Soviet submarine B-39
B-39, homeported in San Diego, California
|Laid down||9 February 1962|
|Launched||15 April 1967|
|Commissioned||28 December 1967|
|Decommissioned||1 April 1994|
|Fate||Museum Ship, Maritime Museum of San Diego, San Diego, California, United States (closed)|
|Status||to be scrapped|
|Class and type||Foxtrot-class submarine|
|Length||89.9 m (294 ft 11 in)|
|Beam||7.4 m (24 ft 3 in)|
|Draft||5.9 m (19 ft 4 in)|
|Endurance||3–5 days submerged|
|Test depth||246–296 m (807–971 ft)|
|Complement||12 officers, 10 warrants, 56 seamen|
B-39 was a Project 641 (Foxtrot-class) diesel-electric attack submarine of the Soviet Navy. The "B" (actually "Б") in her designation stands for большая (bolshaya, "large")—Foxtrots were the Soviet Navy's largest non-nuclear submarines. In 2005 B-39 became a museum ship on display at the Maritime Museum of San Diego, California, United States. In October 2021 the decision was made to withdraw the deteriorating submarine from the collection and scrap it.
Transferred to the 9th Submarine Squadron of the Pacific Fleet, B-39 was homeported in Vladivostok. She conducted patrols and stalked U.S. warships throughout the North Pacific, along the coast of the United States and Canada, and ranging as far as the Indian Ocean and the Arctic Ocean. After the end of the Vietnam War, she often made port visits to Danang. During the early 1970s, B-39 trailed a Canadian frigate through Strait of Juan de Fuca to Vancouver Island.
In 1989, in the Sea of Japan while charging batteries on the surface, B-39 came within 500 yards (457 m) of an Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate of the US Navy. Both crews took pictures of each other.
B-39 was decommissioned on 1 April 1994 and sold to Finland. She made her way from there through a series of sales to Vancouver Island in 1996 and to Seattle, Washington, in 2002 before arriving in San Diego, California, on 22 April 2005 and becoming an exhibit of the Maritime Museum of San Diego. During her sequence of owners she acquired the names "Black Widow" and "Cobra", neither of which she had during her commissioned career.
When B-39 was made a museum, the shroud around her attack periscope was cut away where it passes through her control room. As built, a Foxtrot's periscopes are only accessible from her conning tower, which is off-limits in the museum. With the shroud cut away, tourists can look through the partially raised periscope (which is directed toward the USS Midway museum, some 500 yards (460 m) away). However, the unidentified and unexplained change gives the false impression that one periscope could be used from the control room.
During the 2000s B-39 became badly rusted with large holes visible in the outer hull and upper deck. In October 2021 the museum decided to withdraw the submarine from its collection. On February 7, 2022 she headed out to Ensenada, Mexico to be scrapped.
- B-427, a Foxtrot on display in Long Beach, California
- Submarine U-475 "Black Widow", a Foxtrot class awaiting restoration on the River Medway, England
- Foxtrot Class - Project 641
- "An Actual Soviet-Era Diesel-Electric Submarine". Retrieved 29 May 2018.
- "Soviet-era submarine to be used as dive reef". Del Mar Times. Del Mar, California. Archived from the original on 2013-12-12. Retrieved 2013-12-09.
- Sub thriller filmed at Maritime Museum | UTSanDiego.com
- Wilkens, John (October 2, 2021). "After 15 years as a San Diego tourist draw, rusty Soviet sub is headed to the scrap yard". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 2 October 2021.
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