TYPHOON World Submarine Museum
News that the two Pr.941 TYPHOON Class SSBNs laid up in Russia are to be scrapped is sad. The TYPHOON is the largest submarine ever built and has achieved iconic status in both its home country and the West. This strawman proposal is to convert one of the hulls into the main hall of a World Submarine Museum which embodies the sense of community among submariners which has the potential to cross political divides.
Five of the monolithic Pr.941 TYPHOON ballistic missile boats were built but only three remain. TK-17 Arkhangelsk and TK-20 Severstal are decommissioned and laid up in Severodvinsk, and TK-208 Dmitriy Donskoy is in limited active service with the Northern Fleet. This proposal is for either TK-17 or TK-20 to be preserved.
The massive multi-hull boat is unusually suited to re-modeling into a building. The missile compartment sits between two separate pressure hulls, each the same size as a regular submarine. The submarine would be brought onto dry land. Approaching the submarine from the car park, or public transport, visitors would ascend up wide steps and enter through the sonar dome which would be open. The main sonar would be removed. Immediately behind the sonar dome would be the entrance hall with the torpedo room above.
A) Entrance & ticket hall. B) Torpedo room experience. C) Main hall. D) Passage. E) TYPHOON Experience. F) Machinery spaces – out of bounds.
With the missile tubes removed and the pressure hulls partially removed the forward hull becomes a cathedral-like hall with twenty circular roof lights where the missile hatches used to be.
Along the starboard side (to the left as you walk in) would be a largely intact pressure hull with exhibitions including Early Submarines. The port side pressure hull would be cut away to make an exhibition space for SDVs (Swimmer Delivery Vehicles), DPVs (Diver propulsion Devices) and minisubs which are small enough to fit inside. These would be from all countries and would mainly be craft which are not currently exhibited, or are under-recognized. The central section would be left open.
At the far end of the main hall is a lower unoccupied pressure hull below the command hull, itself beneath the sail. This lower hull would have the ends removed, creating passageway to the rest of the museum. Above this large opening, a pipe organ would play in reference to Jules Verne’s 20,000 leagues under the sea. On special occasions the hall could be used for weddings, reunions and remembrance events.
The central hull and part of the port-side flank hull will be preserved to allow a regular submarine experience. This would include the control room and famous swimming pool.
The TYPHOON would be cut into sections and shipped by semi-submersible carriers to a derelict site on the south side of Royal Victoria Dock. The location is accessible from the River Thames (admittedly some challenges getting the TYPHOON in) and close to London City Airport and the Docklands Light Railway. Road access leads to the M11 and A12, and other major roads.
1. Museum site in East London. 2. Museum site with TYPHOON Class SSBN overlaid to scale. 3. The three remaining TYPHOONs in Severodvinsk, Russia.
Other submarines would be moored in the dock.
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A number of submarines could be co-located and open to tour. I have chosen boats which need attention:
- U-475 Black Widow (Russian Pr. 641 FOXTROT Class SS) owned by John Sutton (no relation) and currently moored at Strood, on the River Medway, in South-East England. She is being maintained but desperately needs support. Website.
- HMS Courageous (British Churchill Class nuclear attack submarine). Website.
- USS Ling (US Navy Balao Class fleet submarine). She is docked at the New Jersey Naval Museum in Hackensack, New Jersey but is inaccessible to the public. The museum is closed and she was vandalized. Very sad. Website
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