Yankee-class submarine

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Yankee class SSBN.svg
Damaged Yankee class submarine 2.jpg
Damaged K-219
Class overview
Name: Yankee class
Builders: Severodvinsk and Komsomolsk
Operators:  Soviet Navy
Preceded by: Hotel class submarine
Succeeded by: Delta class submarine
Completed: 34
Active: 0
Lost: 1
Retired: 33
General characteristics
Displacement: 7,700 tons Surfaced
9,300 tons submerged
Length: 132 m (433 ft)
Beam: 11.6 m (38 ft)
Draught: 8 m (26 ft)
Propulsion: two pressurized water cooled reactors powering four steam turbines driving two shafts.
Speed: Surfaced: 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph)
Submerged: 27 knots (50 km/h; 31 mph)
Range: unlimited
Complement: 120
Armament:

Yankee I/II:4 × 533 mm (21.0 in) torpedo tubes
2 × 400 mm (16 in) torpedo tubes

Yankee I: 16 × R-27 (SS-N-6 Serb) SLBM's
Yankee II: 12 × R-31 (SS-N-17 Snipe) SLBM's.

The Yankee class is the NATO classification for a type of nuclear-powered submarine that was constructed by the Soviet Union from 1968 onward. 34 units were produced under Project 667A Navaga (after the fish) and Project 667AU Nalim ("burbot"). 24 were built at Severodvinsk for the Northern Fleet while the remaining 10 built in Komsomolsk-na-Amurye for the Pacific Fleet. Two Northern Fleet units were transferred to the Pacific.[1] The lead unit K-137 Leninets, receiving its honorific name 11 April 1970, two and one half years after being commissioned.

Service[edit]

The Yankee-class nuclear submarines were the first class of Soviet ballistic missile submarines (BMS) to have thermonuclear firepower comparable with that of their American and British Polaris submarine counterparts. The Yankee-class BMS were quieter in the ocean than were their Hotel-class predecessors, and the Yankee-class had better streamlining that improved their underwater performance. The Yankee-class BMS were actually quite similar to the Polaris submarines of the U.S. Navy and the Royal Navy. These boats were all armed with 16 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) with multiple nuclear warheads as nuclear deterrents during the Cold War, and their ballistic missiles had ranges from 1,500 nautical miles (2,400 kilometers) to 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers).

The Yankee-class BMS served in the Soviet Navy in three oceans: the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and the Arctic Ocean beginning in the 1960s. During the 1970s about three Yankee-class BMS were continually on patrol in a so-called "patrol box" in the Atlantic Ocean just east of Bermuda[2] and off the US Pacific coast. This forward deployment of the BMS was seen to balance the presence of American, British, and French nuclear weapons kept in Western Europe and on warships (including nuclear submarines) in the surrounding Atlantic Ocean, including the Mediterranean Sea and the Eastern Atlantic.

K-219 damaged.

One armed boat of the Yankee-class, the Soviet Navy K-219, was lost on 6 October 1986 after an explosion and fire on board. This boat had been at sea near Bermuda, and she sank from loss of buoyancy because of flooding. Four of her sailors died before rescue ships arrived. At least one other boat in this class was involved in a collision with a U.S. Navy nuclear submarine.

Because of their increasing age, and as negotiated in the SALT I treaty, the START I treaty, and the START II treaty, that reduced the nuclear armements of the United States and the Soviet Union, all of the boats of the Yankee-class, and all Polaris missile and Poseidon missile submarines have been decommissioned, disarmed, and sent to the nuclear ship scrapyards—except in some cases where they were simply left to rust in seaports on the Arctic Ocean, by the Russian Navy.

Variants[edit]

Yankee I class submarine.

There were eight different versions of the Yankee subs (all no longer in service):

