Tag Archives: Russia

Tsar’s ‘Shark’ submarine discovered beneath the Baltic Sea

A submarine nicknamed The Shark, which disappeared during the First World War, has been found by divers

The Imperial Russian submarine known as Akula or The Shark, 1913

The Imperial Russian submarine known as Akula or The Shark, 1913

The 400-ton craft, commissioned in 1911, was the biggest in the pre-revolutionary fleet and is though to be the first submarine in the world that was capable of firing a volley of several torpedoes. It was dispatched on a mission in 1915 with 35 sailors aboard but never returned to port.

Tanel Urm, an Estonian diver, and a companion found the wreck 30 yards below the surface while exploring a series of located – but unidentified – objects on the floor of the Baltic Sea off Estonia last month.

Russian and Latvian divers then joined for a fresh expedition with the Estonian team after hearing the sub had a blown-off nose cone and three distinctive propellers.

The Russian submarine was commissioned in 1911

The smashed nose of The Shark, and the fact that an external compass on the conning tower was not stowed, suggest the submarine was destroyed on the surface when it hit a German mine. It would have sunk swiftly because it had only one compartment stretching the length of the sub. The divers could not swim inside the wreck because of the damage.

Mr Bogdanov told The Telegraph he had informed Russia’s defence ministry of the find and he hoped the submarine would be declared a “brothers’ grave” – the final resting place of the men who perished inside.

“There is no point in raising the sub,” he said. “I hope we can put a memorial plaque in front and make it a place that can be visited on remembrance days or for educational diving trips.”

Source – The Telegraph

Russia to hand over first submarine to Vietnam in November

 Admiralty Shipyards this year will hand over to the Vietnam Navy, the first of the six diesel-electric submarines of Project 636 Varshavyanka.

submarine, russia, vietnam, navy, kilo class
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung visited the 636 Kilo class submarine named “Hanoi” of Vietnam’s navy during his visit to Russia

The first of the six submarines of project 636, built at the Admiralty Shipyard has passed the tests successfully

“The tests have been completed. The delivery of product signing is scheduled in early November this year. In late January 2014, the submarine will be sent to Cam Ranh and the final minutes of the receipt of goods will be signed,” a spokesman for the shipyard said.

Earlier, the “Kanwa Defense Review” magazine, dated November, made an exclusive interview with Deputy Director of RUBUN Design Bureau (Russia), Mr. Andrey Baranov, who said that the manufacturing of the six Kilo 636 class submarines for Vietnam was progressing very smoothly.

Under the plan, in 2014 Russia will hand over a 636 Kilo class submarine to Vietnam, three others in 2015 and the last two in 2016. These boats are equipped with more modern technology than the submarines of the same type of the Chinese navy.

Source – Vietnam Net

15 hospitalized after fire on Russian nuclear submarine


MOSCOW, Russia – Russian investigators on Tuesday, September 17 said 15 servicemen had been hospitalized after a fire during repairs on a nuclear-powered submarine in the Far East, with the vessel sustaining significant damage.

The Russian Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes in Russia, said it had opened a criminal probe into suspected abuse of authority over the fire on the Tomsk submarine in the Bolshoi Kamen shipyard in the Russian Far East.

“The Tomsk partly lost some of its functional characteristics” as a result of the fire, the investigators said, without giving further details on the nature of the damage.

“The health of 15 servicemen was harmed and they are now receiving treatment in a military hospital,” the statement said. It did not give further details on the nature of the injuries.

Initial reports about the fire on Monday morning on the Tomsk made no mention of the injuries or the damage to the vessel.

Reports on Monday said that the staff were evacuated after the fire, which took place during welding operations. The fire was said to have produced smoke rather than an open blaze.

Officials emphasized that the submarine’s reactor had long been shut off and posed no danger of radiation leaks. All its weapons had been removed before the repair work was undertaken.

However a source familiar with the situation told the Interfax news agency in MoscowTuesday of the near-farcical circumstances as workers on the scene unsuccessfully tried to put out the fire.

“There was a fire-extinguisher but it was empty. They called the fire brigade and tried to put it out themselves but nothing came out,” said the source.

The first fire engine only arrived on the scene some 20 minutes after the fire broke out, the source said.

“The repair workers are specialists of the highest class. But it seems that on this occasion they lost their alertness. The chain of errors was long and everyone is going to make the corresponding conclusions,” the source added.

