Russia’s Defence Ministry has lost patience with the disappointing performance of the latest generation of diesel-electric submarine. Saint Petersburg, lead vessel of the Project 677 (Lada class), began sea trials in 2005 but has suffered from major propulsion problems and significant delays in the development of her sonar and combat system that have resulted in the navy announcing the boat will not be accepted.
The Rubin-designed vessel had been the planned successor to the Project 636 (Kilo class). Two further submarines, Kronstadt and Sevastopol, are nearing completion, so their future is uncertain. The outcome also has repercussions for Admiralty Shipyards’ export aspirations, with a lucrative contract from India now almost certainly dead in the water. The Russian Navy’s own requirement for ten new diesel submarines for the Black Sea and Baltic will be met with more tried and tested Project 636 boats.