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Project 877E / 877EKM Paltus

Project 877EKM is an export version of Kilo-class submarines. A total of 18 subs have been delivered to Iran, China, India, Poland, Romania and Algeria. INS Sindhurakshak, an Indian Navy Project 877EKM sub that was handed back to India in January 2013 after a major refit at Russia's Zvezdochka shipyard, sank in the port of Mumbai on August 14 following a fire and a series of explosions on board.

Project 877E and 877EKM submarines are export modifications of Project 877; they make one of the most successful series in the non-nuclear shipbuilding of the late 20th century. Most advanced engineering solutions of the time were implemented in the submarines of these projects. Lead Project 877E and 877EKM submarines were delivered to the navies of Poland and India in April, 1986. Over the past years the equipment, systems, weapons and logistics have demonstrated their high reliability enabling the crew to fulfil with confidence their tasks in long patrols.

With their excellent capacities for upgrade, Project 877E and 877EKM submarines during scheduled repairs can be refitted with new equipment, electronic warfare and weapons, including missile weapons. The priority in refit is given to the combat efficiency to surpass foreign counterparts. To ensure this, the submarines are fitted with: state-of-the art cruise missiles to considerably increase effective weapon area; new inertial navigation equipment with long-term data storage, which do not require correction, to feed data into the missile system when submerged; new automated information and control system, which includes missile control subsystem, provides support for CO's tasks, outputs data for target designation, and controls missiles and torpedoes, and torpedo tubes.

The lead 877EKM submarine armed with Club-S missiles was built in 2000 at the Admiralty Shipyards in Saint Petersburg and once trials were successfully completed it was delivered to India. Project 877 export models, designated with an 'E' suffix, are generally similar though with some reduced features. As of early 1998 construction of the Project 877EKM submarines was nearly completed, with only one submarine left under construction in St.Petersburg for the Indian Navy. By that time Russia had exported 21 Project 877 and 636 submarines, including: India - 10, and China - 4, Iran - 3, Algeria - 2, Poland - 1, Romania - 1.

On 04 August 1993, Iran took delivery of a second Russian Kilo-class diesel submarine, and the third arrived 18 January 1996. Russia went ahead with the first two deliveries despite vigorous US protests. In response to Administration pressure and US sanctions legislation, Russia formally pledged in June 1995 not to enter any new arms contracts with Iran, although prior arms contracts could be implemented. By July 2005 the Zvezdochka shipbuilding plant in Severodvinsk (Arkhangelsk Region) was holding talks on a possible contract to overhaul and modernize three diesel-electric submarines belonging to the Iranian navy. Zvezdochka directors visited Iran in the second half of January 2005 and held talks on military and technical cooperation.

India took delivery of the first of the two additional Russian-built Kilo class submarines in January 1999. On 17 August 2000 the Sindhushastra began the two month voyage from St Petersburg to India. The 877EKM submarine was the last in a series of 10 submarines built at Russian shipyards for Indian customers. In August 2000 the Zvezdochka engineering enterprise at Severodvinsk started the work of servicing and modernizing the Indian series-877EKM submarine Sinduratna, the second Indian sub to have had a refit at Zvezdochka. In 1999 the Indian Navy took delivery of the Sinduvir, the first submarine to have been modernized at Severodvinsk. The Sinduratna was the second Indian submarine to be fitted with four ZM-54E1 missiles, with a range of 300 km. The missiles are part of the latest Klab-S anti-ship missile complex designed by the Novator bureau at Yekaterinburg.

In October 2015, the Indian MoD signed the contract for mid-life refit of Project 877EKM submarine (INS Sindhukesari) in Russia. Rubin, as the ship designer, was involved in this contract from its inception. The second refit will add up to ten years to the specified service life of 25 years of INS Sindhukesari. Operating and combat characteristics of the ship will be improved as well. The ship will be equipped with a number of indigenous systems as requested by the Indian Ministry of Defence. We are sure that second refits will prove a high modernisation margin of Kilo-class submarines. It may be recalled that one of the Indian submarines of Project I641K was in service with the Indian Navy for thirty six years before she was finally decommissioned in 2011.

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