Russia’s aging fleet of nuclear-powered submarines has long been the subject of safety concerns. The rubberized coating on the Delta IV class submarine Yekaterinburg caught fire in a major blaze in December 2011, injuring nine people.

Reports later said that the vessel was armed with long-range missiles.

Source – Rappler

Declining Power – USN Submarine Force

Admiral: U.S. submarine forces decline as forces of China, Russia, Iran advance undersea warfare capabilities

Russian sailors participating in joint Naval exercises with China / AP

Russian sailors participating in joint Naval exercises with China / AP

China, Russia, and Iran pose regional and strategic submarine threats and are building up undersea warfare capabilities as the Navy is cutting its submarine force by 30 percent, the admiral in charge of Pentagon submarine programs told Congress on Thursday.

Rear Adm. Richard Breckenridge, director of Navy undersea warfare programs, said the decline of U.S. submarines is placing a key U.S. military advantage at risk.

“Our adversaries are not standing still, and so even though we have an advantage and we have a lead, we can’t sit on our lead,” Breckenridge told a hearing of the House Armed Services seapower subcommittee.

“We have to continue to move or we do have the potential within 20 years of losing this crown jewel, this advantage that we have in the undersea domain,” he said.

Breckenridge then outlined advances in the submarine warfare programs of China, Russia, and Iran.

China’s submarine warfare power is advancing in both numbers of submarines and growing sophistication and missile capability.

Beijing’s submarines currently are “predominantly a maritime, regional undersea force,” he said.

“They predominantly use their undersea forces to threaten the presence of our surface ships, to be able to shoulder off the positive, stabilizing influence of our naval forces in an anti-surface warfare dimension,” Breckenridge said.

However, he warned that China’s submarine programs are “growing towards more of a global strategic undersea force.”

China’s new Jin-class missile submarines are equipped with JL-2 missiles that “will put them into the stage of using the undersea for more than just maritime regional control,” he said.

China’s navy is also building conventionally armed, guided-missile submarines, he said.

“I think that the capability, the quality of their submarines will improve as we march forward a couple of decades,” Breckenridge said. “But right now, there is a capacity challenge that’s unique to what the Chinese navy has.”

Defense officials revealed to the Free Beacon in July that the first sea patrols of China’s new strategic missile submarines will begin next year, the first time Beijing will send strategic missile submarines far from its shores.

Currently, China has three Jin-class submarines each equipped with 12 JL-2 missiles. China calls the Jin-class the Type-094.

The National Air and Space Intelligence Center reported in July that the JL-2 will give China for the first time the capability to target portions of the United States from locations near China’s coasts.

After deploying at least five Jin-class subs, China currently is working on a more modern version missile submarine called the Type-096.

The Pentagon’s annual report to Congress said China has placed a high priority on building up its submarine force and currently has more than 55 submarines, including two new Shang-class attack submarines and four improved variants of that sub. It is building a new Type-095 guided missile attack submarine in the next decade, the report said.

The Chinese also have 12 Russian-made Kilo-class submarines, some armed with SS-N-27 anti-ship cruise missiles, 13 Song-class and eight Yuan-class attack submarines. Up to 20 Yuan-class subs will be deployed in the future.

Breckenridge said Russia is building two new classes of advanced submarines called the Borei-class nuclear missile submarine and a conventional, guided-missile class called Severodvinsk. He said the Russian submarine program is at the “global strategic level of power.”

“It is more than just a region,” he said. “It is the ability to control the seas, it is the ability to do land attack from covert positions. It has a much larger utility than just a maritime sea-control, sea-denial perspective alone, and the Russians have always maintained a very capable submarine force.”

While the U.S. Navy currently has the advantage over Russia in submarine warfare capabilities, “they are a close second with regard to their capability and with regard to their shipbuilding industry and the capabilities they’re putting into their new classes of submarines,” he said.

Three Borei-class submarines are now deployed and at least five more could be built, he said.

“There’s been talk of a higher number of SSBNs [strategic missile submarines] within their force,” Breckenridge added. “But that machine is running. Those very good quality ballistic missile submarines are being produced in Russia.”

The Severodvinsk class of guided missile submarines will have an “eight-pack” of missile tubes, twice the number on U.S. Virginia-class attack submarines.

“So they see the importance of the concealment of the undersea to bring potency with that, that can be threatening at a strategic level,” Breckenridge said. “And again, we are mindful of that and we are prepared to be able to counter that.”

Tehran’s submarine force of three Russian Kilo-class submarines, one indigenous Nahang-class submarine and an estimated 12 Ghadir-class midget submarines, poses a regional threat.

