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Project 865 Piranya
Losos Class

Designed for special operations and to engage surface ships located offshore, the Piranya is toughly built and is almost completely silent. The hull is comprised of a titanium alloy, that reduces the effectiveness of enemy mines. Divers can be deployed on sabotage missions. The divers remain in contact with the submarine, which is capable of supplying them with oxygen for breathing, electricity, warmth, and monitors to ensure that underwater instruments are operating normally. The Piranya's 1200 kW lead-acid batteries allows the submarine to remain underway for ten days and the submarines at sea replenishement capabilities allows the submarine within 8 hours to receive enough food, fuel and lubricants, and air for an additional ten days.

The design was apparently not considered particularly successful. It was planned to build 12 subs for all Russian Navies. Later the order was reduced to 6, but only 2 were built. The two units were placed in reserve in 1993, briefly reactivated in 1995, and again laid up by 1997, and were expected to be discarded. After long operation the two were scrapped because the state could not afford to keep them.

Small submarines of project 865 "Piranha" - a project of submarines of the Navy of the USSR and the Russian Federation. The type was in service with the fleet from 1990 to 1999. In total, 2 submarines of this project were built: MS-520 and MS-521. Further construction of such boats in the USSR was suspended. As a result, the series was limited to the experimental MS-520 and the parent MS-521, commissioned to the fleet in December 1990.In the second half of the 1970s, the command of the USSR Navy gave the Leningrad Special Maritime Bureau of Engineering "Malachite" terms of reference for the design of the first project of the Soviet ultra-small submarine. TTZ determined that such a boat is intended for use at a maritime theater with an extensive shallow shelf water, in the depth range from 10 to 200 meters. The submarine was supposed to solve the tasks of countering the enemy and conduct reconnaissance. To ensure these tasks, the boat should have placed the appropriate electronic weapons, mine-torpedo weapons, as well as a diving complex to perform special tasks at depths of up to 60 meters. Under TTZ, the displacement of the submarine should not exceed 80 tons.

The chief designer of project 865 was appointed L. V. Chernopyatov, who was replaced in 1984 by Yu. K. Mineev. Since the earlier workings of the Ostekhbyuro on ultra-small submarines were kept secret and firmly forgotten, it was again necessary to start designing from scratch. During the design of the Project 865 submarine, a significant amount of experimental work, model and field tests, and experiments on individual structures, devices, and technological processes were performed.

The laying of the experimental submarine took place at the Leningrad Admiralty Association in July 1984. Its dimensions were: length 28.2 meters, width 4.7 meters, average draft 3.9 meters, surface displacement - 218 tons.

The project 865 submarine hull was made of titanium alloy and was designed for an immersion depth of 200 meters. Full underwater speed reached 6.7 knots, surface - 6 knots. The economic range of underwater navigation (4 knots) reached 260 miles, in the surface position - 1000 miles. The central station housed the operator’s console, instrument racks and information display facilities, as well as controls for the main systems and devices. Under the deck floor of the central post was a battery pit. Closer to the nose from the operator’s panel were the access hatch, periscope, and the shaft of the retractable radar complex device. The central post was limited by the bow spherical bulkhead, which had an entrance hatch into the airlock. On the bow bulkhead was a porthole for monitoring the work of divers and a gateway for transferring objects from the CPU to the camera. There were also control devices for the diversion lock system.

From the electromechanical compartment, the central post was separated by a flat aft bulkhead with a gas-tight door. In the electromechanical compartment on a shock-absorbing platform, disconnected from the robust housing, shock absorbers included a 160 kW diesel generator, a 60 kW DC propeller, pumps, fans, a compressor and other equipment. Thanks to the two-stage cushioning system in combination with sound-absorbing coatings on the hull structures, the Project 865 submarine had a minimal acoustic field. The electromechanical compartment in the campaign was visited only to check the condition of technical equipment. The screw located in the rotary ring nozzle also served as a vertical rudder.

The armament complex of the submarines was located in the middle part of the superstructure and consisted of two cargo containers for transporting diving equipment (4 towers of the Proton type or 2 transporters of the Sirena-U type) and 2 mine-setting devices that housed two PMT mines, or two lattices for the 400-mm Latush torpedoes (a special version of the SET-72 torpedo) used by the "self-exit" over the entire depth range. The durable cargo container was filled with sea water, and it was a cylindrical structure about 12 meters long and 62 cm in diameter. A sliding tray was provided for loading, unloading and securing diving equipment. The drive and controls for the drawer were located inside a sturdy housing.

The mine setting device consisted of a permeable launching lattice with guide tracks of a pneumomechanical ejection device, which ensured the mine was pushed forward along the course of the submarine. It was also envisaged the possibility of placing a torpedo instead of a mine. Electronic weapons were specially developed for this project. A small-sized radar system MRKP-60 Radian-M was installed at Piranha, as well as a sonar complex MGK-13C Pripyat-S.

The crew of the Piranha submarines consisted of three officers: a navigator commander, an electromechanical assistant and an electronic weapons assistant. In addition to them, an reconnaissance and sabotage group of six combat swimmers was taken on board. The exit of combat swimmers was carried out within the depths of up to 60 meters and on the ground. Being outside the boat, combat swimmers / divers had the opportunity to use the electricity supplied from it through the wires, as well as replenish the gas mixture in breathing devices. During the operation of the submarine of the project, two replaceable crews were formed for each boat. There was also a technical crew designed to serve both boats.

On August 20, 1986, the experimental boat, which received tactical number MS-520, was launched. Then for 2 years she passed factory and state tests, which were completed only in December 1988. Since 1989, the MC-520 was in Liepaja as part of the 22nd submarine brigade. Submarine exits to the sea were difficult, and combat training proved to be very difficult. The test hydronaut 40 of the GNII of the Ministry of Defense A.I. Vatagin, who was subsequently awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, participated in the tests of the submarine.

One of the project’s submarines took part in the filming of the Russian feature film “Features of National Fishing”. During the investigation in the USA, a certain Ludwig Fainberg was detained, who admitted that, by order of one of the largest drug lords in the world, Pablo Escobar tried to acquire a project 865 ultra-small submarine in Russia. But the deal fell through.

With the view of tomorrow Malahit resumed works in the sphere and developed 11 versions of small subs based on the original Piranha. These versions differ in displacement, arms, costs and many other parameters.

In 1991 the St. Petersburg-based Special Boiler Design Bureau (SKBK) completed development of the Kristall-20 AIP system for the Piranha. The AIP underwent comprehensive testing and was accepted by the customer - the Ministry of Defense. However, AIP systems were never installed in submarines due to reductions in defense spending.

By early 2005 KB Malahit forecast and increase of the demand for small subs by the year 2010. The promotion of the Piranha was started in this context. The advantage of a small sub is that a shipyard may build several subs simultaneously, delivering one every few months. Today only Russia and Germany may compete in this market. General designer of Malahit Yuri Mineev claims that this forecast is not just a marketing instrument. He notes that Germany "realized the perspective of the small subs and started serious work in the niche." The new German sub is comparable with Piranha.

A number of countries plan on having a fleet of small subs, but it take several years to create the infrastructure to service them. KB Malahit regards South-East Asia and Middle East as the main potential customers. The UAE expressed interest in Piranha, but the country arranged domestic production of such subs. Many countries already operate small subs, but most of them are outdated. Thus the market for small subs is replacing these older vessels with new models.

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Page last modified: 13-09-2020 17:59:17 ZULU