Submarine U-475 Black Widow

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

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

U-475 Black Widow
Russian Submarine, Strood - - 195243.jpg
Soviet Foxtrot-class submarine in 2005
Soviet Union
Laid down: 12 October, 1966
Launched: 24 December, 1966
Commissioned: 30 June, 1967
Decommissioned: 30 June, 1993
Status: Dilapidated state; moored on the River Medway near the city of Rochester[1]
General characteristics
Class and type: Foxtrot-class submarine
Displacement: 1950 t
Length: 92 m (302 ft)
Beam: 7.5 m (25 ft)
Draft: 5.1 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
Speed: 16.8 kn (31.1 km/h; 19.3 mph) surfaced
  • 30,000 nmi (56,000 km; 35,000 mi) surfaced
  • 400 nmi (740 km; 460 mi) submerged
Test depth: 250–280 m (820–920 ft)
Complement: 77

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 1994 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]


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, but another Foxtrot B-39 also exists, now moored at San Diego as a museum ship. 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 given to 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.[3]


  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. ^ "Project 641" Archived 7 August 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved 21 April 2014.]

External links[edit]