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Project 617 (NATO Whale)

The intelligence services of the various Allied powers surveyed the surviving German naval equipment and facilities and interrogated key technical personnel at the end of the war. Russia pursued the German work on submarines generally with an apparently low key application of peroxide to a class described pejoratively as "cigarette lighters" [in similar spirit to the British nickname of 'Exploder' for HMS Explorer].

The Malakhit Design Bureau was created in 1948 for developing submarines with energy sources independent of atmospheric oxygen. Such a submarine (Design Project 617) was created and tested.

In 1948 a second Submarine Design Bureau - SDB-143 (nowadays SPMBM "Malakhit") was established for designing submarines with high submerged speed. The body of a new bureau is based on over 100 designers of CDB-18 including designers who were delegated to Germany and worked their in Antipin's bureau. It was a project, designated Design Project 617 in 1952, of a submarine with a steam-gas turbine plant using as an oxidant the high concentration hydrogen peroxide H2O2 (so called Walter cycle). Work on Project 617 started in CDB-18 and Antipin's Bureau were continued in the new bureau.

In 1953, a re-orientation of SDB-143 on the design of nuclear submarines the entire portfolio of orders of SDB-243 the main of which was Project 617 was returned to CDB-18 together with the most part of employees working in design departments. All test stands, chemical laboratory, research departments were handed over to CDB-18. Works on creation of experimental submarine S-99 of project 617 were completed with her commissioning to the Navy in 1956. The submerged speed of 20 knots was reached by submarine S-99 for the first time in the USSR.

The Soviets built an experimental Walter Cycle submarine which entered service in 1958. An onboard explosion put an end to the program in 1959. From then on the Soviets also focused on nuclear propulsion.

Project 617   Whale

Displacement 900 tons, 1215 tons submerged
Length 62.2 m (204 ft 1 in)
Beam 6.1 m (20 ft 0 in)
Draft 5.1 m (16 ft 9 in)
Propulsion Diesel-electric with AIP Walter turbine
Speed 11 knots (20 km/h) surfaced
20 knots (37 km/h) submerged
Endurance 45 days
Test depth 170 m (557 ft 9 in)
  • 6 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes in the bow
  • 12 torpedoes
  • Complement 54

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