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Project 641B Tango class

The Tango Class was the Soviet Navys successor to the Foxtrot Class boats in the Northern and Black Sea fleets. Construction began in 1971 and a total of 18 were built. The Tango class submarine was designed to engage enemy surface forces and submarines and to protect friendly convoys. The Tango has a more streamlined hull than the prior Foxtrot class, making the Tango more suitable for submerged operations. The Tango also has a greater battery storage capacity and more advanced electronic systems than the Foxtrot. The Tango's greater battery capacity allowed them to remain submerged for over a week.

The Tango's six 533 mm torpedo tubes can also be used to deploy mines. It was equipped with a new sonar system fitted with a large passive array, a storage battery of a larger capacity, powerful torpedo armament, including quick-loading gear, automatic fire control system and other improvements. But actually, it was no more than an improved version of the diesel submarine of Project 641.

There were two slightly different versions later boats were several metres longer than the original design. This may have been due to a later equipment fit. The more modern equipment fit together with their ability to remain submerged for longer and acoustic coating on the outer hull made the Tango Class idea for ambush operations. There are several natural chokepoints in the oceans and in war it would have been the Tangos who would have laid in wait for Western submarines as they tried to pass through these restricted areas.

The Soviet Navy had begun to withdraw Tango Class boats from service before the end of the Cold War but some remained in notional service into the 21st Century. Most units of this class were retired starting in 1995. As of early 2000 perhaps four units were thought to in the Northern Fleet, though largely inoperable, with another six units believed remain in reserve though unlikely to be returned to service. The status of specific units is conjectural.

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