Yankee class submarine


Yankee class submarine

The "Yankee" class is the general NATO classification for a type of nuclear-powered submarine that was originally constructed by the Soviet Union from 1968 onward. In the USSR, they were produced under Project 667. The 24 built at Severodvinsk for the Northern Fleet were known as the "Navaga" (after the fish) class, while the remaining 10 built in Komsomolsk-na-Amur for the Pacific Fleet were the "Nalim" ("burbot") class. Though "K-137 Leninets" was the first "Navaga" to enter service, Soviet (and Russian) ship classes are not named for their "lead ships."

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Service

The Yankees were the first class of Soviet subs to have comparable ballistic missile firepower to their American counterparts. "Yankee" subs were quieter than their "Hotel"-class predecessors (but still louder than NATO submarines) and had smoother lines that improved their submerged performance. The ships were armed with 16 ballistic missiles during the Cold War, and served in the Soviet front lines: in the 1970s up to three "Yankee"s were continually stationed in a "patrol box" east of Bermuda. [http://www.theroyalgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051230/MIDOCEAN/112300121] Their forward deployment was seen as a balance against the presence of American and NATO nuclear weapons in Western Europe.
One ship of the class, "K-219", was lost on October 6, 1986 after an explosion and fire on board. The ship had been near Bermuda, and was scuttled after attempts at towing. Four crewmen died before rescue arrived. At least one other ship in the class was involved in a collision with an American submarine. As a result of the SALT I and START I/II treaties, most boats of the "Yankee"-class have been decommissioned and/or disarmed.

Variants

There were seven different versions of the Yankee subs (most of which are no longer in service):
*"Yankee I (Project 667A):" The baseline configuration, these were ballistic missile submarines that first saw service in 1968; 34 were built. The subs carried 16 SS-N-6 missiles, had 6 torpedo tubes, and carried 18 Type 53 torpedoes. They were the first Soviet SSBNs to carry their ballistic missiles within the hull (as opposed to the sail).
*"Yankee II (Project 667AM/Navaga M-class):" A single-ship class, this was a Yankee I submarine ("K-140") converted to carry 12 SS-N-17 missiles, which was the Red Fleet's first solid-fuelled SLBM. The existence of this individual prototype led to several theories about the "Yankee II" having a unique role in the Soviet arsenal that justified maintaining a single ship with such a unique weapon. One theory suggested that it was designed to perform an emergency satellite-launching function. Subsequently, it was proposed that the SS-N-17 may have had a retargeting capability to allow strikes on aircraft carrier battle groups.

*"Yankee Notch (Project 667AT/Grosha-class):" This conversion subs were attack submarines that first appeared in 1983; six Yankee I boats were rebuilt to this configuration. They incorporated a "notch waisted" center section, which replaced the old ballistic missile compartment, featuring eight 533 mm (21-inch) torpedo tubes for up to 40 SS-N-21 missiles or additional torpedoes. The forward torpedo tubes were retained as well, with some reports suggesting that the vessels may have also been able to fire 650 mm (26.5-inch) Type 65 torpedoes. The emphasis on additional SS-N-21 missile carriage suggested a tactical role for these submarines, or as second-strike nuclear submarines. Their configuration was a combination of SALT treaty limitations (which affected SLBMs but not cruise missiles) and a typical Soviet unwillingness to completely discard any military hardware that might still have some use. The conversion increased the overall length by 12 m (39.4 feet) to 141.5 m (464.2 feet), with a displacement of up to 11,500 tons submerged. While classed as SSNs (attack subs), these boats might also be considered SSGNs by virtue of their heavy missile armament.
*"Yankee Sidecar (Project 667AM/Andromeda-class)" Also known as "Yankee SSGN", this was another single-ship (in this case "K-420") class, converted into an SSGN. It appeared in 1983, carrying 12 SS-NX-24 nuclear-tipped cruise missiles instead of the original ballistic missiles. The SS-NX-24 was an experimental cruise missile, with a supersonic flight regime and twin nuclear warheads. It was meant as a tri-service strategic weapon, and thus would have filled a rather different role than the tactically-oriented "Oscar"-class SSGNs of the same era. In the end, the missile was not adopted, and the "K-420" became a weapon system without a weapon. It was fully 13,650 tons displacement (dived), and was even longer than the Yankee Notch to accommodate the massive cruise missiles; it was 153 m (501.8 feet) long overall.
*"Yankee SSN" 16 of this type were converted from the basic Yankee I specification. Some were not completely converted, although they cannot carry ballistic missiles, so they were called Yankee SSNX. They retained only their forward torpedo tubes, with the central missile sections having been removed. Some are being scrapped.
*"Yankee Pod (Project 09774)" The Yankee Pod (also known as the Yankee SSAN is a converted trials submarine for sonar equipment, with the namesake pod mounted atop the rudder (a la "Victor III"-class SSNs. It had other sensor systems incorporated as well, notably alongside the sail.
*"Yankee Stretch (Project 09780)" "K-411", the Yankee Stretch conversion, is a "mothership" for "Paltus"-class mini-submarines. It is fully 160 m (525 feet) in length, making it the largest of the "Yankee" conversions. Like the Yankee Pod, it lacked missile armament. Its mission was believed to be a combination of oceanographic research, search and rescue, and underwater intelligence-gathering. [ [http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ship/row/rus/1083.htm Paltus Class - Project 1083.1 ] ]

General characteristics (Yankee I)

*Length: 128.0 m (420 ft)
*Beam: 11.7 m (38 ft)
*Draught: 9 m (29 ft)
*Displacement: 7,760/11,500 tonnes surfaced/dived
*Speed: convert|28|kn|km/h|0
*Power plant: 2 VM-4 reactors
*Hull: Low magnetic steel
*Crew: 114
*Compartments: 10
*Armament:
**6 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes for 18 Type 53 torpedoes or mines.
**16 SS-N-6 liquid-fueled ballistic missiles

Yankees in Fiction

In the Tom Clancy book "The Hunt for Red October", Yankee-class submarines, along with the rest of the Soviet SSBN fleet, return to their home ports to avoid confusing Soviet hunters during the frantic search for the "Red October".

In another Tom Clancy novel, "Red Storm Rising", the Soviet Union begins decommissioning its fleet of Yankee-class submarines in an attempt to convince the United States of Russian sincerity in lessening tensions between the two superpowers.

Popular Culture

During an October 1986 episode of Saturday Night Live, Weekend Update "anchor" Dennis Miller referred to "K-219" (which had recently sunk near Bermuda) as "Chernobyl Breeze" and suggested he had been the Soviet Union's intended entry into the America's Cup yacht race.

References

* [http://www.nationalgeographic.com/k19/sub_detail_sov4.html National Geographic: Yankee class] accessed March 14, 2004.
* [http://www.ais.org/~schnars/aero/nato-shp.htm NATO Code Names for Submarines and Ships] accessed March 14, 2004.
* [http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/russia/slbm/667A.htm Federation of American Scientists: Yankee class] accessed June 11, 2006.
* [http://www.bellona.no/imaker?sub=1&id=10107 Bellona Report: Project 667 A (Nalim, Navaga) - Yankee Class] accessed June 11, 2006.
* [http://www.hazegray.org/worldnav/russia/submar.htm World Navies Today: Russian Submarines] accessed June 11, 2006.
*Jane's Fighting Ships of the World, 1994.


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