Project 971U Schuka-B nuclear submarine Magadan will return to service a year earlier – already at the beginning of 2022, and not by 2023, as planned. Moreover, it will not only be repaired, but also modernized. In particular, the armament complex will be updated. Prior to that, the nuclear submarine had stood at the plant for more than seven years, awaiting repairs. Project 971 boats are considered one of the most dangerous in the world. They are practically not heard by hydroacoustic stations, and a whole arsenal of torpedoes and mines is placed on board these submarines.
The Defense Ministry is finalizing the approval of a new schedule for repairing the K-331 Magadan multipurpose nuclear submarine, Izvestia sources in the military department said. According to a previously signed contract, the submarine was planned to be returned to service by the end of 2022. However, the schedule was adjusted – now the ship should go for testing in late 2021 – early 2022.
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“Pike-B” belongs to the third generation submarines. The first of these were transferred to the Navy in the mid-1980s. All ships of this project became part of two fleets – the North and the Pacific. The ships received their current names already in the post-Soviet period – before they were designated by a code combination of letters and numbers. The boats that are part of the Pacific Fleet are named after the cities and inhabitants of the sea. And the North Sea are obliged by their names to the first submarines of the imperial fleet – “Panther”, “Cheetah”, “Tiger”, “Wolf”, “Boar” and “Leopard”.
Submarine K-331 entered the USSR Navy under the new 1991 year. She served in the 45th submarine division of the Pacific Fleet, since 1998 – in the 10th division. In 1993 it was named “Narwhal”. In 2001, by order of the Pacific Fleet commander, it was renamed “Magadan”.
Since the end of the last decade, the submarine has been awaiting repairs. Active work began in 2019.
– A series of Project 636.3 diesel-electric submarines is currently under construction, one of which was named Magadan when it was laid down. So it is possible that the K-331 will be renamed after the completion of the repair, – said military historian Dmitry Boltenkov to Izvestia.
According to the expert, the submarines of the Schuka-B project are still not outdated.
“These are very good warships of the third generation, which include, for example, American boats of the Los Angeles class,” noted Dmitry Boltenkov. “However, their commissioning took place in the early 1990s, when the fleet did not receive funding. Therefore, most of the nuclear submarines of this series are undergoing long-term repairs.
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During the design and construction of the Schuka-B project, a deep modernization reserve was incorporated, the former commander of the nuclear submarine, Captain First Rank Igor Kurdin, told Izvestia.
“The rugged case is designed for decades of work,” he said. – If we install new weapons systems, control system, hydroacoustics, then the boat will be able to effectively serve for a long time. “Pike-B” refers to the so-called hunting boats. Today boats of the Yasen-M project are being built in this class, but this process is rather slow. And we need hunting boats to track strategic missile submarines. And while we do not have enough “Ash”, “Pike-B” needs to be repaired, modernized and left in service.
Ships of the Shchuka-B project are efficient and quiet, with good search capabilities, which have shown themselves to be excellent in combat operation.
“In the 1990s, it was on them that the Russian presence in the Pacific and Arctic Oceans was kept,” recalled Igor Kurdin. – The current head of the Main Directorate of Deep-Sea Research of the Ministry of Defense, Vice Admiral Alexei Burilichev, received the Hero of Russia Star when he commanded the K-461 Wolf of Project 971U: in 1996 he discovered an American submarine with ballistic missiles and tracked its movements for a long time.
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Submarines of the Shchuka-B project have played an important role in other events of recent decades.
During the US military operation in Serbia in 1996, the “Wolf” watched off the coast of Yugoslavia for the submarines of NATO countries, including the American class “Los Angeles”. In 2012, the unexpected appearance of “Pike” in the Gulf of Mexico caused a lot of noise in the overseas press – the Americans did not expect to see Russian ships in these waters. All the more so during the exercises of the US Navy aircraft carrier group.
One of the boats of the project – “Nerpa” – was specially modernized and in 2012 leased to the Indian Navy. There it is still exploited under the name “Chakra”.
In recent years, the Navy has been actively strengthening its underwater component. In December last year, a new diesel-electric submarine of project 636.3 Volkhov, named after a city in the Leningrad Region, was launched from the stocks. It is equipped with the Kalibr strike missile system, the latest navigation and noise isolation systems. The submarine can dive to a depth of 300 m and be autonomous for 45 days. In addition, the strategic nuclear submarine Knyaz Vladimir of the Borey-A project is being prepared for transfer to the Navy.