Russia has decommissioned the last operational Akula-class submarine (NATO: Typhoon). The ship, named Dmitri Donskoi, will be sold for scrap.
The disappearance of these submarines is good news for the West. A single ship was capable of carrying 200 thermonuclear warheads and could single-handedly devastate the United States.
One of the most dangerous weapons ever developed, the Akula class of submarines became famous after a ship – imagined as a larger, better-armed version with a revolutionary propulsion system – appeared in the 1990 film The Hunt for Red October, starring Sean Connery. The production was based on Tom Clancy’s 1984 book of the same name.
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In Dmitri Donskoi’s case, the first time the two OK-650 nuclear reactors on board will be removed and safely stored. They each have a capacity of 190 MW.
The ship, numbered TK-208, was the first of its class. Construction of the submarine began in 1976, and it was launched in 1980, with active service the following year. In recent years, the Dmitri Donskoi has been used for testing the new Bulava ballistic missiles.
These submarines were the largest and most powerful ever built. With a length of 175 metres and a submerged displacement of 48,000 tonnes, they could reach a maximum speed of 50 km/h underwater. On board were 20 R-39 Rif ballistic missiles, each equipped with 10 100-kiloton nuclear warheads. These were supplemented by six torpedo tubes and a surface-to-air missile launcher.
Being so large, the ship had a crew of 160. Because of their size, Akula submarines offered extra comfort for the crew: they had spacious saunas and fitness rooms.
The ships of this class were replaced by the Borei class, equipped with Bulava missiles.
Now the title of the world’s largest submarine in active service goes to the American Ohio class, which is 175 metres long and has a displacement, submerged, of 18,750 tons.
Trailer for the film The Hunt for Red October:
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