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Project 945 Barracuda / Sierra class
Attack Submarine (Nuclear Powered)

In 1975, work began in parallel on the creation of promising third-generation submarines at the Malakhit Central Design Bureau (Bars) and the Lazurit Central Design Bureau (Barracuda). Presumably, until this time, the series of boats under construction completely satisfied the Navy. Later, parallel construction of similar projects of these design bureaus began. “Lazuritovskaya” titanium boat in magnetic fields really surpassed the “Malachitovskaya”, but it turned out to be four times more expensive.

The tactical and technical assignment on the development of a large atomic multi-purpose submarine was issued in March 1972. At the same time, the Navy was set to limit displacement within the limits that ensure the construction of ships in the country's internal plants (in particular - at the Red Sormovo Gorky Plant). The main purpose of the new APL of the project 945 (Barracuda cipher) should have been tracking missile submarines and aircraft shock groups of a potential opponent, as well as guaranteed destruction of these goals with the start of hostilities. The chief designer of the project was N.I. Kvash, and the main observing from the National Institute - I.P. Bogachenko.

In the West, the boats were called Sierra. The further development of the project boat 945 was the submarine project 945A. (cipher "Condor"). Its main difference from the ships of the previous series was a modified composition of weapons, which included six 533 mm torpedo devices. In the boat ammunition, the strategic winged Rockets "Pomegranate" were included, designed to defeat terrestrial targets for a distance of up to 3000 km. The boat was equipped with eight sets of CRKK self-defense "Needle".

The number of waterproof compartments has increased to seven. The boat received an improved energy setting with a capacity of 48,000 hp. with OK-650B reactor (190 MW). In the retractable speakers, there were two submissive devices (370 liters. P.). In terms of the level of demassing signs (noise and magnetic field), the 545a project boat became the most unlosable in the Soviet fleet. At the APL installed an improved "Skat-CS" gas with digital signal processing. The complex includes a low-frequency extended towed antenna, placed in a container located on a vertical plumage. The ship was equipped with a compound of communication "Symphony".

The first advanced ship, K-534 "Zubatka", was laid in Sorov in June 1986, launched into water in July 1988 and entered into operation on December 28, 1990. In 1986, Zubatka was renamed "Pskov". Then followed by the K-336 "Okun" (laid in May 1990, launched in June 1992 and entered service in 1993). In 1995, this submarine was also renamed Nizhny Novgorod. A fifth submarine, built on an improved project 945b ("Mars") and in its characteristics practically relevant to the requirements for boats of the 4th generation, was cut up in Pekhel in 1993.

The hulls were built at the factory Krasnoye Soromovo in Nizhny Novgorod and towed in dock via inland waterways to Severodvinsk where construction and testing were completed. By 1976 it had become evident that existing industrial infrastructure was inadequate to mass produce the expensive titanium hulls of this class, and that consequently production rates would not meet force level requirements. Consequently, the Akula attack submarine project using a steel hull was initiated. Construction of the Sierra class was halted in favor of the [probably] less expensive 'Akula' class.

Some analysts suggested that as many as 26 units of the Sierra II class may have been planned. It is generally accepted that one Project 945A Sierra-II unit was laid down [possibly with the name "Mars"] but cancelled prior to completion. This unit may have been the first of a further modified design, designated Project 945B Mars. According to some sources, three units of the Project 945B series were scrapped on the stocks.

A total of four Project 945 and 945A submarines were built in Russia. Authoritative sources provide substantially conflicting information concerning the chronology of this class. More significantly, while some sources [ , World Navies Today and USNI Military Database ] suggest that only two units of the Sierra-I class were built, other sources [Bellona and Russia's (USSR) Arms Catalog ] suggest that in fact four units were constructed, a claim which is bolstered by the apparently precise construction chronology for the units. One source of potential confusion is that no sources report pennant numbers for the Barracuda or Kondor, which would appear to reflect a confusion between the class name and the name of individual units. The chronology in Russia's (USSR) Arms Catalog evidently is partially derived from that of Bellona, which is suspect because of the discrepancy between the apparent "as of" date of the document and the reported dates of the chronology. Closer inspection reveals greater consistency in reported milestone dates than in the units or events to which these dates are attributed.

