The Soviet Navy's sole Papa class submarine. She was extremely expensive, built from Titanium and the fastest attack sub ever, reaching a top speed of 44.7 knots [2979x2313]


This sub's developers were forbidden from using solutions that are past design problems I think one thing might have been lost in translation (this reality generally seems to be from deepstorm.ru via wikipedia). My understanding ...



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Some random comments on reddit about The Soviet Navy's sole Papa class submarine. She was extremely expensive, built from Titanium and the fastest attack sub ever, reaching a top speed of 44.7 knots [2979x2313]

  • This sub's designers were forbidden from using past solutions for design problems I think something might have been lost in translation (this fact seems to be from deepstorm.ru via wikipedia). My understanding is that the Navy encouraged a very innovative submarine, and didn't want the designers to dwell too much on the past. According to one of the designers (as related to the authors of Cold War Submarines ): It was desired that the submarine be totally "new": it must have an advanced design, new materials, new powerplant, and new weapons system - it must be superlative So I don't think the designers were forbidden from doing anything. I think they were just told that they could basically go wild and try new and exciting ideas. What is astonishing to me about the Papa (besides the incredible amount of innovation and high speed) is that the basic design of the submarine was agreed upon in late 1959, just as the first Soviet nuclear submarines were becoming operational. The rate of progress in both the USSR and United States in the late 50s was incredible. It's as if they went from a wooden biplane to an F-16 in 15 years.
  • Yeah that probably makes more sense. I would imagine that it would've taken much longer had they actually been forbidden to use past solutions.
  • Soviet submarine K-222 : Soviet submarine *K-162 _ was the world's fastest submarine. The first submarine constructed with a titanium hull, she was the only vessel of the Soviet Union 's Project 661 *Anchar _ nuclear-powered attack submarine design. The boat is best known in the West by its NATO reporting name Papa class . K-162 was renamed K-222 in 1978. Image i Interesting: Nuclear submarine | Alfa-class submarine | List of ships of the Soviet Navy Parent commenter can toggle NSFW or delete . Will also delete on comment score of -1 or less. | FAQs | Mods | Magic Words
  • You know about how fast it could go without cavitating?
  • There is no real answer to this question with any boat as that is a factor of depth and blade design/shape. Using non-technical generalities though, this was designed in the late 50s/early 60s, so one can easily assume it was loud as hsit at any speed.
  • Well the Papa was an SSGN, so she wouldn't do much sub-hunting. She actually had the fewest torpedo tubes, four, of any Soviet SSN or SSGN. The passive sonar systems on the second-gen Soviet submarines were not great. The Soviets relied more heavily on active sonar because their active sets were actually pretty good (they still used active pretty sparingly though). The high speed of the Alfa was most important for rapidly leaving port. The Soviet's operational schedule was a lot different than the US's in that the submarines spent most of their time in port, but with the crew and boat in a very high state of readiness. When the order was given they would scramble, kind of like something you'd see the RAF do with Spitfires in the Battle of Britain. And like the Spitfires, the Alfa was an interceptor. It was meant to get to the action (probably near the GIUK gap) quickly and engage both enemy surface and submarine forces. There's a common misconception that the Soviets would have another WWII-style Battle of the Atlantic with submarines operating in the Atlantic like the German U-boats did, sinking merchant ships and their escorts. In fact, most of the Soviet submarine force would stay pretty far North to stop NATO forces from entering into the Barents. The aircraft carriers were the primary targets, not convoys. As for the SSBNs, I think some of the Soviet submarine force would be dedicated to destroying them, but they would probably use the Victors instead of the Alfas (and I don't think they put a large emphasis on SSBN hunting in the 60s and 70s). Their noise levels at the similar speeds were comparable, but at 40 knots the Alfas were quite loud. So the Alfas would have to stick to 30 knots or below to stay relatively stealthy. The Alfas probably would have been relegated to staying in the Barents in keeping with their interceptor mission. This all changed, of course, when Soviet submarines got really quiet and had non-terrible sonar in the the early 80s (plus non-acoustic detection systems). Then they could properly hunt American SSBNs.
  • I'll ask you since you seem to be quite knowledgeable on Russian subs. How was titanium as a material for a sub? Isn't titanium brittle and subject to cracking after repeated pressure changes?
  • It's a great material, but it does have some limitations. The brittleness is usually due to hydrogen impurities that are introduced when the metal is formed, so you need to have a fairly well controlled atmosphere during all stages of production. The Soviets corrected this while the Papa and first Alfa were being constructed and they did not have major problems after those issues during building. You also need a dedicated workforce and shipyard to handle titanium. This can cause problems when you want to make a submarine that can't be built at a titanium shipyard. In the early 1980s, the Soviets were building the Sierra class SSN at Krasnoye Sormovo in Gor'kiy, but they couldn't turn them out fast enough and they wanted to make a bigger submarine. Unfortunately, Krasnoye Sormovo could only build submarines of up to 10,000 tons, so the Soviets designed the 12,000 ton steel-hulled Akula to be built at the Leninskiy Komsomol shipyard in Komsomol'sk-na-Amure in the Far East. I don't think cost was as large an issue as some make it out to be. The titanium boats did cost more, but not as much as you might think. They did call the Papa and the Alfas zolotaya ribka or "golden fish" because of their cost, but they incorporated so much other advanced tech that their nickname is not entirely due to the titanium. The big advantage of titanium over steel is weight, not necessarily strength. I don't have the exact figures, but I'd be willing to bet that the Russian's steel in the Akula class (which has a yield strength of 140,000 PSI) is roughly equivalent in strength to titanium. Weight is always a crucial factor in submarine design, so a lighter hull would be very desirable.
  • Thank you for all the info. I find it fascinating. Since we are discussing weight, I'm guessing that there is a very good reason aluminum is not used. My instinct is that it is not as strong as steel or titanium or that pressure affects it more. But there's probably some other very good reasons people far smarter than me have addressed.
  • Actually, the sail of the Papa was made of aluminum for weight reasons. The sail doesn't need to be very strong, unlike the pressure hull. I think some people have considered it as a hull material, but strength is the main issue. Aluminum also can corrode pretty badly in salt water.
  • Does the sail not need to be as strong because it isn't pressurized at depth, or for other reasons? As to the corrosion issue, can that be negated with different aluminum alloys, or is that an issue inherent in any aluminum alloy? Sorry to keep bothering you about this. I know I could do a search, but you seem to know already.
  • Everything I could have asked for thanks!
  • No such thing as passive sonar on a Soviet sub back then. Not saying they didnt have it but it was functionally useless. It was a one off for testing with sprint SSN capability primarily against SSBN threat. Best guess on my part.
  • Yeah, their passive sonar was crap back then. I think they basically said, how fast can we make a submarine go? They were interested in high speed for their mainstay SSNs and SSGNs, and they like experimental one-off like the Komsomolets , so they just decided to combine all their most advanced tech into one sub. It's kind of funny how the Papa, the first modern Soviet SSGN, was the fastest Soviet submarine, and the Charlies, the Papa's successors, were some of the slowest. They couldn't even catch the CVNs they were suppose to hunt.
  • Charlies...shitbox from hell.
  • Haha, care to elaborate? (I don't disagree)
  • Can't really. Former surface sonar tech and much of my vague ass commentary is grumplings cleaned and gleaned from the classified world. 🙂 Imagine a pretty well put together Papa with every nut and bolt loosened to within 2 threads of coming undone. 🙂
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