Russia’s first class of AIP-powered submarines, Project 677 Lada, the B-585 St. Petersburg officially entered service in May 2010.

Air-independent propulsion AIP is the technological solution that allows a non-nuclear submarine to operate without access to atmospheric oxygen by surfacing or using a snorkel. In theory, AIP technology can can augment or replace the diesel-electric propulsion system of non-nuclear vessels. The development of AIP is expected to change the way submarines work, creating “killers” at sea, capable of stalking and sinking enemy submarines in a challenging anti-submarine warfare.

Russia’s first class of AIP-powered submarines, Project 677 Lada, the B-585 St. Petersburg officially entered service in May 2010. And most recently, the second boat of the class, the Kronshtadt B-586, has begun the final stages of sea trials. The commissioning team will test torpedo-rocket weapons, and check the maneuverability of elements in a submerged position and steering devices at maximum speed.

Lada class, Russian designation Project 677 Lada is the new advanced class of diesel-electric attack submarine designed by the Russian Rubin Design Bureau. A program to develop a “fourth generation” diesel-electric submarine, it aimed to produce a highly improved version of the Project 636 with better acoustic signature, new combat systems and possibly air-independent propulsion. The submarines can be deployed in anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare operations, protection of naval bases, reconnaissance and patrol missions.

Project 677 submarines measuring 66.8 meters in length. They can dive to a maximum stated depth of 300 meters and can operate non-stop for 45 days with a crew of 35. The ship incorporates a mono-hull design. The surface displacement was reduced to 1,765 tons from 2,300 tons of the double-hulled Kilo Class submarine. The full submerged speed was increased from 19 knot to 21 knots. The hull is covered with a new anti-sonar coating for low acoustic signature.

Lada Class uses hydrogen-oxygen fuel cells, generating electricity for low noise operation. The submarine is fitted with Litiy automated combat control system. The integrated system controls the combat and technical systems of the submarine. The propulsion system provides a submerged cruising range of 7,500 nmi at an economical speed of 3 knots. The maximum diving depth is 300m. The submerged displacement of the boat is 2,700t.

Lada Class is armed with club-S submarine-launched cruise missiles. The missile can be fired from standard torpedo tubes. Club-S carries up to 400kg warheads and can strike land and naval targets within a range of 300km. The six 533mm torpedo tubes fitted on the ship can launch up to 18 torpedoes, tube-launched anti-submarine and anti-ship missiles.

The Lada Class submarines are fitted with modern sonar equipment such as bow, flank arrays and towed array sonars. The Lira sonar system with quasi-conformal antenna can detect low-noise targets located at long ranges. The ship has an inertial navigation system for safe navigation and determination of motion parameters. The system ensures the accuracy of on-board weapons by providing guidance during long underwater operations. The countermeasures are provided by the electronic support measures system, radar warning receiver and direction finder.

Lada-class submarines were expected to replace their six Improved Kilo-class predecessors but the Russian Navy has already ordered the construction of additional two Improved Kilo-class boats due to the setbacks experienced with the Lada-class subs.

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