The Project 945 boats were deployed with the Red Banner Northern Fleet, and based in Ara Bay at the Vidyayevo Naval Base. On 11 February 1992, the K-239 Tula [ex-Karp] collided with the American submarine Baton Rouge just off Kildin Island near the Kola Coast. After the collision, the submarine returned to base, but it was later transferred to Zvezdochka Shipyard in Severodvinsk for upgrades, maintenance and repair. As of April 1995, K-239 was still at the shipyard in Severodvinsk.

K-276 Krab was decommissioned in 1997, after only seven years in service, due to a lack of funding for a needed overhaul. Most sources report that both Project 945A class submarines were decommissioned in 1997 as a result of high operating costs, though some sources suggest they may remain in service.

As of January 2003, Janes thought that only one Sierra was thought to be operational, while USNI Military Database thought there were 3 in service [2 SIERRA-II-class and 1 SIERRA-I-class]. As of 2007 the International Institute of Strategic Studies reported that there were two SIERRA-II-class boats in service, with one SIERRA-I-class unit reported "in reserve". The "in reserve" construct can be difficult to understand at times. The Soviets seemed never to throw anything away, but at least followed much the same practice as the US Navy, namely that older warships that were inactive and unlikely to return to service were stored in separate anchorages from ships which remained part of the active fleet, even if currently undergoing maintenance. The post-Soviet Russian Navy has not been quite so fastidious, possibly not itself knowing or being able to acknowledge the mid-term fate of many ships. The result was submarine bases at which evidently active boats were moored along side submarines that had not gotten under way for some years. Even during the Soviet era, the Red Fleet spent far more time in port than at sea, and more recent Russian practice may represent a sensible extension of an operational lethargy focused more on preserving difficult to maintain hardware than on honing crew skills. During the 1990s the status "in reserve" was frequently taken as the equivalent of "stricken" but as some long-dormant vessels returned to life in the new century, "in reserve" may simply mean awaiting reactivation.

The Russian Navy will refit, modernize and recommission two Sierra class (Project 945) titanium-hull nuclear-powered attack submarines by 2017, the Zvezdochka shipyard said on 05 March 2013. The shipyard signed a modernization contract for the Karp and the Kostroma with the Defense Ministry in December 2012. The K-239 Karp (Carp) was the first Project 945 (Barrakuda) submarine, which entered service with the Soviet Navy in 1984. Karp has been sitting at the shipyard since 1994, and the submarine’s titanium hull “is in a very good condition” but a significant part of its equipment is missing. The submarines’ sonar and navigation systems will be replaced and their reactors refuelled. The K-276 Kostroma was commissioned in 1986 and had to be repaired after a February 11, 1992 collision with the American submarine USS Baton Rouge (SSN-689) while on patrol off Kildin Island near Severomorsk. The US Navy said the collision occurred more than 12 miles (22 km) from shore, in international waters. In addition to the Karp and the Kostroma, the Pskov and the Nizhny Novgorod were built in the early 1990's and were in service with the Northern Fleet.

The Russian Defense Ministry has signed a contract to refit two Soviet-era Sierra-class multipurpose nuclear submarines, the Zvezdochka shipyard said 14 May 2014. "A contract was signed with the Defense Ministry to extensively refit two Project 945 [NATO reporting name Sierra]. One of the submarines has remained at the shipyard for over 10 years, the other will arrive this year," spokesman Yevgeny Gladyshev said. The refit will extend the submarines' service for about 10 years. The shipyard's workers were removing nuclear fuel from the reactor of the first submarine, the Karp, laid down in 1987. The submarine's refit was expected to be completed in 2017.

On December 28, 2015, “Pskov” sailed from Nerpa to her home base Vidyayevo on the Kola Peninsula, some 80 kilometres east of Russia’s border to Norway. The hull of “Pskov” is one of the most expensive ever built among the world’s fleet of underwater warfare vessels. Titanuim was used by the Soviet Union enabling the submarine to dive to greater depths since the hull is stronger and lighter and therefor resists pressure better than steel. Unlike steel titanium does not corrode. Construction of “Pskov” – those days known under the name B-336 – started in 1989 and the submarine was commissioned in 1993 as the last one built in titanium. The modernisation allowed to significantly extend the operating life of the submarine and continue its further operation in the Arctic.

