- Soviet submarine K-77
"K-77" was a project 651 (also known by its
NATO reporting nameof "Juliett class") cruise-missile submarine of the Soviet Navy. Her keel was laid down in the Krasnoye Sormovoshipyard in Gorkyon 31 January 1963. She was launchedon 11 March 1965, and commissioned on 31 October 1965into the Northern Fleet.
"K-77" was built later in the Juliett class, so her hull was conventional steel and her battery was of the conventional lead-acid type, rather than the austenitic steel and silver-zinc batteries used in the first "Juliett"s. K-77 was also used as the set for the motion picture "", starring
Harrison Fordand Liam Neeson.
The details of "K-77"’s career remain largely unknown. "Juliett"-class submarines were used to follow
United States Navyaircraft carrier battle groups in the North Atlantic Oceanand the Mediterranean Sea. Circumstantial evidence indicates that "K-77" often patrolled the Mediterranean, off the coast of West Africa, and at least once in the Caribbean Seanear the United States Virgin Islands. Papers found aboard her during inspection in Helsinki suggest that she had shadowed Norwegian "Kobben"-class submarines.
At some point in her career, "K-77" (the K standing for крейсерская, "kreyserskaya" — "cruiser") was redesignated "B-77" (the B standing for большая, "bolshaya" — "large"). In 1987, "K-77" was withdrawn from the
blue-water Northern Fleetand transferred to the Baltic Fleet. The redesignation and transfer could easily be related.
The Soviet Navy began withdrawing the "Juliett"s from active service beginning in 1988. "K-77" was decommissioned sometime after 1991, and by the end of 1994, all "Juliett"s had been retired.
At the end of the
Cold War, Finnish businessman Jari Komulainen, who was married to the only daughter of President of Finland Mauno Koivisto, used his influence as Finland's "first son-in-law" to convince the Russian government to lease him a Project 641 "Foxtrot", probably the ex- Soviet submarine B-39. Komulainen opened it to the public in Helsinkiin the spring of 1993 as a tourist attraction. He then purchased two "Juliett"-class submarines, one "Juliett" replaced the "Foxtrot" in 1994, becoming a bar and restaurant as well as a tourist attraction. Komulainen believed that his restaurant had been "K-81"," based on a metal plate discovered inside the boat. However, it later transpired that that plate and others bearing different numbers were provided for the crew to display on the submarine's sail during surface running to confuse NATOreconnaissance aircraft.
As a restaurant, "K-77" was modestly successful but was not lucrative enough to satisfy Komulainen. In 1998, he leased his submarine to a Canadian promoter, who towed it to
Tampa Bay, Florida. However, the intended mooring location in the harbor was too shallow and the investors were forced to move the proposed tourist attraction to a more remote site. Soon, the promoter filed for bankruptcy, and "K-77" reverted to Komulainen.
Komulainen did not want to repeat the nerve-wracking trans-Atlantic tow, and instead tried at least twice to auction the submarine on
eBay— auctions #222791130, ending on 20 December 1999, and #270148521, ending on 7 March 2000. In each case, bidding was to start at US$1 million. No bids were received.
The eBay auction, however, caught the attention of
Intermedia Film Equities, Limited, who chartered "K-77" for US$200,000 and towed her to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to become the set for the motion picture "", starring Harrison Fordand Liam Neeson.
In 2002, after the movie wrapped, the submarine was purchased by the USS "Saratoga" Museum Foundation, towed to
Collier Point Parkin Providence, Rhode Island, and opened to the public in August 2002.
It was the Museum Foundation that determined that the submarine was "K-77", based on the records they found aboard, which included maintenance reports, equipment exchanges, radio messages, duty rosters, log entries and torpedo firing exercises.
The submarine sank on April 18, 2007 after a storm and plans were made to raise it off the river bottom. [ [http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2007/04/19/providence_submarine_museum_sinks/ Providence submarine museum sinks - The Boston Globe ] ]
The Museum's theory on why the sub sank is that a modified hatch was not properly watertight. [ [http://www.juliett484.org/juliett/news/archive/whathappened.html WHAT HAPPENED?] ]
Recovery efforts by U.S. Navy and Army divers began in June 2008 as part of a project to train military divers through real-world, community-based projects. [http://www.flickr.com/photos/soldiersmediacenter/2570461288/ - Photo of recovery operation.] [ [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,295835,00.html FOXNews.com - Sunken Submarine Becomes Training Ground for Navy and Army Divers - Blogs ] ]
June 2, 2008, divers from l|Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit Two in Norfolk, Virginiaarrived and began preparations to raise the sub.
The work of raising the submarine and pumping out water was completed in August 2008. [ [http://www.projo.com/ri/providence/content/MC_SUNKEN_SUB_09-09-08_93BC053_v19.1a5beb2.html Providence Journal] ]
* [http://macsnavylinks.ca/macamodius/ Ships of the K-19: Widowmaker Movie - Photos] from Mac's Navy Links
* [http://www.military.com/news/article/navy-news/navy-army-work-to-raise-sunken-sub.html?ESRC=army.nl] Military.com, June 25, 2008: Navy and Army work to raise sunken K-77
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