Decision on dismantling of the fastest submarine to be taken next year

Publish date: November 18, 2005

In 2006 a decision about dismantling the fastest in the world nuclear powered submarine Project 661 (Anchar), known in the West by its NATO Papa class, will be taken in 2006.

The K-162 (later K-222) submarine received a nickname “Golden Fish” and has been expecting dismantling at the Sevmash shipyard since 1989, Interfax reported.

Rosatom representatives said to Interfax no Russian companies were interested in the dismantling project due to the high costs, significant resources and time demands. The tender conditions should be altered to attract the Russian contactors. Another alternative is to make an agreement with Western partners. At the moment all the Sevmash plant’s dismantling capacities are engaged in the US and Canada sponsored dismantling projects.

The predecessor to the Alfa class submarine, Papa was designed as an extremely fast anti-shipping cruise missile submarine. Its design included ten SS-N-9 missiles in individual tubes forward of the sail, between the inner and outer hulls. K-222, formerly K-162, was the only Papa constructed. It was laid down December 28, 1963, and commissioned on December 31, 1969, at Severodvinsk. It was assigned to the Northern Fleet for the duration of its career. It was the world’s fastest submarine, reaching a record speed of 44.7 knots on trials. However, that speed came at the price of high costs during construction, and both excessive noise and significant damage to hull features when used.

On September 30, 1980, K-222 suffered a reactor accident. Details are not available. By 1988 it was placed in reserve in storage, moored at Belomorsk Naval Base in Severodvinsk. It will be dismantled at Sevmash, the only facility capable of handling the titanium hull.

The K-162 is an experimental prototype from which the nuclear fuel cannot be removed in the same way as the more common reactor types. The equipment for defuelling the prototype has been lost and must be re-manufactured.