Submarine U-475 Black Widow

Coordinates: 51°23′43.7″N 0°30′12.9″E / 51.395472°N 0.503583°E / 51.395472; 0.503583
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51°23′43.7″N 0°30′12.9″E / 51.395472°N 0.503583°E / 51.395472; 0.503583

U-475 Black Widow
Soviet Foxtrot-class submarine in 2005
Soviet Union
Laid down12 October, 1966
Launched24 December, 1966
Commissioned30 June, 1967
Decommissioned30 June, 1993
StatusDilapidated state; moored on the River Medway near the city of Rochester[1]
General characteristics
Class and typeFoxtrot-class submarine
Displacement1950 t
Length92 m (302 ft)
Beam7.5 m (25 ft)
Draft5.1 m (17 ft)
  • 3 × 2,000 hp (1,500 kW) diesel engines
  • 3 electric motors; 2 × 1,350 hp (1,010 kW) and 1 × 2,700 hp (2,000 kW)
  • 1 × 140 hp (100 kW) auxiliary motor
Speed16.8 kn (31.1 km/h; 19.3 mph) surfaced
  • 20,000 nmi (37,000 km) at 8 kn (15 km/h) surfaced
  • 11,000 nmi (20,000 km) snorkeling
  • 380 nmi (700 km) at 2 kn (3.7 km/h) submerged
Endurance3-5 days submerged
Test depth250–280 m (820–920 ft)

Submarine U-475 Black Widow was a Soviet Navy submarine of the Cold war period, which is now in private hands. It is currently moored at Strood, on the River Medway, in South-East England.


The Soviet Project 641 class submarines (known to the West by their NATO reporting name of Foxtrot) was a class of conventionally powered patrol/attack submarines. Some 74 were built by the Soviet Navy between 1957 and 1983 as well as 17 others for the Libyan, Cuban and Indian navies.

Service history[edit]

Black Widow was built at Sudomekh shipyard in Leningrad and commissioned in 1967. It was based at Riga and served with the Soviet Baltic Fleet before being used as a training vessel for crews from overseas who would be operating Foxtrot-class subs in their own navies. It was decommissioned in 1993 and sold.

Museum ship[edit]

The submarine in 2014

After passing into private hands, and under the name U-475 Black Widow it was moored at Long's Wharf near the Thames Barrier in England where it was open to the public as a museum ship. In 1998 it was moved to Folkestone, where it was again opened to the public. In 2004 it was moved to her present location, in a state of disrepair, and is currently awaiting restoration.[1][2]

U-475 Black Widow with the Ukrainian national flag

After the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, U-475 began to fly the Ukrainian national flag as a sign of clear support for Ukraine in the conflict.[3]


The submarine is currently referred to as Foxtrot B-39 U-475 Black Widow.[1] The B- designation stands for Bolshaya (Large), and was used by the Soviet Navy during the Cold War era. The B-39 designation also suggests a vessel in the Soviet Pacific Fleet; Baltic Fleet vessels carried numbers in the 200s. The name Black Widow and the designation U-475 were invented for the boat by the new owners; Soviet submarines were not generally named, the U- designation was not used by the Soviets and none of the Foxtrots known carried the number -475.

In Soviet service it was actually known as B-49 and served in the Northern Fleet until November 1974 when it was reassigned to the Baltic.[4]


  1. ^ a b c "Black Widow", Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  2. ^ "The Russian Submarine U-475 Black Widow, Medway". Retrieved 21 December 2013. (Web archive)
  3. ^ "Flying the flag for Ukraine". Kent Online. 15 March 2022. Retrieved 7 May 2022.
  4. ^ "Project 641" Archived 7 August 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved 21 April 2014.]

External links[edit]