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Sarov

Special purpose submarine

Sarov

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

 
 
Country of origin Russia
Entered service 2008
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 ?
Armament
Torpedoes 2 x 533 or 650 mm torpedo tubes (?), 1 x Poseidon unmanned underwater vehicle (?)

 

   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 boat 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. It was commissioned with the Russian Navy in 2008. Some sources claimed that Sarov could be an intelligence collection boat. In 2014 Russian media reported that this boat was used for testing of a new Poseidon nuclear unmanned underwater vehicle that is currently being developed. It is possible that this boat has a number of roles.

   It is clear that this special purpose submarine was vital to the Russian Navy. Actually Russian Navy struggles to maintain a number of its warships and submarines. Still though it managed to scramble funds in order to complete construction of this special purpose boat.

   The Sarov uses a heavily modified hull of the Kilo class. One of the incomplete Kilo class hulls was repurposed and heavily modified for new roles. This boat has a crew of 52. It is operating in Northern waters. 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 submerged for much longer periods of time. Unlike typical 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 report that the Sarov was used to test air independent propulsion system of Lada class patrol submarines.

   This submarine can carry 533 mm or 650 mm torpedoes. Most likely that it has two 533 mm or 650 mm torpedo tubes in its large hangar-like weapon bay. Some sources report that this boat was involved in testing of torpedoes. However its weapon bay is much larger than required for regular torpedoes. In 2008 bow of the Sarov was extended by around 5 meters in order to extend this weapon bay. Some sources suggest this boat can carry a single Poseidon unmanned underwater vehicle.

 

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

active, in service

 

 

 
Sarov

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Sarov

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Sarov

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