Modernization, conversion or scrap: Where will the legendary Sharks go?

Three unique atomic submarines of Project 941 Shark, Arkhangelsk, Severstal and Dmitry Donskoy, inherited from the Soviet Union of Russia. These are the largest and most powerful submarines in the world, easy to control and capable of carrying up to 20 missiles with ten warheads each.

Their fate is sad: the first two have an open-hearth furnace, since the "accountants" from the Ministry of Defense with calculators say that it is "expensive" to keep them. "Dmitry Donskoy" is still serving, but if something extraordinary does not happen, they will cut it into metal.

In defense of the unique submarines, retired Admiral Vladimir Komoyedov spoke:

I would like to express the hope that the decision to dispose of two submarines has not yet been made, and if it is, it will be reviewed. I would even develop a modernization plan.

Are there any chances for a miracle of Soviet equipment in modern Russia?


Sharks can be converted as a powerful platform for two hundred cruise missiles: Zircons, Onyx and Caliber. Three huge submarines are 600 cruise missiles that can be kept within the reach of a potential enemy. Recall that the United States did not fear the threats of our “Zircons” just because Russia does not have enough carriers for them, which we told earlier. By the way, the Americans themselves have already done something similar by converting their Ohio into Tomahawk carrier platforms, with 154 cruise missiles on each of the four nuclear-powered ships.

Critics of the Sharks modernization project point out the high cost; per year, the content of one cruiser comes out to about 300 million rubles. The argument against investing in your own nuclear shield is simply amazing and very cynical against the background of other expenses of Russian state-owned corporations. For example, it is known that in just four years, RUSNANO spent about a billion rubles only on its fleet: in 2010 - 221,47 million, in 2011 - 248,44, and in 2012 - 198,82 million.

It turns out that the Chubais team’s machines alone cost the country during the indicated period, almost like keeping the “Shark” in combat formation. In addition, opponents of the modernization of submarine cruisers are silent that such a program would seriously stimulate the development of the domestic defense industry. It should be recalled that in the development of "Sharks" about a thousand enterprises of the USSR were involved.


For the first time, the idea of ​​using military nuclear powered ships in the national economy came to our heads in the mid-nineties. In 1995, a nuclear submarine of Project 671RTM transported a load of potatoes to Yamal. In 1999, the Russian Security Council approved the conversion of two Sharks into ore ore carriers for the Norilsk Nickel, capable of transporting up to 10 tons of payload per flight. Then the implementation of such an unusual project did not reach.

Modernization, conversion or scrap: Where will the legendary Sharks go?

Today, at the International Arctic Forum held in St. Petersburg, Mikhail Kovalchuk, the head of the Kurchatov Institute, proposed to create a submarine that will deliver gas from underwater fields to large hubs:

I would suggest such a thing, if we are talking about the creation of mining underwater complexes, why not think about underwater transportation? Imagine what we are doing underwater gas carrier: the hull of a submarine with a nuclear engine.

Nothing was said directly about Sharks, but if not Sharks, then who? Creating from scratch a civilian underwater gas carrier on our own today is very problematic.

The third, most likely option, if the “accountant” prevails, is the disposal of unique submarines. Actually, three submarines already suffered such a fate - they were cut into metal from 2005 to 2009.
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  1. gorbunov.vladisl (Vlad Dudnik) April 13 2019 13: 27
    Nothing was said directly about Sharks, but if not Sharks, then who? Creating from scratch a civilian underwater gas carrier on our own today is very problematic.

    The question is quite controversial. Often rework becomes more expensive remake. This is about finance. And from the technological side, this issue may turn out to be insoluble at all. This is also possible.
  2. Port Offline Port
    Port April 13 2019 13: 57
    Load rockets to capacity, put on autopilot and send towards S.Sh.P. , it will be more abruptly "Poseidon".
  3. Shelest2000 Offline Shelest2000
    Shelest2000 April 13 2019 16: 18
    Are there any chances for a miracle of Soviet technology in modern Russia?

