Zulu-class submarine

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Project 611 Soviet submarine Amsterdam.jpg
Zulu-class submarine in Amsterdam
Class overview
Name: Zulu
Operators: Soviet Navy Ensign Soviet Navy
Preceded by: K class
Succeeded by: Foxtrot class
In commission: 1952
Completed: 26
Retired: 26
General characteristics
Type: attack submarine
  • 1875 tons surfaced
  • 2387 tons submerged
Length: 90 m (295 ft)
Beam: 7.5 m
Draught: 5.14 m
  • 3 diesel engines (6000 hp)
  • 3 electric motors (5400 hp)
  • Surfaced: 18 knots (33 km/h)
  • Submerged: 16 knots (30 km/h)
Test depth: 200 m (656 ft)
Complement: 70 officers and men
  • 6 bow and 4 stern 533-mm (21-inch) torpedo tubes
  • 22 torpedoes
  • 6 of the submarines were equipped with R-11FM Scud missiles

The Soviet Navy's Project 611 (NATO reporting name: Zulu class) were one of the first Soviet post-war attack submarines. They were roughly as capable as the American GUPPY fleet-boat conversions.[1] They were a contemporary of the Whiskey-class submarines and shared a similar sonar arrangement. Like most conventional submarines designed 1946-60, their design was influenced by the German Type XXI U-boat of the World War II era.[2]

The first few boats of the class were equipped with twin 57mm and twin 25mm anti-aircraft guns and no snorkels, although the guns were removed and snorkels added soon after the boats entered service.[3][4] Six were converted in 1956 to become the world's first ballistic missile submarines, one armed with a single R-11FM Scud missile and five others with two Scuds each. They were designated as Project AV 611 and received the NATO reporting name of Zulu V.[1] The missiles were too long to be contained in the boat's hull, and extended into the enlarged sail. To be fired, the submarine had to surface and raise the missile out of the sail. Soviet submarine B-67 successfully launched a missile on 16 September 1955.[5]

The Zulus were the basis for the very successful Foxtrot-class submarine, which lent their hull to the Golf class of ballistic missile submarine.

Twenty-six boats were built overall, entering service from 1952 to 1957, 8 of them in Leningrad and 18 in Severodvinsk. Their names were initially B-61 through B-82 and B-88 through B-91, with most renamed in the 1970s or 1980s.[6] The class received the NATO reporting names Zulu I through Zulu V, the last referring to the five converted missile-firing submarines (excluding the prototype). It is unclear from references how many of each subclass were built.[4][7] Most were converted to non-combat uses and eventually scrapped.[8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Norman Polamr and K. J. Moore, 'Cold War Submarines,'
  2. Sean Maloney, 'To Secure Command of the Sea,' University of New Brunswick thesis 1991, p.315
  3. Polmar, Norman; Moore, Kenneth J. (2003). Cold War Submarines: The Design and Construction of U.S. and Soviet Submarines, 1945-2001. Dulles, VA: Potomac Books. p. 30. ISBN 978-1574885941.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 Gardiner, p. 398
  5. Polmar, Norman; White, Michael (2010-11-29). Project Azorian: The CIA and the Raising of the K-129. Naval Institute Press. p. 20. ISBN 9781591146902. Retrieved 14 July 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Large submarines - Project 611". Retrieved 19 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "611". Retrieved 19 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "611". Retrieved 19 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Gardiner, Robert and Chumbley, Stephen, Conway's all the world's fighting ships 1947-1995, Naval Institute Press, 1996. ISBN 1-55750-132-7.

External links