  • Yankee I (Project 667A): The baseline configuration, these were ballistic missile submarines that first saw service in 1968; 34 were built. The subs carried 16 SS-N-6 missiles, had 6 torpedo tubes, and carried 18 Type 53 torpedoes. They were the first Soviet SSBNs to carry their ballistic missiles within the hull (as opposed to the sail).
Yankee II class submarine.
  • Yankee II (Project 667AM/Navaga M-class): A single-ship class, this was a Yankee I submarine (K-140) converted to carry 12 SS-N-17 missiles, which was the Soviet Navy's first solid-fuelled SLBM. The existence of this individual prototype led to several theories about the Yankee II having a unique role in the Soviet arsenal that justified maintaining a single ship with such a unique weapon. One theory suggested that it was designed to perform an emergency satellite-launching function. Subsequently, it was proposed that the SS-N-17 may have had a retargeting capability to allow strikes on aircraft carrier battle groups.
Yankee Notch attack submarine underway.
  • Yankee Notch (Project 667AT/Grusha-class): These converted subs were attack submarines and first appeared in 1983; four Yankee I boats were rebuilt to this configuration. They incorporated a "notch waisted" center section, which replaced the old ballistic missile compartment, featuring eight 533 mm (21-inch) torpedo tubes for up to 40 SS-N-21 missiles or additional torpedoes. The forward torpedo tubes were retained as well, with some reports suggesting that the vessels may have also been able to fire 650 mm (26.5-inch) Type 65 torpedoes. The emphasis on additional SS-N-21 missile carriage suggested a tactical role for these submarines, or as second-strike nuclear submarines. Their configuration was a combination of SALT treaty limitations (which affected SLBMs but not cruise missiles) and a typical Soviet unwillingness to completely discard any military hardware that might still have some use. The conversion increased the overall length by 12 m (39.4 feet) to 141.5 m (464.2 feet), with a displacement of up to 11,500 tons submerged. While classed as SSNs (attack subs), these boats might also be considered SSGNs by virtue of their heavy missile armament.
  • Yankee Sidecar (Project 667M/Andromeda-class) Also known as Yankee SSGN, this was another single-ship (in this case K-420) class, converted into an SSGN. It appeared in 1983, carrying 12 SS-NX-24 nuclear-tipped cruise missiles instead of the original ballistic missiles. The SS-NX-24 was an experimental cruise missile, with a supersonic flight regime and twin nuclear warheads. It was meant as a tri-service strategic weapon, and thus would have filled a rather different role than the tactically-oriented Oscar-class submarine SSGNs of the same era. In the end, the missile was not adopted, and the K-420 became a weapon system without a weapon. It was fully 13,650 tons displacement (dived), and was even longer than the Yankee Notch to accommodate the massive cruise missiles; it was 153 m (501.8 feet) long overall.
  • Yankee SSN 16 of this type were converted from the basic Yankee I specification. Some were not completely converted, although they cannot carry ballistic missiles, so they were called Yankee SSNX. They retained only their forward torpedo tubes, with the central missile sections having been removed. Some are being scrapped.
  • Yankee Pod (Project 09774 "Akson") The Yankee Pod (also known as the Yankee SSAN) is a converted trials submarine K-403 "Kazan'", which was used for sonar equipment, with the namesake pod mounted atop the rudder (a la Victor III-class SSNs. It had other sensor systems incorporated as well, notably alongside the sail.
  • Yankee Stretch (Project 09774) K-411, the Yankee Stretch conversion, is a "mothership" for Paltus-class mini-submarines. It is fully 160 m (525 feet) in length, making it the largest of the Yankee conversions. Like the Yankee Pod, it lacked missile armament. Its mission was believed to be a combination of oceanographic research, search and rescue, and underwater intelligence-gathering.[3]
Yankee Big Nose side view
  • Yankee Big Nose (project 09780 "Akson-2") is K-403 "Kazan'" modified again for trials of acoustic system for Russian submarines of the 4th generation: sonar system "Irtysh" with spherical antenna "Amfora", which occupies whole nose section of submarine. Modification of K-415 was started in 1987, but due to the end of the Cold War and lack of funds, this was never completed.

General characteristics (Yankee I)[edit]

  • Length: 128 m (420 ft)
  • Beam: 11.7 m (38 ft)
  • Draught: 9 m (30 ft)
  • Displacement: 7,760/11,500 tonnes surfaced/dived
  • Speed: 28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph)
  • Power plant: 2 VM-4 reactors
  • Hull: Low magnetic steel
  • Crew: 114
  • Compartments: 10
  • Armament:

Units[edit]

