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Project 641 Foxtrot class

The Project 641 (Foxtrot) submarines were derivatives of the Whiskey and Romeo class diesel boats. They featured larger ammunition load, endurance and range. The Foxtrot, the Soviet Navy's largest conventional submarine, could travel 16,000 nautical miles before having to refuel. They were capable of performing underwater operations continuously for four days, after which they had to rise to 7 metres (snorkel depth) to change the air and charge the batteries. Three diesel engines generate power for electric motors that drive the 3 propellers. At periscope depth, air for the diesels can be sucked from the surface using a snorkel.

The Foxtrot operated at a depth of 250 meters, could dive to over 300 meters and was capable of reaching 16.8 knots. To surface, compressed air from 56 bottles expels the water from the the ballast tanks. The Foxtrot dives and surfaces quite horizontally. At more that 30 degrees it loses control. Only officers had their own bunks. Ordinary sailors "hot bunked." 27 bunks in the aft torpedo room were shared by 54 crew! 3 shifts per day: duty, maintenance and sleep.

A total of 74 [an perhaps as many as 79] Foxtrots were built begining in 1958 for both the Soviet Navy and others countries including India, Libya, Cuba and Poland. The USSR started to export these submarines (modifications I641 and I641K) in the mid-1960s. A total of at least 57 and and as many as 62 units were believed to have been built for the Soviet Navy until 1967. Historically there were more than ten Foxtrots in the Baltic Fleet (numerically the largest fleet in the Russian navy); today there are none. Reportedly by early-2000 only three boats of this class remain in service, though the identity of these units is somewhat obscure, and they are expected to be retired shortly.



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