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Project 627 Kit - Origins

In the second half of the 1940s, the country spent huge resources on the creation of domestic nuclear weapons. It was necessary urgently to catch up with America, which already possessed such a weapon and even used this type of weapon in combat operations, striking at the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In 1949, when the first Soviet atomic charge was tested, the study of the possibility of striking torpedoes with nuclear warheads on coastal facilities in the United States began. At the same time, similar work was carried out on the use of atomic bombs and in the interests of other types and branches of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union, but the preference of the country's leadership was given to bomber aviation and missile technology.

At the same time, the command of the Navy wanted first of all to have nuclear weapons on submarines. However, they immediately encountered technical difficulties and problems: the maximum diameter of the torpedo tubes of our submarines was only 533 millimeters, and the "wearable" atomic bomb tested in 1951 had a diameter of 1.5 meters. What to do? Sailors offered to reduce the charge to the required dimensions of torpedo tubes, and atomic scientists - to increase the dimensions of the carrier - torpedoes. By that time practically all the atomic bombs in development were larger than even the first of them, RDS-3, the requirements of the military to increase the power of the charge were growing.

Despite all the above circumstances, and not coming to a common opinion, in 1951-1952, scientists and designers of KB-11 (Arzamas-16) began developing nuclear warheads for marine torpedoes in two versions: caliber 533 (T-5) and 1550 millimeters (T-15). At the same time, if the torpedo of the standard caliber is a perfectly acceptable armament of the submarine, the placement of a torpedo tube for a "monster" over 1.5 meters in diameter was a matter of inescapability for existing types of submarines, a new design of a submarine was required.

Probably, therefore, on 9 September 1952, the USSR Council of Ministers adopted resolution No. 4098-1616 on the design and construction of the "627" facility with a displacement of up to 3,000 tons with a T-15 torpedo with an atomic warhead for strikes against coastal targets.

The deputy chief designer of KB-11 captain 1st rank V.I. Alferov, who created the scheme and devices of the nuclear charge detonation system for the first atomic bombs, immediately after the testing of the first hydrogen bomb quickly organized the development of an extremely large T-15 torpedo for a thermonuclear charge. Due to regime considerations, as well as taking into account the established personal relations, the T-15 torpedo was first developed without the participation of the Navy. The 6th Naval Department learned about it only through the project 627 of the first nuclear submarine.

The Americans were ahead of us then. In June 1952, the United States laid the world's first nuclear submarine (NPS) with the romantic name "Nautilus" (project EB-251A). In September 1953, a ground-based prototype of a ship-based nuclear installation was created, and in September 1954 the first SSN-571 nuclear submarine Nautilus, equipped with an experimental S-2W unit, was commissioned.

Initially, the main task of the experimental nuclear submarine of Project 627 with a giant electric torpedo T-15 caliber of 1,550 millimeters under a thermonuclear charge was striking at coastal areas of a probable enemy. For this purpose, the installation of one large T-15 torpedo, carrying a charge of enormous power, was planned for the nuclear submarine, the length of the torpedo tube was more than 22 percent of the total length of the boat.

The nuclear torpedo T-15 was intended to strike at naval bases, ports and other coastal objects, including cities where a powerful sea and shock wave, other factors of a nuclear explosion were supposed to cause irreparable damage to the military and civilian infrastructure of a potential adversary, that is, America.

On the new underwater "object 627" management made great bets. At that time there were still no atomic charges in dimensions acceptable for conventional torpedoes and intercontinental missiles capable of delivering atomic charges over considerable distances and keeping the potential enemy in fear.

The creation of such a large torpedo and its control system was a particularly complex problem. In addition to a 1.5-meter torpedo, two 533-millimeter torpedoes for self-defense were deployed on the submarine in the forward torpedo tubes (TA). Spare torpedoes were not intended.

The length of the T-15 torpedo developed at NII-400 (chief designer NN Shamarin) was about 23 meters, weight 40 tons, thermonuclear charge 3.5-4 tons. The main weight load accounted for a powerful battery pack, providing a torpedo speed of 29 knots with a range of up to 30 kilometers. Presumably for the T-15 torpedo it was proposed to use the RDS-37 thermonuclear bomb charge, which was installed on the first Soviet intercontinental ballistic missile (R-7) of the design of SP Korolev. Initially, when designing a missile, the mass of the warhead was set at five tons, it was intended to place a megaton warhead in the form of a ball. As a result of design studies, the developer KB-11 and its subsidiary KB-25 reduced the charge weight to 1.5 tons while maintaining the specified power.

The detonation of the charge was due to a shock or remote fuse (clock mechanism). For shooting T-15 developed a special torpedo tube with a caliber of 1.55 meters and a length of up to 23.5 meters. Control of the shooting of this torpedo was provided from the point of torpedo fire control (PUTS) "Tantal".

The coordination of the torpedo and TA structures with general ship issues, the development of torpedo storage systems on the ship, the input of data into it, the layout of the torpedo and numerous ship equipment, systems and devices in the forward compartment of the submarine were carried out in the SKB-143 by specialists of the sector I. I. Shalaev. Designers of the bureau worked in close cooperation with the KBA CKB-18 team and, along with the performance of their own work, provided him with technical assistance, sending his specialists for individual, most intense tasks.

During the work on the torpedo T-15 specialists doubted the effectiveness of the use of such weapons. On the coast of the US there were not a lot of facilities convenient for the destruction of a special torpedo, not to mention the probability of a submarine approach to the shooting range.

The tactical and technical elements of the ship were approved on December 21, 1953. In July 1954, SKB-143 completed the development of a technical project for 627 nuclear submarines. October 18, 1954 Minsredmash and Minsudprom submitted a technical project to the Presidium of the CPSU Central Committee, after which the Ministry of Defense was invited to review the draft and send an opinion to the Council of Ministers. Minister of Defense N. A. Bulganin instructed to understand this task to the assistant to the Minister for Naval Affairs, Admiral P. G. Kotov, who received some information on the project 627 from the Minister of Shipbuilding Industry VA Malyshev. At the same time, the question of admission of the leaders and specialists of the Navy with the label "Of particular importance" to the project of the nuclear submarine was resolved.

For the consideration of the project and the preparation of the conclusion by an order of the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy of the Admiral of the Fleet of the USSR, N. G. Kuznetsov in 1954 formed an expert commission headed by the head of the Main Staff of the Navy, Vice Admiral AE Orel. The main objections on the part of the Navy were on the armament of the nuclear submarine - N. G. Kuznetsov said that the fleet did not need a submarine with this weapon.

But with one desire of the Navy, such questions are not solved, the will of the leaders of the state is needed and it followed. In 1954, at the direction of NS Khrushchev, the project of a huge torpedo T-15 was closed.

Then, according to the decision of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, on March 11, 1954, an air-missile complex K-20 was built with an intercontinental carrier Tu-95K and supersonic cruise missiles X-20 with thermonuclear warheads of the RDS-6 type with a power of up to 1 Mt for the destruction of stationary , mobile, including sea targets with launch from a range of more than 600 kilometers, outside the enemy's air defense zone. And there is no need to speak about ballistic and cruise missiles of intercontinental range, they were created quite a lot, in parallel, the formation of the first missile brigades was under way.

Against the backdrop of all this, based on the results of the Navy's expertise, a decision was made to adjust the technical design for 627 nuclear submarines. By the decision of the Council of Ministers of the USSR of March 26, 1955, No. 588-364, the technical design of the ship was approved only with torpedo tubes of caliber 533 millimeters, and the work on the torpedo T-15 was stopped.

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