Yankee class — significant dates
# Project Shipyard Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
K-137 667A, 667AU SEVMASH, Severodvinsk November 4, 1964 September 11, 1966 November 6, 1967 Decommissioned April 3, 1994 for scrapping[1]
K-140 667A, 667AM SEVMASH, Severodvinsk September 19, 1965 August 23, 1967 December 30, 1967 Decommissioned April 19, 1990 for scrapping[1]
K-26 667AU SEVMASH, Severodvinsk December 30, 1965 December 23, 1967 September 3, 1968 Decommissioned July 17, 1988 for scrapping[1]
K-32 667A SEVMASH, Severodvinsk February 25, 1966 April 25, 1968 October 26, 1968 Decommissioned April 19, 1990 for scrapping[1]
K-216 667A SEVMASH, Severodvinsk June 6, 1966 August 6, 1968 December 27, 1968 Decommissioned 1985 for scrapping[1]
K-207 667A SEVMASH, Severodvinsk November 4, 1966 September 20, 1968 May 30, 1968 Decommissioned May 30, 1989 for scrapping[1]
K-210 667A SEVMASH, Severodvinsk December 16, 1966 December 29, 1968 August 6, 1969 Decommissioned July 17, 1988 for scrapping[1]
K-249 667A SEVMASH, Severodvinsk March 18, 1967 March 30, 1969 September 27, 1969 Decommissioned July 17, 1988 for scrapping[1]
K-253 667A, 667AT SEVMASH, Severodvinsk June 26, 1967 June 5, 1969 November 28, 1969 Decommissioned for scrapping[1]
K-395 667A, 667AT SEVMASH, Severodvinsk September 8, 1967 July 28, 1969 December 5, 1969 Decommissioned for scrapping[1]
K-339 667A Leninskiy Komsomol Shipyard, Komsomolsk February 23, 1968 June 23, 1969 December 24, 1969 Decommissioned April 19, 1990 for scrapping[1]
K-408 667A, 667AT SEVMASH, Severodvinsk January 20, 1968 September 10, 1969 December 25, 1969 Decommissioned July 17, 1988 for scrapping[1]
K-411 667A, 667AN SEVMASH, Severodvinsk May 25, 1968 January 16, 1970 August 31, 1970 Decommissioned for scrapping[1]
K-418 667A SEVMASH, Severodvinsk June 29, 1968 March 14, 1970 September 22, 1970 Decommissioned March 17, 1989 for scrapping[1]
K-420 667A, 667M SEVMASH, Severodvinsk October 12, 1968 April 25, 1970 October 29, 1970 Decommissioned for scrapping[1]
K-423 667A, 667AT SEVMASH, Severodvinsk January 13, 1969 April 7, 1970 November 13, 1970 Decommissioned for scrapping[1]
K-434 667AU Leninskiy Komsomol Shipyard, Komsomolsk February 23, 1969 May 29, 1970 November 30, 1970 Decommissioned March 17, 1989 for scrapping[1]
K-426 667A SEVMASH, Severodvinsk April 17, 1969 August 28, 1970 December 22, 1970 Decommissioned April 19, 1990 for scrapping[1]
K-236 667AU Leninskiy Komsomol Shipyard, Komsomolsk November 6, 1969 August 4, 1970 December 27, 1970 Decommissioned September 1, 1990 for scrapping[1]
K-415 667A, 667AK-2 SEVMASH, Severodvinsk July 4, 1969 September 26, 1970 December 30, 1970 Decommissioned August 6, 1987 for scrapping[1]
K-403 667A, 667AK-1 SEVMASH, Severodvinsk August 18, 1969 March 25, 1971 August 12, 1971[1] Decommissioned - Scrapping underway in 2010 [4]
K-389 667A Leninskiy Komsomol Shipyard, Komsomolsk July 26, 1970 June 27, 1971 November 25, 1971 Decommissioned April 19, 1990 for scrapping [1]
K-245 667AU SEVMASH, Severodvinsk October 16, 1969 August 9, 1971 December 16, 1971 Decommissioned March 14, 1992 for scrapping[1]
K-219 667AU SEVMASH, Severodvinsk May 28, 1970 October 8, 1971 December 31, 1971[1] Lost October 3, 1986
K-252 667A Leninskiy Komsomol Shipyard, Komsomolsk December 25, 1970 September 12, 1971 December 31, 1971 Decommissioned March 17, 1989 for scrapping [1]
K-214 667AU SEVMASH, Severodvinsk February 19, 1970 September 1, 1971 February 8, 1972 Decommissioned June 24, 1991 for scrapping [1]
K-228 667AU SEVMASH, Severodvinsk September 4, 1970 May 3, 1972 September 30, 1972 Decommissioned September 3, 1994 for scrapping [1]
K-258 667AU Leninskiy Komsomol Shipyard, Komsomolsk March 30, 1971 May 26, 1972 September 30, 1972 Decommissioned June 16, 1991 for scrapping [1]
K-241 667AU SEVMASH, Severodvinsk December 24, 1970 June 9, 1972 October 23, 1972 Decommissioned June 16, 1992 for scrapping [1]
K-444 667AU SEVMASH, Severodvinsk April 8, 1971 August 1, 1972 December 23, 1972 Decommissioned September 30, 1994 for scrapping [1]
K-446 667AU Leninskiy Komsomol Shipyard, Komsomolsk November 7, 1971 August 8, 1972 January 22, 1973 Decommissioned March 17, 1993 for scrapping [1]
K-451 667AU SEVMASH, Severodvinsk February 23, 1972 April 29, 1973 September 7, 1971 Decommissioned June 16, 1991 for scrapping [1]
K-436 667AU Leninskiy Komsomol Shipyard, Komsomolsk November 7, 1972 July 25, 1973 December 5, 1973 Decommissioned March 14, 1992 for scrapping [1]
K-430 667AU Leninskiy Komsomol Shipyard, Komsomolsk July 27, 1973 July 28, 1974 December 25, 1974 Decommissioned January 12, 1995 for scrapping [1]

In popular culture[edit]

  • In another Tom Clancy novel, Red Storm Rising, the Soviet Union begins decommissioning its fleet of Yankee-class submarines in an attempt to convince the United States of Soviet sincerity in lessening tensions between the two superpowers.

References[edit]