Submarine "Som": interesting facts of history

History 2023

Table of contents:

Submarine "Som": interesting facts of history
Submarine "Som": interesting facts of history

Diesel-electric submarines "Som" under project 641b The Soviet Union began to build in 1971 at the shipbuilding plant "Krasnoye Sormovo" in Gorky (now Nizhny Novgorod). "Tango" is the NATO reporting name given to this class of large ocean-going submarines.

Design Features

For that time it was the largest non-nuclear submarine. Its length was 90 meters, the crew - 78 people, including seventeen officers. Two versions of boats of this class were built. Later machines were somewhat longer than early counterparts. Design changes required the more modern SS-N-15 nuclear anti-submarine torpedoes, which entered service in 1973.

The tango had a well-streamlined double hull, without the many noisy loose filler holes or protrusions found on many earlier Soviet submarines. This made it much quieter and faster than its predecessor, the foxtrot class. Underwater speed increased to 16.6 knotsagainst 15.0 for boats built according to the basic project 641.

sea ​​patrol

The larger size of the case has significantly increased the capacity of the batteries. The boat could be submerged for more than a week before it needed to surface to take in air.

Submarines of this class were equipped with modern electronic equipment. For the first time in the history of the Soviet fleet, a combat information and control system was installed on a diesel-electric submarine, part of which was an automatic targeting and fire control system.

The sonar system was also fundamentally new.

The conditions for the accommodation of the crew have also become more comfortable. The design of the living compartments provided for the possibility of placing additional weapons in wartime.


In fact, the nautical performance of Som-class submarines was comparable to nuclear submarines. But there was also an undeniable advantage: diesel-electric submarines in navigation are more difficult to detect by acoustics of the enemy. Nuclear-powered submarines produce much more of the well-identifiable characteristic noise when moving.

The soundproofing of boats in this class was unique for its time. When installing the propulsion system, only soundproof foundations were used. The hull had a special anti-hydroacoustic lining on a rubber basis. This design decision made the Som 641b submarine acoustically inconspicuous for the detection equipment of that time.

Navy scoffers immediately called the submarine "rubber band". But many dreamed of serving on a modern, well-equipped boat

Scope of application

Under the water

The submarine was intended for use in ocean theaters of war. Reconnaissance at long-distance sea lanes, mining, destruction of surface and submarine ships, escort and protection of friendly convoys - to solve these problems, the submarine was equipped with all the necessary equipment and weapons.

Modern equipment, the ability to stay submerged for a long time and the acoustic coating on the outer hull made the Som submarine ideal for covert ambushes. There are several natural "lockpoints" in the oceans, and in the event of armed conflicts, it is these submarines that would be waiting for enemy surface and submarine ships in these places to attack.


The standard armament of the submarine consisted of six bow torpedo tubes with a caliber of 533 mm with an ammunition capacity of 24 torpedoes or 44 mines. The design provided for the possibility of placing another 12 torpedoes or 24 mines in the second living compartment.

torpedo room

The submarine carried anti-submarine and anti-ship torpedoes with a wake-homing head weighing 2 tons and 8 m long. The torpedo tubes were loaded using a special high-speed device. Mining was carried out through torpedo hatches.

Project 641b submarines in the fleet

The first submarine of this classleft the shipyard of the Gorky shipbuilding plant in 1972. After factory and state tests at the finishing base of the plant in Sevastopol, in a solemn ceremony, the Som submarine with the raising of the Navy flag was handed over to the fleet. A total of eighteen submarines of this class were built.

Western observers first saw the submarine at the Sevastopol Naval Parade on July 29, 1973.

As of the late 1980s, the Northern Fleet operated 15 tango-class submarines. And the B altic Fleet - three. One or two (depending on the political tension in the region) Som submarines of the Northern Fleet were constantly on duty in the Mediterranean Sea.

Remarkable is the fact that none of the vessels of this class was sold for export, despite the fact that the Soviet Union and Russia were actively trading in weapons at that time.

Submarine in the Atlantic


The Soviet Navy began decommissioning tango-class submarines even before the end of the Cold War. Most combat units of this class were decommissioned after 1995 and disposed of. The status of several submarines is currently unknown. Several submarines of this class have become museum exhibits.

Submarine - museum piece

In the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the budget of the Russian fleet was cut sharply. In order to keep the once so proud Navy afloat, they were forced to resort to the old, likeworld, way - to sell something unnecessary. Decommissioned ships and submarines turned out to be unnecessary.

Currently, you can visit many Soviet submarines around the world. B-39 - in Folkestone, B-143 - in Zeebrugge, B-413 - in Kaliningrad, B-39 - in San Diego, B-427 - in Long Beach (all foxtrot class), B-80 - in Amsterdam ("Zulu"), B-515 - in Hamburg ("tango"), U-359 - in Nakskov ("whiskey") and K-77 - in Providence USA ("Juliet"). These are diesel submarines built in the sixties and seventies of the last century. It is clear from the above list that the tango class is a rare museum piece.

Soviet submarine B-515 - landmark of Hamburg

Boat in Hamburg

NATO tango class submarine, or Som V-515, renamed U434. The boat, which was in service with the Soviet Northern Fleet from 1976 to 2002 and was on combat duty in the depths of the seas and oceans, was left practically unchanged. As a museum exhibit, it is very popular, allowing visitors to plunge into the life of a submariner for several hours.

History of the submarine U-434

In 2002, the submarine was bought by the submarine museum in Hamburg and towed from Murmansk to Germany. All weapons systems and electronic equipment were dismantled from the submarine before the sale.

The ship has been restored by Blom und Voss, Hamburg's most famous German shipyard. At one time onThe shipyard's stocks built the Bismarck, Scharnhorst, Admiral Hipper, Wilhelm Gustloff and many other surface and submarine ships of the Cold War era, known to the fleets of the whole world.

After restoration, the diesel-electric Soviet submarine "Som" of project 641b has permanently moored in Baakenhafen and is available to everyone.

Combat turrets of decommissioned and decommissioned Som-class submarines on display in Polyarny and Ryazan.

In Togliatti, Park of technology

In Russia, the Project 641b submarine can be visited at the Museum and Exhibition Complex of the Navy in Moscow and the Park Complex of the History of Technology named after K. G. Sakharov in Tolyatti.

Popular topic