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Soviet submarine K-131
Career (Soviet union)
Commissioned: 1962-68
General characteristics
Class & type: Echo II
Displacement: 5,000-6,000tons

Echo Class II Submarine

K-131 was a Project 675 (NATO reporting name Echo II class submarine) of the Soviet Navy's Northern Fleet, it was also reclassified to Submarine K-192.[1]

Disaster

On 25 June 1989,[2] while under the command of Captain First Rank E. Selivanov, the boat suffered a catastrophic fire while on duty in the Norwegian Sea around the Kola Peninsula.[3] A short-circuit in an electrical switchboard in the eighth compartment ignited the clothes of an electrical officer, and spread first to other equipment in that compartment, then into the seventh compartment. Before it was extinguished, the fire had killed thirteen men.

Aid

The fire affected one of the two reactors, forcing the submarine to surface. Using its own freshwater supplies the temperature had been controlled from 150 °C to 108 °C, but by this time the Soviet freighter Konstantin Yuon had come and hooked up a pipe to help.[3] All the cooling water had been turned to the ocean and its radioactive levels were unknown. The service ship Amur had then come to assist the submarine as it had a nuclear waste processing plant on board. However, the heavily contaminated water caused Amur's treatment plant to breakdown.[3] How much waste leaked into the ocean has never been fully verified.

Fate

The submarine was positioned in Ara Bay until 1994 when it was towed to the Navy yard in Shkval. To this day the reactors have not been able to be removed.[3]

Armaments, Specifications & Equipment

The Echo II Class was a nuclear-powered cruise-missile submarine, which could carry up to 8 anti-carrier missiles, designed to strike any aircraft-carrier borne nuclear threat. The missiles could be either conventional or nuclear and all 8 fired in as close as 20 minutes. The submarine would need to be surfaced and would feed the data to the missile while en route to its target. On top of its missile payload the k-131 also had 6 533mm. torpedo tubes on the front side and 4 406mm. torpedo tubes at the rear. On top of these the K-131 carried an array of electronics, radar and sonar.[4] With a weight of 5,000 tons when surfaced and 6,000 tons when submerged the K-131 was 115 metres (377 ft) long, 9 metres (30 ft) wide and 7.5 metres (25 ft) on its draft. She was powered by 2 pressurized-water nuclear reactors giving 30,000 shp through 2 propellers, giving a speed of 20-23 knots. She was manned by about 90 crew members.[3]

References


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