    Looking at the surrounding reality, at who and what runs the Kremlin, the Soviet past does not have a future in modern Russia. Alas, this is so. Here the loot steers and nothing more. It’s enough to recall these data and all doubts disappear

  4. Volkonsky Offline Volkonsky
    Volkonsky (Vladimir) April 13 2019 18: 48
    Well, of course you waved on the topic! Nuclear submarines are nuclear submarines, ships of the 1st rank, we have them on the fingers of one hand in the ranks and as many are being built to varying degrees of readiness. Rust! service life - 30 years. Alas and ah! By the way, Gauges, Onyx and Zircons are anti-ship missiles in conventional design (not nuclear), what is the point of loading them on a nuclear submarine. It’s the same as carrying potatoes on them. There are ships of a lower rank for this, frigates, for example, ships of the 3rd rank. Cheap and cheerful! But the topic is interesting and the picture Ruslan picked up the test. Sorry for the views did not affect. I put my plus sign!
    1. Marzhecki Offline Marzhecki
      Marzhecki (Sergei) April 14 2019 07: 03
      There was interesting information about the fate of the "Sharks". I wanted to raise the topic. It’s painfully sorry for them just in the oven.
      1. gorbunov.vladisl (Vlad Dudnik) April 14 2019 08: 10
        It really hurts to just feel sorry for them in the oven.

        Although I myself am not a sailor, by the nature of my activity I communicate a lot with them.
        So, in the Navy there is such a concept as ship stability. And it is calculated in the design. At what for different conditions. Both for empty and for fully loaded. And all future parameters are provided during the design. Any, even a small alteration, leads to a change in stability. And this can lead to disastrous consequences.
        It seems to people far from the fleet that it is easy to remake the submarine into a gas carrier. Say he cut everything out and exploit it in a new way. What is a gas carrier or tanker? As the sailors themselves joke, this is a barrel with an engine room attached to it. And the submarine is not a barrel (although it is close in form). It is stuffed with all sorts of weapons, mechanisms, equipment. And its stability calculated during the design takes all this into account. Take it all away and she’ll just roll over. In this situation, many experts agree that designing such a craft is easier and cheaper from scratch.
        1. Marzhecki Offline Marzhecki
          Marzhecki (Sergei) April 14 2019 08: 13
          Yes, it's clear what the hell is a gas carrier. "Sharks" are worthy of modernization. And no need to say that it is expensive. There is money in the country, but it is spent on unworthy needs

          1,5 billion rubles only for bonuses to the management of Rosneft.
          1. gorbunov.vladisl (Vlad Dudnik) April 15 2019 06: 15
            There is money in the country, but they are spent on unworthy needs

            For capitalism, this is the norm.
            We want another, it is necessary to raise the question of changing the system in the country. Without this, all arguments about the unfair and inefficient spending of finances are an empty phrase.
    2. Kristallovich Offline Kristallovich
      Kristallovich (Ruslan) April 14 2019 10: 13
      The Americans also remade strategic underwater missile carriers into KR carriers. This makes sense, because each such submarine carries something about 180 missiles.
      "Calibers" can be of nuclear design, "Zircons", I think, too. The first, by the way, are not only anti-ship. The latter, by the way, will be able to hit the ground. And as the launches in Syria have shown, the Onyxes can do it too.
      1. Volkonsky Offline Volkonsky
        Volkonsky (Vladimir) April 14 2019 15: 00
        Precisely, confused with Daggers. Onyx, Granites, Zircons and Daggers - anti-ship, the latest air-based. And the Gauges and Zircons of GDP set the goal of Shoigu to land. As for nuclear performance, rumors are still current.
        1. Kristallovich Offline Kristallovich
          Kristallovich (Ruslan) April 14 2019 15: 21
          The Dagger is not an anti-ship missile. He is capable of hitting ships, but not only them.
          As for the nuclear warhead, nothing prevents them from being installed instead of high explosive.
      2. gorbunov.vladisl (Vlad Dudnik) April 15 2019 06: 09
        ..each such submarine carries about 180 rockets.

