The first Lada in service. Construction took 14 years

Andrei Baranov deputy director of the construction bureau of CKB MT “Rubin”, via RIA Novosti news agency, reported that the B-585 Sankt-Petersburg submarine, the first built under the 677 Lada project, has completed trial operation after 10 years and has become a combat vessel.

Sankt-Pietierburg became part of the 161st Submarine Brigade of the Northern Fleet previously operating Project 877 Paltus vessels, and stationed at the Polarnyy base.

The keel of the prototype Lada was laid at the Admiralty shipyard in Saint Petersburg 26 December 1997, and launched on 28 October 2004. During its sea trials serious problems with the propulsion system and other onboard systems were found. As a result, the vessel’s takeover by the Navalny-Morskoy Fleet (WMF) was postponed until 2006.

It was initially changed to December 2007 and then to May 2010. Thanks to the cooperation between the Rubin construction bureau, which designed these ships, and the shipyard, sea trials were finally completed. However, it was not possible to remove all construction defects. Consequently, on 22 April 2010 the ship was accepted for service in the WMF as an experimental unit, not a combat one. On 8 May 2010 the Russian flag was raised on her and she was included into the Northern Fleet.

Unsuccessful new generation

The problems with the prototype ship’s systems could have had serious consequences for the program of the construction of the vessels, which were to be the successors of the famous and successful Pałtus (designs 877 and 636.3), popularly known as Warszawianki, and were to be produced both for the Navy’s own needs and for export. In November 2011 it was even announced that Voyenno-Morskoy Fleet would give up building Ład.

However, already in July 2012 the then Commander of the Russian Fleet Admiral Viktor Chirkov decided to conditionally resume their production according to the modified design. The decision to reintroduce the ships of this type into the plans for the purchase of military equipment should be read primarily as a desire to support its own shipbuilding industry and increase its chances for foreign contracts for the export version of the Ład – proj. 677E (Amur-1650).

Serial ships of proj. 677 have modernized deck equipment control system, electric propulsion system and navigation system. In addition, it is still said that in the future they will be equipped with an air-independent propulsion (AIP), on which their designer, the Rubin construction bureau from St. Petersburg, is working, so far without success.

The first serial Lada – Kronsztadtwhich was laid down on 28 July 2005 and launched on 20 September 2018, is still undergoing tethering tests. Already planned for 2019, the vessel’s departure to sea has still not taken place, which does not bode well. According to optimistic plans, it is expected to enter service next year and strengthen the Pacific Fleet.

The second of the serial ships under construction – Velikiye Luki, the keel of which under its current name was laid on March 19, 2015 (the start of construction of this vessel according to the original project and under the name Sevastopol took place on November 10, 2006), is prepared for launching and is also expected to enter service in 2022.

In June 2019, during the Armiya 2019 exhibition held in Moscow, the Admiralty Shipyard wierfi signed a contract with the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation for the construction of two more submarines of this type, to be the fourth and fifth units of the series. To date, however, the keels of these vessels have not been officially laid. However, on 25 August this year, also during the Armenia exhibition, a contract for the construction of another unit, proj. 677, was signed. This may mean that the production of the newest ships of this type will start only after the conclusions of the shipyard tests of the modified units are gathered.

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