Submarines: July 25, 2003

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Just before the Cold War ended, Russia began designing a 4th generation diesel electric sub. Now known as the Lada class, the lead boat of the class (the Saint Petersburg) was laid down in 1996. Lack of money meant progress was slow, but the new sub is now about 85 percent complete and is expected to be ready for launching this Fall, or next Spring (there is too much ice in the Gulf of Finland during the Russian Winter for testing new subs.) The Ladas are smaller than the Kilos (1,765 tons versus 2,300 tons). The Ladas are also quieter, require smaller crews (about 24 sailors) and are highly automated. But the Ladas do not have AIP (Air Independent Propulsion) which would allow them to stay under water for days at a time. Several European diesel electric submarine classes do have AIP. There are no foreign customers for the Lada yet. India was interested for a while, then took a pass. Most potential foreign customers apparently see the Lada as just an improved Kilo, at least until there is at least one Lada in the water and able to show what it can do. 

 


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