“If you look at Iran, they, like many other countries, use the undersea domain from a purely maritime, sea-denial local region type of influence, much like we did in World War II in the Pacific,” Breckenridge said, “to hold at risk predominantly surface warships.”

“It is a disruptive force, a challenging force and one that we deal with regard to our ability to project stabilizing influence around the globe,” the admiral said.

Rick Fisher, a China military affairs analyst with the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said the “capacity” challenge mentioned by Breckenridge is real.

“The Chinese Navy may have up to 53 somewhat older to quite modern non-nuclear propelled attack submarines plus five more nuclear powered attack submarines for a total of 58,” Fisher said, adding that the force could be much larger.

“A possible force of 92 Chinese submarines means that U.S. Navy today is facing a very formidable challenge that requires that U.S. submarine levels remain well above 50 ships in order to prevent rapid combat attrition,” he said.

Breckenridge said the submarine programs of the three potential adversaries are advancing and “we have to be mindful of to make sure that we as a nation preserve this unique advantage that we have in the undersea domain.”

By contrast, the U.S. submarine force will decline by 25 percent over the next 15  years as a result of a “gradual consequence of a long list of choices made over many years,” he said.

The total number of submarines will drop from 75 to 52, a 30 percent decline, he said.

The missile-firing strike payload volume from submarines will decline by over 60 percent as the result of retiring guided-missile and attack submarines, he said.

The forward-deployed submarines around the world will decline by over 40 percent, despite building two Virginia-class attack submarines per year, he said.

To address the growing need for submarine power with the declining force, Breckenridge said the Navy has four priorities for its submarine strategy.

They include sustaining the sea-based nuclear deterrent with a new missile submarine to replace Ohio-class submarines. The follow-on has been delayed for 20 years and “it is now time to make the necessary investments to support procurement of the first Ohio replacement in 2021,” Breckenridge said. “There is no allowance for any further delay.”

To prevent the worsening decline in attack submarines, the Navy must continue the two-per-year pace of Virginia-class submarines, add a new more efficient missile launch payload module to Virginia submarine, and restart production of torpedoes.

Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Randy Forbes (R., Va.) said during the hearing that defense spending cuts are harming the Navy.

“It’s apparent to me that the largest threat to the United States Navy is of our own making,” Forbes said of the defense spending crisis.

“I continue to believe that the undersea warfare capabilities provided by our United States Navy provide a preeminent role in the control of the global commons,” Forbes said. “These capabilities provide the United States with the key asymmetric advantage over any potential aggressor. Even in a time of declining resources, it’s crucial that our nation continue to retain our strategic advantage in undersea warfare.”

Source- The Washington Free Beacon

Yasen-class nuclear attack submarines to give Russia major edge

The Project 885 nuclear submarine is the quintessence of everything the Russian military industrial complex has achieved in over half a century of building submarines.

Yasen-class nuclear attack submarines to give Russia major edge
The Yasen is not only quieter than the Project 971 Akula, but also quieter than the latest American Seawolf nuclear submarine. Source: Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation / mil.ru

Large-scale construction of the next-generation Project 885 Yasen-class multi-purpose nuclear attack submarine, armed with Onyx supersonic cruise missiles has begun in Russia.  The ships will compete with the latest American Seawolf-class nuclear submarines in terms of their noise profile and will be world leaders in terms of fire power. Moscow plans to acquire at least 10 of these boats by 2020. The fourth submarine in this class was laid down in Severodvinsk on the eve of Navy Day, which was celebrated on the last Sunday in July.

The Project 885 nuclear submarine is the quintessence of everything the Russian military industrial complex has achieved in over half a century of building submarines. The vessel has a hull made from high-resilience low-magnetic steel, and so can dive to a depth of more than 600 metres (conventional boats cannot go deeper than 300 metres), which effectively puts it out of reach of all types of modern anti-submarine weapons. Its maximum speed is more than 30 knots (about 60 kilometres per hour). The nuclear submarine is equipped with an escape pod for the whole crew.

The Russian designers say that the Yasen is not only quieter than the Project 971 Akula, but also quieter than the latest American Seawolf nuclear submarine. Moreover, unlike those vessels, the new missile submarine will be more functional thanks to the weapons at its disposal (several types of cruise missile and torpedo) and will be able to fulfil a wide range of roles at sea.


