The Romanian Delfinul, a Soviet-era Kilo-class diesel-electric submarine, has been out of service since 1995 owing to budget issues.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
Credit: Image from the Romanian Ministry of Defence.
Like other Soviet-aligned nations of the Cold War, Romania committed to the Kilo-class diesel-electric attack submarine. Some seventy of the type were constructed in Soviet shipyards and the first boat entered commissioned service in December of 1980. The vessels were highly conventional for their time and found global operators (beyond Romania) in Algeria, China, India, Poland, Iran and Vietnam (ex-Soviet boats fell to the new Russian Navy).
Romania obtained just a single boat and commissioned it as "Delfinul". It was used exclusively to train seamen in the fine art of Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW). Two other boats were planned in the series but the Romanian naval budget excluded these going forward. The boat was procured by the Romanian government during 1984 and training was held in the Soviet Union prior to the official hand-off. Delivery followed in 1985.
Her qualities followed in line with the existing Kilo-class boats of the Soviet Navy. She displaced 2,460 when surfaced and 3,200 tons when submerged. Overall length was 239.1 feet with a beam of 42 feet and a draught down to 47.6 feet. The diesel-electric powerplant (requiring surfacing to recharge the battery pack) allowed for a maximum submerged speed of 20 knots to be reached (12 knots when surfaced). On board was a crew of fifty-four. Armament centered on 6 x 533mm (21") bow-facing torpedo tubes. The torpedoes could be replaced with up to 28 x naval mines. The crew also had access to 8 x SA-16 (9K38) "Igla" (NATO: "Gimlet") shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile launchers for close-in defense (when surfaced).
The boat managed a career spanning over sixty five practice sorties and was never used in combat. She fell out of useful service around 2005-2006 and remains as such as of 2018 - her future still in limbo primarily due to budgetary reasons.
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