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Foxtrot (class) / (Project 641)

Diesel-Electric Ocean-Going Attack Submarine [ 1958 ]

The Foxtrot-class diesel-electric attack submarines became one of the more successful post-World War 2 designs for the Soviets.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 12/04/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The Foxtrot-class group of submarines became the most successful of the Soviet post-World War 2 diesel-electric attack submarine offerings. The design saw construction from the period spanning 1957 to 1983 and were in service from 1958 until as recently as 2014 with foreign navies. Seventy-four total boats made up the class and these served the Soviet/Russian navies as well as the naval services of Cuba, Libya, India, Poland and Ukraine. A single Ukrainian Foxtrot boat was taken over by Russian forces during the 2014 Russian invasion of Crimea.

The Foxtrot-class was preceded by the Zulu-class boats and was itself succeeded by the Tango-class.

As the earlier Zulu-class were quickly found to lack strength, and therefore showcased restricted operating capabilities, thought was immediately set upon a new submarine design which led to the development of Project 641 (NATO codename of "Foxtrot"). Some sixty-two (batch of 45 and 17 boats) were set aside for service in the powerful Soviet underwater force and all were constructed at Yard 196 (Leningrad). Two of the lot were eventually lost to accident which reduced overall strength only slightly - but not overall fleet lethality.

The boats displaced 2,0000 tons when surfaced and 2,515 tons when submerged. Overall length was 295 feet with a beam of 24.2 feet and a draught down to 19.3 feet. Power was served through 3 x Kolomna 2D42M diesel units of 2,000 horsepower output and 3 x Electric motors with two of the trio generating 1,350 horsepower and the third outputting 2,700 horsepower. Power was sent to 3 x shafts. A single auxiliary motor was also carried. Performance included a maximum surfaced speed of 16 knots and a maximum submerged speed of 15 knots. Range was out to 20,000 nautical miles giving the Foxtrot-class excellent reach. It could stay submerged for up to five days. Its crew numbered seventy-eight.

Armament was 10 x torpedo tubes with six located at the bow and four at the stern. Twenty-two torpedo reloads were carried.©MilitaryFactory.com
The Foxtrot-class was a regular component of all four Soviet Navy fleets and represented one of the more important boat groups of the Cold War years. Relatively fast and powerful, they showcased the Soviet commitment to an effective underwater attack force rivaled by few world powers of the period - this prior to the shift to all-nuclear-powered types. At least four of the Soviet Navy Foxtrot boats took part in the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962.

The Foxtrot design was eventually made available to several Soviet-aligned nations and the first foreign operator of the series became India. Eight new-build boats were delivered to the Indian Navy from the period spanning 1968 to 1975 and these were renamed as part of the Kalvari-class (all are now decommissioned). Libya followed and received six boats between 1976 and 1983 and all are believed to be non-functional (2016). Similarly the Cuban Navy took delivery of six boats. Poland received a pair of ex-Soviet Navy Foxtrot boats (ORP Vilk and ORP Dzik) in the late 1980s and operated these into 2003. The Ukrainian Navy received a handful of ex-Soviet Navy Foxtrot boats and one of this batch (Zaporizhzhia) was later reclaimed by the Russians in 2014 as it lay in Crimean waters.

Save for the Indian boats, all export-minded Foxtrot boats were accordingly fitted with lesser electronics and weapons - keeping the Soviet models ahead of any possible ally-turned-adversary. Soviet Foxtrot boats ended their days as Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) training platforms before being given up for good. Some of the class have been preserved as floating museums.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Cuba; India; Libya; Polish; Russia; Soviet Union; Ukraine
Operators National flag of Cuba National flag of India National flag of Libya National flag of Russia National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of Ukraine
Soviet Union
National Origin
Hull Class
Seventy-four boats completed led by B-94 and ending with B-409.

Submerged Attack
Traveling under the surface to search, track, and / or engage or reconnoiter areas.
Maritime Patrol
Active patroling of vital waterways and maritime areas; can also serve as local deterrence against airborne and seaborne threats.
Fleet Support
Serving in support (either firepower or material) of the main surface fleet in Blue Water environments.

295.0 feet
(89.92 meters)
24.2 feet
(7.38 meters)
19.3 feet
(5.88 meters)
Displacement (Submerged)

3 x Kolomna 2D42M diesel engines developing 2,000 horsepower; 2 x Electric motors developing 1,350 horsepower with additional 1 x Electric motor developing 2,700 horsepower; 1 x Auxiliary motor of 180 horsepower; 3 x Shafts.
16.0 knots
(18.4 mph)
Surface Speed
15.0 knots
(17.3 mph)
Submerged Speed
19,999 nm
(23,015 miles | 37,039 km)
1 knot = 1.15 mph; 1 nm = 1.15 mile; 1 nm = 1.85 km

6 x 533mm (21") torpedo tubes in bow
4 x 533mm (21") torpedo tubes in stern

Up to 22 torpedo reloads carried.


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Image of the Foxtrot (class) / (Project 641)
Image from the Public Domain.

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