The Akula nuclear submarine is currently the most important of the Russian multi-purpose attack submarines designed for raiding operations against sea lanes. Virtually inaudible in the depths of the ocean, they are equally effective against transport vessels and warships, and can also hit the enemy’s coastal infrastructure with cruise missiles. Akula submarines were recently spotted within the 200-mile zone of the coasts of the United States and Canada, which caused a serious commotion among the countries’ respective militaries. Having discovered the presence of these ‘guests,’ neither of them was able to track their movement, which naturally caused serious concern. After all, the Akula carries on board 28 Kh-55 Granat cruise missiles, the equivalent of the American Tomahawk, which can fly 3000 km and deliver 200-kilotonne nuclear warheads to their targets.


The main attack system on the Yasen is the P-800 Onyx, the latest Russian supersonic cruise missile. This missile is the base version for two absolutely identical export versions in terms of their appearance: the Russian Yakhont and the Indian BrahMos, although with significantly reduced combat characteristics. These devices are capable of being fired from under water. They fly at a speed of 750 metres per second and carry a devastating high-explosive warhead weighing half a tonne. They have a range of more than 600 kilometres.

Yakhont anti-ship cruise missile.

The Onyx is guided to its target by a navigational system that operates on target designation data, that is inputted provisionally to the missile before it is launched. At a predetermined point in the trajectory (25–80 kilometres), the missile’s homing device is briefly activated and determines the precise location of the target. The homing device is activated again after a sharp reduction in altitude of 5–15 metres, just seconds before it hits the enemy. This is to ensure that when the enemy detects the missile’s launch it cannot ‘jam’ the missile with electronic countermeasures.

‘Wolf pack’

But it’s not its high speed or the protection of its homing device against electronic countermeasures that makes the Onyx a super-modern weapon.

Once it is launched from the submarine, the missile finds the target by itself. After determining their coordinates, the missiles ‘wait’until the last one is out of the launch tubes and then line up, just like a wolf pack, and begin to ‘home in on their prey’. The designers are not really advertising this point, but it’s the missiles themselves that decide which missile attacks which target and how. The missile ‘pack’ decides these targets, classifies them in terms of importance, and selects the tactics for the attack and the plan for its execution.

In order to prevent mistakes, the missile’s on-board computer system is programmed with electronic data on all modern classes of ship. This is purely tactical information – for example, on the class of vessel. This enables the missiles to determine what they are up against, whether it be an aircraft-carrier or landing group, and then to attack the main targets within the group. The Onyx missile’s on-board computer also holds data on how to counter the enemy’s electronic warfare systems, which can divert a missile from its target, and systems for evading anti-aircraft defence systems.

At the same time, like wolves in a real pack, the missiles themselves decide which one of them is the main attacker and which one must take the role of the decoy to lure the enemy’s aircraft and air defence systems away. Once the main selected target has been destroyed, the other missiles immediately redistribute the combat assignments between themselves and begin to destroy other vessels. There is no ship in the world that can dodge an attack by Onyx missiles. Yes, ship-borne radar systems can detect that they have been launched, but then further resistance is useless. The speed of these missiles and the way they constantly manoeuvre above the surface of the sea makes it practically impossible to intercept them with air defence systems or aircraft.

пустым не оставлять!! Project 885 Yasen-class submarine


Another advantage of the Onyx missile is that it can be used with various types of carriers. In Russia, it is installed not only in submarines but also on surface vessels and mobile land-based platforms – the Bastion shore-based missile systems. It’s the presence of these systems in Syria that so worries Washington today.

Onyx will also be included in the weaponry of the Su-30MK family of fighters and the latest Su-34 frontline bombers. But the most important thing is that the next generation following the Onyx is already on its way. This is the Zircon, the first hypersonic combat missile system, for which testing is due to start next year.

Source – Russia & India Report

Russia to hand over a submarine to Vietnam this Nov.

According to a press release of the Admiraltei Verfi shipyard, the first Kilo 636 submarine of the six submarines for Vietnam will be handed over to Vietnam in November 2013.

 submarine, kilo, russia, vietnam

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung inspected Kilo 636 submarine named Hanoi of Vietnam Navy during a visit to Russia in May 2013. Photo: VNA

“The factory is fixing defects and preparing for the test of ashore hand-over,” Russian newswire RIA Novosti cited a press release of Admiraltei shipyard.

“In November the two sides will sign a preliminary report and the submarine will be handed over to the base. The flag hoisting for the submarine will take place in the order-placing country,” the press release quoted the plant’s engineer Aleksandr Belyy.

