Find a Security Clearance Job!


K-3 Leninskiy Komsomol

The USSR Council of Ministers approved the 17 January 1959 "Act of the Government Commission", ordered the Navy to take submarine "K-3" into trial operation, and the industry to perform all the necessary work on the fleet application. In the winter of 1958-1959 specialists of plant number 402 spent priority repairs and experienced operations on reactor cores on the submarine "K-3". In 1959 navigation program submarines trial operation "K-3" made a campaign lasting 3 to 9 days, 22 days and 14 days. According to their results simulated an NPP equipment, improve the mechanism, to change the design of the ship and the composition of its technical equipment.

All this required painstaking work shipbuilders and the creators of the main equipment, the courage and skill of the personnel of the submarine. For the successful development of new techniques commander submarine "K-3" L.G.Osipenko in July 1959 was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union, and many of the crew members were awarded orders and medals. Awards were given to craft creators, designers, engineers and workers. Chief Designer of submarines, etc.. of 627. The head of SKB-143 V.N.Peregudov was awarded the title Hero of Socialist Labor. Collectives SKB-143 and the plant number 402 were awarded the Order of Lenin. Group members work who have made the most significant creative contributions, was awarded the Lenin Prize.

The first Soviet nuclear powered submarine, later named Leninskiy Komsomol, was launched on 09 August 1957. The boat's nuclear reactors started for the first time on 04 July 1958, and on 17 July 1962, K-3 was the first Soviet submarine to reach the North Pole. The sub inherited the honorary title Leninsky Komsomol from the diesel submarine M-106 of the Northern Fleet, which was destroyed in one of the combat missions in 1943. During the last years of service, the K-3 was reclassified from cruise to large submarine.

At the beginning of April 1958 the last seam of the pipe joints on the left side of K-3 were completed. On the right side of welding continued, however complex mooring trials began 19 April 1958. This is one of the most important historical moments of the domestic shipbuilding. On the first domestic nuclear submarines all electrical consumers receive power from the turbine generators staff, not from an external source, but from its own nuclear PPU (steam generating plant). The age-old dream from that moment came to life: do not ascend to resupply electricity to move again under water. Yes, you can go at a speed not less than that above-water! You can stay underwater indefinitely! You can take a hot shower! No need to save energy!

On 19 May 1958 a specially created inter-ministerial commission began comprehensive testing of both sides of the nuclear submarine. This event was personally observed by Defense Minister D.F.Ustinov, Minister of Shipbuilding Industry B.E.Butoma, Navy Commander S.G.Gorshkov. Explanations were given by Director of Sevmash E.P.Egorov. Management of the reactor with remote controls was exercised personally by Academician A.P.Alexandrov, assisted by representatives of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, as well as engineers of K-3. The propulsion systems were tested in all modes according to the program, but the boat was firmly moored to the wall of the factory. Input and output units of the vehicle conducted repeated tests from different power sources (from the shore, from its batteries and their diesel generators).

On July 3, 1958 the decision was made on the start of sea trials. On the deck of the submarine lined the plant commissioning team and the crew. The commander of the K-3, Osipenko, reported to the Commander of the Navy the readiness submarine for sea trials. The commander gave the command to lift the naval flag. The brigade commander submarine VP Cvetko read the order to act. On the dock at the moored submarine workers lined up shop N 42, with an orchestra. The band sounded the national anthem of the USSR! Here, on the deck, we were DF Ustinov, BE Butoma, EP Slavskii, AP Alexandrov, V. Peregoudov, NV Gololobov and admirals, in particular the chairman of the government commission, Deputy Navy Commander VN Ivanov, commander of submarine forces SF AE Eagle.

The next morning, tugs moved K-3 away from the pier. On the same day, July 4, 1958, at 10h03 min. Academician AP Alexandrov, while on the remote controls, made a landmark historical record in the logbook of the remote main power plant: "For the first time in the country to the turbine without coal and oil supplies steam." K-3 went out into the channel, given the tug and the first buoy of the channel started to move independently under nuclear power, gaining speed. Thus, from this buoy into the Dvina Bay of the White Sea to the July 4, 1958 went through nautical miles of the Soviet nuclear submarine fleet.

The revolution in the country's navy was accomplished! But one of its main characters, the chief designer V.N.Peregoudov, paid the price. His illness progressed. Chief Designer survived! The entire program has been fully implemented.

During sea trials, the very first Soviet nuclear submarine has performed 5 to go to sea for a total of 25 days. This amounted to 450 running hours, during which time passed 3801 miles, of which 2,002 miles - in the water. 860 miles passed with an average speed of 15 knots. Lifting capacity up to 60% polyurethane, boat K-3 has developed a water speed of 23.3 knots. Greater levels of the test program has been limited. However, calculations show that the derivation of the nuclear power unit at 100 percent power level of the underwater speed of 30 knots. There were performed 29 dives and ascents. Last, the fifth, out to sea took place in December 1958, then it was carried out deep dive to 310 meters, and for two days (48 hours) to check the reliability of the reactors on full underwater course at 60-percent capacity foam.

