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Sierra I class

Nuclear-powered attack submarine

Sierra I class submarine

The titanium-hulled Sierra I class boats could descent to unprecedented depths

Country of origin Soviet Union
Entered service 1984
Crew 61 men
Diving depth (operational) 480 m
Diving depth (maximum) 550 m
Sea endurance 100 days
Dimensions and displacement
Length 107 m
Beam ~ 11.5 m
Draught ~ 9 m
Surfaced displacement 7 200 tons
Submerged displacement 8 100 tons
Propulsion and speed
Surfaced speed 10 knots
Submerged speed 34 knots
Propulsion  One pressurized water reactor, rated at 190MW delivering power to one shaft, 2 x 1002 hp emergency motors
Missiles SS-N-15 Starfish or SS-N-16 Stallion anti-submarine missile, SS-N-21 Samson cruise missiles
Torpedoes 4 x 650 mm and 4 x 533 mm torpedo tubes
Other 42 mines in place of torpedoes


   Russia's small and expensive Project 945 Barracuda (NATO designation Sierra I class) was the successor to the ill-fated Alfa class, built form the mid-1960s to 1981 and all are now phased out from active service.

   Its two light and strong titanium hulls enabled it to operate at great depths and provided reduced radiated noise levels as well as increased resistance to damage of torpedo attacks.

   Soviet titanium technology was far in advance of the West, requiring fewer passes to achieve a successful weld. Despite advantages in depth and underwater speed the cost of the hulls limited the numbers built.

   The first Sierra I class boat, Tula (ex-Karp) was laid down in 1982 at Gorky Shipyard, launched in August 1983, and was fitted out in Severodvinsk. It was laid up in 1997 due to funding problems. The survivor, Kostroma (ex-Krab) was launched in 1986, and commissioned in 1987.

   These submarines are fitted with an escape pod for the crew, built into the sail. It allows the crew to escape if the boat sinks.

   Due to funding problems and inability of the Russian Navy to maintain these boats the Tula was in reserve since 1998 and Kostroma since 2000. It was planned that these boats will be fitted with new equipment and weapon systems in order to extend their service lives for another 10 years. Both boats were towed to repair facilities. However due to limited funding works stopped soon after their nuclear fuel from reactors was unloaded.

   In 2012 a contract was signed to refit and upgrade both of these boats. Refit of the Tula commenced in 2017. Currently status of these boats is uncertain. Most likely that these two boats will be decommissioned and scrapped in the near future.

   The Sierra I class was the first fitted with a releasable escape pod for the crew, covered by a V-shaped casing on the port side of the sail.

   The Sierra I class was followed by improved Sierra II class boats.


Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
Tula 1982 1983 1984

being refitted

Kostroma 1986 1986 1987

in reserve



Sierra I class submarine

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Sierra I class submarine

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