A Unique Submarine: New Concept From Russia's Famous Rubin Design Bureau
Modern submarines are undoubtedly amongst the most powerful and effective warships to ever exist. And those offered by Russia's famous Rubin Design Bureau are among the most capable. The stable includes the mighty Typhoon Class, the worlds' largest. And the similarly large and unique Belgorod. And at the other end of the spectrum, the popular Kilo Class diesel-electric submarine which has been widely exported.
The Kilo class is suitable for a wide range of missions from 'first night' cruise missile strike to anti-shipping and ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance). It can even play a role in maritime law enforcement if called upon. Being a submarine, it can observe illegal activities covertly.
Yet even the Kilo Class is a relatively expensive piece of kit. And therein lies the fundamental problem with modern submarines.
What Rubin feels the world needs is a much more modest submarine. One which is particularly well suited to the types of missions that regular boats are too treasured for. Border patrol and law enforcement.
For this Rubin has proposed a submersible patrol ship combining the benefits of a submarine and a surface ship. They call this concept the Sentry, or BOSS (Border and Offshore Submersible Sentry). The submersible would be used to prevent illegal trade, poaching and as rescue or research vessel.
At around 1,000 tons displacement the vessel would still be capable of operating as a regular coastal submarine. It can be armed with torpedoes and missiles if desired. And it could still be particularly useful for ISR and seabed warfare.
Ships of this type are multi-functional and can be used as patrol ships, and as rescue or research vessels as well. Equipment for the new ship comes mostly from surface ships and aircraft and is commercially available.
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And while Russia could possibly use such a vessel, it is aimed at the export market. It is designed to be relatively inexpensive, making it affordable for smaller navies. Rubin suggests that it could be an inexpensive training vessel to give crews seagoing experience. This could also prepare the infrastructure before purchasing classical submarines. A bit like a starter-sub.
The design is between 60 - 70 meters (197 - 230 feet) long depending on customer configuration. It can carry up to 42 people including the boarding party. Two waterproof hangars in the stern allow for fast boats and UAVs (Uncrewed Air Vehicles). Launch of the UAVs would be automated, and the types envisaged could stay aloft for up to 3 hours. An autocannon can be fitted in the sail for warning shots and enforcement, something lacking in regular submarines.
BMT's Coastguard Submarine design has some similarities to the Rubin concept.
Not Alone: Another Concept
British-based international ship design consultancy BMT has also been looking at similar concepts. Their Coast Guard Submarine design shares many ideas in common. It is a variant of their WYVERN design, with major naval systems such as torpedo tubes removed, and relevant systems added. These include a cannon and stowage for fast launches. And like Rubin, BMT have adapted the hull shape for better surface seakeeping.
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