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Intelligence collection submarine


The Sarov intelligence collection submarine can stay submerged for up to 20 days

Entered service 2009
Crew 52 men
Diving depth (operational) 300 m
Diving depth (maximum) ?
Sea endurance 45 days
Dimensions and displacement
Length 72.6 m
Beam 9.9 m
Draught 7 m
Surfaced displacement 2 300 tons
Submerged displacement 3 950 tons
Propulsion and speed
Surfaced speed 10 knots
Submerged speed 17 knots
Nuclear reactors 1 x ?
Diesel engines ?
Electric motors ?
Torpedoes 2 x 650-mm tubes (?)


   The Project 20120 Sargan is the Russia's top-secret special purpose submarine. Only one submarine of this project, the Sarov, was built to date. It is named after a Sarov closed city, which is a development and production center of the Russian nuclear weapons. First details about this submarine were accidentally revealed in 2007. Development of this vessel commenced in 1988. Construction was started in Nizhniy Novgorod, however it was stopped in 1998 due to funding problems. In 2003 construction continued in Severodvinsk, after revision of the project. According to Russian news services, this submarine is a technology demonstrator, designed for testing of new technologies and weaponry. Other sources claim, that it is an intelligence collection boat. The Sarov was commissioned in 2008.

   It seems that this submarine uses a modified hull of the Kilo class. This vessel has a crew of 52. It is reportedly operating in northern waters. It is worth mentioning that during the Cold War, Soviets operated several spy submarines in the North.

   The Sarov is a diesel-electric submarine, however it has a small nuclear reactor as a supplementary power generator. It is a unique combination. The nuclear reactor is designed to charge the batteries, so the submarine can stay much longer underwater. Unlike normal diesel-electric submarines the Sarov can stay submerged for up to 20 days, totally silent. It is the most important feature for intelligence collection submarine, not to be detected by seabed systems, foreign warships and submarines. Such air independent propulsion system is a significant Russian development and might be used in the next generation patrol submarines.

   Some sources suggest that the Sarov might have two 650-mm torpedo tubes.


Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
Sarov (B-90) 1988 2007 2008

active, in service





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