Submarines: What Am I Bid For This Noisy Old Boat?

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July 6, 2007: Ukraine has
given up trying to get its sole submarine, a thirty year old Tango Class boat,
in working order. Ukraine inherited the sub when the Soviet Union broke up.
Wherever military equipment was when the split came, that was who owned it. The
Tango class boat was already 21 years old when Ukraine took possession, and the
sub was in need of repairs. Since then, some $7 million has been spent on the
boat, and another $3 million is required to make the sub seaworthy. But the new
government sees no need for a submarine. The entire Ukrainian fleet (of ships
that can put to sea) consists of one frigate, four corvettes and several patrol
boats. All Ukraine really needs is a coast guard, and that's all that it has at
the moment. So the nearly seaworthy sub will be sold off to whichever country
will offer a good price. That might mean an auction. The 2,800 ton Tango class
boats were designed for coastal defense, although they were rather large for
that. They have six 21 inch torpedo tubes, and can carry 24 torpedoes. It's a
37 year old fixer upper, based on a late World War II German design. By modern
standards, the Tango class boats are noisy, and high maintenance. At least it
would be interesting to see who would show up for the auction. Getting the sub
out of the Black Sea should not be a problem. The 1936 Montreux Convention,
which gives Turkey the right to restrict the passage of warships through the
Bosporus, explicitly allows single subs on their way to or from repair
facilities. That would appear to fit Ukraines fixer-upper.

 


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