Aleksandr Belyy stressed that the experiment of ashore hand-over will take quite some time. The plant engineers will check all systems and operational mechanisms of the submarine and complete the paint job.

The first phase of the trial ended on December 25, 2012. The second phase consists of factory testing and unload testing took place from 16/4 to 27/06/2013. Along with it is the training of the Vietnamese crew.

“From July 4 to 17, we made and completely finished the national testing program,” stressed Aleksandr Belyy.

“We conducted more than 100 days of diving and all systems worked well,” he said.

The contract to buy six Kilo 636 submarines from Russia was announced by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in December 2009. The contract is scheduled for completion in 2016. The two first submarines are expected to be handed over to Vietnam this year.

Varshavyanka (Kilo) submarines are the most advanced type of the contemporary world. The length of the vessel is 74 meters, and width 10 meters. Their deepest submerging level is 300 meters, and underwater speed of up to 37 km / h. The submarine can run automatically for 45 days and nights.

The Kilo submarines are equipped with the “Club” missile complex which is capable of projecting power at a distance of 300 km. Particularly, the unique feature of this submarine is its extremely low noise. The Western experts call Varshavyanka submarines “black holes in the ocean.”

Source – Vietnam Bridge

Russian submarines heading to NZ waters

The Russians are coming, again, in submarines to waters near New Zealand.

The state-run Itar-Tass agency says Russia will send submarines armed with nuclear ballistic missiles to the South Pacific and the Southern Ocean.

“The revival of nuclear-submarine patrols will allow us to fulfil the tasks of strategic deterrence not only across the North Pole but also the South Pole,” an unnamed official in the military General Staff was quoted as saying.

Given that the South Pole is 1500 kilometres from the sea, it suggests the new Borei-class submarines, with 16 long-range nuclear missiles, might end up in the Ross Sea.

“As the Russian Navy receive the Borei-class missile submarines, they will not only continue to patrol the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, but will resume execution of combat missions in those regions of the world’s ocean, where in the late 90s of the last century used to be the Soviet Navy, and where they have ceased to appear following the collapse of the Soviet Union,” the report said.

It echoes the Soviet days and in 1982, when a Russian submarine was photographed by the Royal New Zealand Air Force east of New Zealand.

The air force still has submarine-hunting capacity in the form of its six P3 Orions, but it seldom practises finding them now.

In 1972, the navy was ordered to sea as intelligence suggested a Soviet submarine was near New Zealand.

Several ships and the air force were well out to sea when they heard, on what was then the NZBC, that a Soviet hydrographic submarine had docked in Suva that morning.

Just before Christmas in 1982, the diesel-powered Soviet Foxtrot submarine Regul was spotted on the surface near Tahiti sailing with a research vessel.

It continued towards the South Island and was last seen near the Chatham Islands. The Soviets said they were doing oceanographic work.

Three years later, there were headlines and claims that the French submarine Rubis was in the Waitemata Harbour, supporting the agents bombing the Rainbow Warrior. It was never proved.

German and Japanese submarines operated near New Zealand during World War II.

U862 captain Heinrich Timm claimed later that while they were off Hawke’s Bay, crew landed to get fresh milk from the dairy herd they saw.

In the 1870s, New Zealand built 17 harbour forts around the country, fearing that Tsarist Russia, in the wake of the Crimean War, might invade. It was never clear why it wanted Auckland.

Source – Stuff.co.nz

Vietnam acquires 2 submarines from Russia

 The much-awaited arrival in August of the Philippines’ second warship BRP Ramon Alcaraz from the United States has been matched by Vietnam with its acquisition of two submarines from Russia.

On the other hand, a US lawmaker has been reportedly calling on Washington to sell conventional submarines to Taiwan.

“We are not girding to go to war with any country. Our capability upgrade program is only aimed at building a credible territorial defense for the country,” a senior security official said over the weekend, referring to an apparent arms race in the Asia-Pacific region.

Defense and security monitoring showed that two diesel-electric Kilo-Class submarines are to be turned over to the Vietnamese Navy this September by Russia’s Admiralty Shipyard under Vietnam’s $2-billion Project 635.

Meanwhile, Taiwan-based Central News Agency reported last Thursday that New Jersey Rep. Robert Andrews wrote US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, asking him to find ways to support Taiwan’s acquisition of diesel electric submarines.

“Yes, we are lagging behind in terms of military capability but on the positive note, our Navy will get another ship with the scheduled arrival of BRP Alcaraz to guard and defend the country’s maritime sovereignty” the official stressed.