By the middle of December, all sea trials had been completed. After that d all systems and mechanisms ere audited to eliminate the comments of the government commission, as well as take into account the criticism raised by the crew of K-3. It completely finished painting the ship and its interior wood trim. For the first time in the domestic fleet a submarine hull was black. The insolation room was filled with bright light bulbs. The cabin of the submarine commander shone with expensive wood trim, such incomparable with plastic coatings.

On 11 December 1958 members of the government commission headed by its chairman, signed the act of acceptance of the K-3 in the Navy. Thus, the construction of the ship from laying down ["Bookmark"] to the entry into the fleet was 3 years 2 months and 23 days. After K-3 there was a whole series of such submarines of the improved design 627A (total 12 units) entered the Navy in just 4 years. On January 17, 1959 an act of acceptance of the K-3 was approved by the Council of Ministers of the USSR. Navy submarines undertook trial operation with industry until the summer of 1959 to eliminate all the deficiencies noted and to modernize the first Soviet nuclear submarine supplied by the approved list.

In those years, no one in the West believed that the war-torn Russia could build an atomic submarine fleet. The American "Nautilus" crossed the North Pole has 3 August 1958. Since then, the Soviet Union was in range of missiles that at any moment would be launhced from American submarines in the Arctic. So when in 1962, the K-3 headed for the pole, it was a shock to other countries, especially the United States.

Russian nuclear submarine K-3, later renamed "Leninsky Komsomol", crossed the North Pole July 17, 1962 in 6 hours and 50 minutes and 10 seconds. The crew offered a joke that the midshipman quartermaster step back a little from the course, so as not to bend any of the "earth's axis." Crews later recalled that the thickness of the ice in places was about 25 meters. The boat was close to the surface, and when they saw an opensning, they immediately surfaced. The nose submarine then stood at the edge of the ice, and from all sides of the K-3 was squeezed by endless snow. According to the commander of the submarine,the ice was quiet, even ringing in the ears.

Nikita Khrushchev himself and Defense Minister Rodion Malinovsky came to the pier to celebrate the return of the submarine. During this campaign the title of Hero of the Soviet Union was granted to the head of the expedition Rear Admiral A. Petelin, the commander of the submarine L. Zhil'tsov and mechanical engineer R. Petelin. The entire staff of the ship has been awarded orders and medals.

Since the boat was entirely new, and because it was designed and built in a hurry, it constantly required repairs and technical servicing. The works were hidden under the words "pilot operation." In the first years of service and during the mission to the North Pole, the maintenance of the submarine, which was often staying in a state of emergency, was provided by a very skilled team of people, who could perform complex repairs themselves. The never-ending technical works on board the sub and the appearance of new welded seams led to the increased exposure of the crew to radiation.

On 08 September 1967, when the submarine was located in the Norwegian Sea, returning from a combat patrol in the Mediterranean Sea, there was a terrible accident. A fire ignited flammable hydraulics in the forward torpedo room. The fire spread quickly, and in the first and second compartment 39 people were burnt in a matter of a minute, and there was a danger of exploding the whole torpedo ammunition. The situation was rescued by the commander the second compartment Lieutenant Commander Anatoly Painter, who before dying, slammed on the insidedoor, and warned the imminent spread of fire. The Commander of a the nuclear boat Stepanov gave the order to equalize pressure with the emergency bay, because TNT explodes with increasing the pressure and temperature. At two o'clock in the morning, surviving crew abandoned the central office and went to the bridge. The submarine surfaced and later returned to their own power base.

It was the first major accident at the Soviet nuclear submarine navy. The Committee formed by the shore crew first recognized the heroic deeds of all the mariners. But Commander of the Navy Gorshkov said the tragedy was caused by the crew. He annulled the results of the first commission and appointed a second, obviously biased, which suddenly found a lighter on the ship's desk.

In the end, the main technical management acknowledged that the tragedy was not the fault of the submariners. After only 45 years, they waited for justice. At the end of September 2012, a commission of experts concluded: "A non-standard gasket from...a beer bottle was installed in the ballast tank. Naturally it was displaced, the hydraulic fluid leaked under the pressure of 100 atmospheres and got sprayed onto the lamp, which had a broken protective cap. Inflammation occurred immediately," former assistant commander of the K-3 said. "By falsifying documents, investigation allegedly found that a submariner climbed into one of the compartments and lit a cigarette, but it was not true!" Leskov told a news conference.

"Leninsky Komsomol" was in service of the Northern Navy for almost 30 years. In total K-3 had carried out 14 long trips, including the first navigation under ice in the Kara and Greenland Seas in 1958.

Join the mailing list

US Policy Toward Africa: Eight Decades of Realpolitik - Herman J Cohen's Latest Book
Page last modified: 11-02-2016 19:49:41 ZULU