Russian SIERRA-II attack submarine ('Condor')
Two titanium-hulled SIERRA-II nuclear powered attack submarines serve with Russia’s Northern Fleet stationed near the Arctic Circle. The last Titanium-Hulled attack submarines completed, they represent a premium design compared to the more numerous AKULA Class.
The first of the original Project-945 SIERRA-I Class boats was laid down in 1979 and joined the Navy in 1984. Two SIERRA-Is were joined by two of the improved Project-945A SIERRA-II Class in 1986 and 1989. A single further improved Project-945AB SIERRA-III was laid down but abandoned at the end of the Cold War.
Compared to the SIERRA-I, the -II model featured an enlarged sail with two rather than one escape pods in it. One of the pods is offset to port and the other to starboard. A more subtle improvement is an enlarged main sonar, the same MGK-501 Skat passive array fitted to the larger AKULA Class. The increased size of the sonar means that the large-diameter 650mm torpedo tubes had to be replaced by regular 533mm tubes.
Like most modern SSNs the class is covered in sonar absorbing Anechoic tiles. These often fall off creating a pockmarked surface and disheveled appearance. The SIERRAs suffer from this more than most other classes, possibly due to difficulty attaching the tiles to the titanium hull.
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