By 2018 there were two nuclear submarines of Project 945 Barracuda at the disposal of the Navy. They were planned to be updated and improved. Since 2013 the ship K-239 "Karp" was under repair. Due to the age of the technology, it took a lot of time and energy to restore it. In addition, the project provides for the replacement of a part of the on-board equipment and ensuring compatibility with the Kalibr-PL missile system. As a result, the work on the "Karp" will have to be completed only by the end of the decade. Soon after this, the second submarine of project 945 - K-276 Kostroma will arrive at the Zvezdochka plant. Its modernization will continue, at least until the mid-twenties.

Director of the "Zvezdochka" ship repair center Sergey Marichev shared his opinion on the possible repair of the 945 submarines. Repair of two titanium submarines of the project 945 "Karp" and "Kostroma" was suspended indefinitely, director of the center of ship repair "Star" Sergei Marichev said in an interview with TASS 25 July 2018.

"The contract for the repair of these ships was concluded in 2012 and, according to the customer's order, was suspended in 2015. Decisions on the inventory of the orders have not yet been made. From the point of view of technology, in my opinion, the decision was made right: the expediency of repairing and modernizing titanium ships questionable, " said Marichev. The head of the enterprise noted that these are complex submarines, and therefore problems with the equipment are inevitable. At the same time, working with titanium bodies requires special conditions. "Objectively speaking, repairing them will be more expensive and more difficult, exploit and maintain technical readiness - too, and according to characteristics the ship will not exceed other projects of multi-purpose nuclear submarines," Marichev said.

"At the same time, the range of tasks that these ships will be able to solve after modernization is not wider than those that the same "Barca" and "Yaseni" will solve. Objectively speaking, repairing them will be more expensive and more difficult, exploit and maintain technical readiness - too, and the characteristics of the ship will not exceed other projects of multi-purpose nuclear submarines."

Produced in the USSR in the 1980s under the project 945 "Barracuda", the hulls of which are made of titanium, will be updated and will be returned to the service of the Navy, newspaper Izvestia reported 10 October 2019. The decision to restore Barracuda was made in January at a meeting with the Commander-in-law of the Navy Viktor Chirkov, said the publication of a high-ranking source in the commander of the Navy. "It was not a spontaneous decision, we carefully calculated and concluded that it was economically more advisable to restore the boats than to dispose of", "the interlocutor explained.

At that time the fleet had four titanium atomic submarines (except for mini-boats for deep-water research): two projects 945 "Barracuda" - K-239 "Karp" and K-276 "Kostroma" and two titanium boats of the modernized project 945a "Condor "- K-336" Pskov "and K-534" Nizhny Novgorod " All APLs are part of the 7th division of submarines of the Northern Fleet (P. Vidyaevo), but since 1994, from 1994, is located at the "Star" ship repair plant in anticipation of recovery. The contract for the repair of the first two boats was signed with the "asterisk". According to the document, the plant must carry out a medium repair with the modernization of two boats. As the newspaper explained one of the top managers of the "stars", the nuclear fuel and all electronics will be replaced by the boats, and the mechanical parts will be checked and repaired. In addition, the repair will also hold on nuclear reactors.

"On schedule until the end of April, the boat K-239" Carp "should be transferred from the balance of the fleet to the plant's balance sheet. By this time, a defective should be carried out and a draft work was approved. The work themselves will begin on the first boat in the summer and will continue for 2-3 years, according to an optimistic scenario. Perhaps the timing will be delayed because it is not yet clear with the suppliers of components. After the carp, we will put on repair "Kostroma", "said the spokesman.

According to preliminary data, titanium submarines will receive new hydroacoustic stations, combat information and control systems, radar with the radiotechnical exploration station, the navigation system based on GLONASS / GPS. In addition, the boats will change the system of weapons and teach them to shoot with covered missiles from the "CALIBR" complex (Club-S).

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Page last modified: 19-12-2021 19:00:08 ZULU