weatherdeck slopes gradually from bow to stern. Retractable bow planes are located high on the weatherdeck well back of the stem.


Five WHISKEY Class attack submarines were converted to radar pickets in the late 1950s and early 1960s. This class of submarines derived its name from the fact that when it was first seen the radar antenna was covered with canvas. The antenna is hinged and can be folded in the middle prior to diving.

WHISKEY CANVAS BAG is readily identified by its uniquely modified sail, which is amidships, and the permanently affixed radar antenna atop the sail. The radar can be rotated and folded, but not retracted. The sail step aft has been eliminated, the projecting fixed snorkel exhaust moved further aft, and the trailing edge modified to form a concave curve. The bow is rounded. The weatherdeck slopes gradually from bow to stern.


Five WHISKEY SSs underwent conversion to the WHISKEY TWIN CYLINDER Class in the late 1950s. Two SS N 3 cruise missile launch tubes were affixed to the hull, one on either side of the sail. The WHISKEY TWIN CYLINDER must surface to fire its missiles, which are the only surface to surface missiles fired over the stern of a Soviet submarine.

Technical design of the 613 submarine re-equipment for weaponry with P-5 missiles was developed by CDB-18 on the basis of the resolution of the Council of Ministers of August 25, 1955. The research institute-303 (chief designer SF Farmakovskiy) was engaged in developing the control system for shooting "North-A644U".

The containers for storing and launching the missiles were paired in one block and installed on the deck of the superstructure, aft from the fencing enclosure. The project stipulated the direction of firing rockets not in the nose, but in the stern. Such a constructive solution had certain inconveniences, since the submarine was supposed to lie down on the return course for missile firing, but it was forced, since under the conditions of Project 613 it was impossible to arrange containers with missiles in the nose from the fencing enclosure.

In preparation for the launch, the container block was raised at an angle of 15 with a hydraulic lifter acting from the ship's hydraulic system. From both ends, each container was closed with lids having a rubber seal. The opening and closing of the covers was carried out using hydraulic drives. In the launching position, the containers were held by hydraulic stops. The cruise missiles were stored in containers fully fueled, with a warhead and with a docked launcher unit. From the movement inside the container they were held by the device of attachment to the march, controlled remotely from the inside of the boat, and with rear reinforcement, which was removed automatically at the launch. The launch of cruise missiles from containers was carried out alternately. At the start of one missile, the second remained in a container with closed lids.

WHISKEY TWIN CYLINDER conversion units are such oddities that identification should pose no problem. TWIN CYLINDER has a conventional WHISKEY sail with its projecting snorkel exhaust, but the profile is drastically altered by a pair of huge missile tubes installed on the deck aft of the sail. Large fairings at the bow end of the missile tubes protect the tubes from wave action and deflect the missile exhaust upward. No other submarine has a similar appearance.


Seven WHISKEY Class diesel attack submarines underwent extensive conversion for surface to surface missile operations in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Four SS-N-3 missiles are mounted in the sail in a permanently elevated position. The submarine must surface to fire its missiles. The four missiles were carried in pressure-tight 14 degree tubes, with circular muzzle hatches that swung inboards towards the submarine's centreline. These vessels lacked the "Front Door/Front Piece" radar suite so mid-course correction was not possible. Given the meager onboard sensors; assistance from MPAs would have been almost necessary to locate targets.

WHISKEY LONG BIN conversions are such oddities that identification should pose no problem. The enlarged sail of LONG BIN is a unique identification feature. The sail which is amidships extends about one third of the entire submarine length. The topline slopes gently downward aft to join the deckline. The forward portion of the sail is nearly vertical in profile, but most views reveal large cavities and an angular wave deflector forward. A large fixed installation near the after end of the sail projects above the sail proper and houses the snorkel exhaust.

This SSG conversion project was handled by the TsKB-112 Bureau, headed by B.A. Lyeontyev (who also designed the "Whiskey One Cylinder" and "Whiskey Twin Cylinder" conversions). The conversion involved adding a 30' "plug" amidships; despite the added mass this allowed the battery layout and electrical distribution system to be more refined and the "Long Bins" actually had much better underwater range than a typical "Whiskey". Compared to the "Whiskey Twin Cylinder" class, this type's arrangement was far superior as it eliminated a number of pressure hull valves, reduced the amount of hydraulic fluid that had to be carried, and repositioned the sub's centre-of-gravity better. To compensate for the added weight; the torpedo armament was greatly reduced. The sensor fit was also better than a typical "Whiskey".

In April 1957, a joint decision of the Ministry of the Navy and the shipbuilding industry of the TsKB-112 was commissioned to develop a submarine design with four P-5 missiles in fixed containers installed obliquely to the deck at an angle equal to the starting one. TsKB-112 developed a project 665 for the modification of submarines from Project 613.

The P-5 missiles were placed in four stationary containers, mounted symmetrically to the diametral plane, with a constant elevation angle of 14 , rigidly fastened to each other and to the hull of the submarine; the containers were placed in the nose from a strong felling in common with it. The stationary installation of containers, which eliminated the need for their lifting before launching cruise missiles, proved to be more reliable in operation, less weight, reduced preparation time for launching, simplified devices for supplying cables and pipes, ensured higher accuracy of containers installation relative to the hull submarine. The stepped interposition of containers, realized for the first time in the practice of underwater shipbuilding, reduced the distance between them.

Shooting in the above-water position of the submarine could be made by single missiles and a volley on the target with two or even four missiles with any combination of the sequence of their exit from the containers. Under the project 665, six submarines were converted (C-61, C-64, C-142, C-152, C-155 and C-164).

According to the United States Naval Institute, up to 72 conversions were planned before the program was terminated early.

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Page last modified: 29-04-2018 19:31:58 ZULU