        When a sufficient number of "Petrel" is put on alert, the naval component of the nuclear triad may not be needed at all.
        It is cheaper to maintain a ground group of "Petrel" than a flock of "Sharks".
        1. Pishenkov Offline Pishenkov
          Pishenkov (Alexey) April 15 2019 09: 35
          A huge mistake. Cheaper, yes, but not more efficient. If you approach defense solely from the point of view of cost, then it is not needed at all. Extra expenses, and zero profit. Everything that is visible on the surface. Not yet under water. And even if the submarine has "outdated" missiles, it is in many respects more effective than ground-based launchers, even if the enemy does not actually know its point until the launch, making it difficult to destroy launchers on nuclear submarines. Not to mention the fact that we do not yet have a sufficient number of new missiles, but the enemy's missile defense system still needs to be “occupied” with something, here the number and hidden launches will work. The "Petrel Group" is a rather distant future, and the defense should work both now and in the coming years, while this grouping will be created by someone in the metal ... And it is not known what when the enemy will have it. They, too, are not stupid tea, they know how to do something, and when necessary and quickly even ...
  5. Pishenkov Offline Pishenkov
    Pishenkov (Alexey) April 14 2019 15: 19
    Regarding the conversion of the nuclear submarine into anything civilian - complete nonsense. Civilian commercial transport of anything should be, first of all, cost-effective, and there and then, when designing, it was not profitability that was laid, but the ability to perform a combat mission. This is the same as making a taxi out of a Formula 1 car, for example - it's cool, of course, but it's unrealistic to operate ... I'm not talking about various other purely technical factors, as already mentioned here, and the stability among them is not even first place.
    The potential and vitality of these ships is huge, rearmament is a perfectly possible and normal thing, not to mention that they, with what they are, are today formidable weapons.
    And about the cost of modernization and operation, it is absolutely precisely stated in the article - in the country for such a city ... but billions are spent that the brains refuse to accept it, but it seems like there is no money for this ... And for the Ministry of Defense, for example, parks the "patriot" throughout the country is probably more important. No, this, of course, is also a necessary thing, but it could have been more modest, if they do not have enough money to operate the submarines in service ...
    1. gorbunov.vladisl (Vlad Dudnik) April 15 2019 06: 30
      The potential and vitality of these ships is huge, rearmament is a perfectly possible and normal thing, not to mention that they, with what they are, are today formidable weapons.

      In this you are certainly right.
      But I have reason to believe that the country's leadership will make the main bet in the country's defense capability on ground missile groups. Especially in the light of recent developments and the abolition of a number of international treaties.
      The same Americans are rearming their submarines with cruise missiles for what? To attack someone else's territory. We don't seem to have such a task. And to defend their territory, submarines with 200 "Caliber" are not needed.
      It's another matter if we want to adopt the American experience of projecting power around the world, then yes, "Sharks" with "Calibers" (and other "Onyxes") are the best fit for these purposes.
      1. Pishenkov Offline Pishenkov
        Pishenkov (Alexey) April 15 2019 09: 49
        The same Americans rearm their submarines with cruise missiles for what? To attack foreign territory. We seem to have no such task.

        You are mistaken, there is such a task. And there is no other task. You can call it whatever you like, for example, "retaliatory strike", but the essence of this does not change in any way.
        Cooling hotheads in the United States and NATO mainly requires strike systems of weapons (and Petrel also has a strike system), otherwise, even with a defensive doctrine, no matter how strong a defense system against all that we could build, it would stop nobody, all the time there will be attempts to overcome it with at least quality, at least quantity. To stop a potential adversary is really possible only by the threat of its complete and guaranteed destruction.
        1. Pishenkov Offline Pishenkov
          Pishenkov (Alexey) April 16 2019 10: 36
          Somehow somehow the thought about these Sharks does not let me in. Looks like a heart took ... I’ll add a replica to myself ... Apparently the only thing that these submarines could be converted into, although also not a civilian thing — is something like an underwater repair and rescue ship for the same submarines. In bad weather at or at great and even medium depths, rescue operations from the surface are most often impossible. But to approach under water and theoretically something can be done. The topic is of course complicated, as well as what is more likely a question for the Navy GUK, but I don’t think it is unrealistic ... Especially with the size of the Shark and the presence of many launch mines, which theoretically can be converted to floodgates ... There would also be a place for various technical devices there was found, as well as to accommodate, for example, evacuated crew members .... The apparatus would have turned out to be unique, and used, again, theoretically, definitely and for something else ... Lifting work and ordinary ships, which something work in depth ... etc ...
          Well, such a thought is shorter. Maybe someone will hear me. Maybe this will somehow prevent the second Kursk. And Kursk is just what everyone knows. But the problems of these kind of boats in the underwater position already had the sea, and people died. Nobody just advertised. Especially in the USSR.