September 11, 2006: Russia continues to experience serious problems with its nuclear subs. At the end of August, there was a fire in a Victor III class boat off the northern coast of Russia. Two sailors were killed, and several more injured. The fire was put out, the nuclear reactor was safely shut down and the sub was towed back to it base at Vedyayevo.
The Victor III class subs are old, and most have been retired. There are only four of them left in service, and the one that had the fire, the Daniil Moskovskiy, will probably be retired as well. The 26 Victor III class boats began entering service in the early 1980s. The original Victor class was a 1960s design that attempted to match U.S. efforts. Didn't work, and the Russians later found out that the Victor class boats were so noisy, and easy for the Americans to track, that they would not stand much of a chance in combat. So, in the mid-1970s, work began on a new, quieter class, of boats, the Victor IIIs. These were quieter, but not quiet enough. The Victors were basically targets, all of them. The Russians loaded the Victor IIIs up with lots of new weapons (cruise missiles and rocket powered torpedoes), but serving on one of these boats in wartime was basically a suicide mission.
In addition to all that, the Victors had a bad reputation when it came to mechanical reliability. Many accidents, and many times when, at sea, crucial systems were not operational. When all the Victors are decommissioned, they will not be missed (except, perhaps, by American sailorsâ€¦)