BRP Alcaraz lifted anchor at South Carolina last week on her voyage to the Philippines after undergoing almost a year of refurbishment and retrofitting of its weapons.

The high endurance cutter was acquired by the Philippine Navy last year under the Excess Defense Article Military Assistance Program of the US.

Formerly called USS Dallas, the second Hamilton-class cutter is expected to be deployed in areas in the West Philippine Sea where China had been building up its presence.

The US delivered its first Hamilton-class cutter to the Philippines in December. Renamed BRP Gregorio del Pilar, the vessel – the Philippine Navy’s biggest – is now patrolling the West Philippine Sea, particularly near Recto Bank.

The Philippines, Brunei, China, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan have territorial claims in the Spratly archipelago.

To date, 18 Chinese surveillance vessels have been monitored in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. Three of these ships have taken up position near Ayungin Shoal.

Source – ABS/CBN

Russian nuclear submarines resuming patrols in southern hemisphere

A new Russian nuclear submarine, the Yur

A new Russian nuclear submarine, the Yuri Dolgoruky, drives in the water area of the Sevmash factory in the northern city of Arkhangelsk on July 2, 2009.

Russian President Vladimir Putin watches

Russian President Vladimir Putin watches a military exercises in the Barents Sea aboard of “Pyotr Veliky” heavy nuclear missile cruiser, 17 August 2005.

MOSCOW — Russia plans to resume nuclear submarine patrols in the southern seas after a hiatus of more than 20 years following the break-up of the Soviet Union, Itar-Tass news agency reported on Saturday, in another example of efforts to revive Moscow’s military.
The plan to send Borei-class submarines, designed to carry 16 long-range nuclear missiles, to the southern hemisphere follows President Vladimir Putin’s decision in March to deploy a naval unit in the Mediterranean Sea on a permanent basis starting this year.
“The revival of nuclear submarine patrols will allow us to fulfill the tasks of strategic deterrence not only across the North Pole but also the South Pole,” state-run Itar-Tass cited an unnamed official in the military General Staff as saying.
The official said the patrols would be phased in over several years. The Yuri Dolgoruky, the first of eight Borei-class submarines that Russia hopes to launch by 2020, entered service this year.

Putin has stressed the importance of a strong and agile military since returning to the presidency last May. In 13 years in power, he has often cited external threats when talking of the need for a reliable armed forces and Russian political unity.
Fears of a nuclear confrontation between Russia and the United States has eased in recent years, and the Cold War-era foes signed a landmark treaty in 2010 setting lower limits on the size of their long-range nuclear arsenals.
But the limited numbers of warheads and delivery vehicles such as submarines that they committed to under the New START treaty are still enough to devastate the world. Putin has made clear Russia will continue to upgrade its arsenal.
Russia’s land-launched Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) would fly over the northern part of the globe, as would those fired from submarines in the northern hemisphere.
Both the Borei-class submarines and the Bulava ballistic missiles they carry were designed in the 1990s, when the science and defense industries were severely underfunded.
Russia sees the Bulava as the backbone of its future nuclear deterrence, but the program has been set back by several botched launches over the past few years.

Russian prosecutors want retrial in submarine deaths

Navy prosecutors in Russia appealed the acquittal of two men blamed for the deaths of 20 people aboard the nuclear submarine Nerpa in a deadly 2008 accident.

The accident, in which a fire safety system was activated without permission, released poisonous freon gas, suffocating to death 20 men, including 17 civilian shipyard workers.

There were 208 people on board the vessel at the time conducting sea trials in the Sea of Japan.

Capt. Dmitry Lavrentyev was charged with abuse of authority in the accident, and engineer Dmitry Grobov was accused of causing death by negligence.

Lavrentyev and Grobov were acquitted of the charges April 26 on grounds the investigation into the accident had not been properly conducted. This was their second acquittal. A jury cleared the two men in September 2011, but the Supreme Court’s military board overturned the verdict in May 2012.

The Pacific Fleet navy prosecutors said Wednesday they think Lavrentyev and Grobov should be tried again, RIA Novosti reported.

 “In our opinion, Lavrentyev and Grobov are the only ones guilty of the accident. They are the ones who should be held responsible. We regret that the jury failed to understand this,” a spokesman said.

Other men on board the Nerpa at the time of the accident have written an open letter defending the actions of Lavrentyev and Grobov and instead blamed the defense industry for creating a fire-suppression system contaminated with a poisonous chemical, RIA Novosti reported.

Source – UPI .Com