Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Small Arms Warships & Submarines Military Ranks Military Pay Chart (2024) Special Forces
Naval Warfare

Romeo (class) / (Project 633)

Diesel-Electric Attack Submarine [ 1958 ]

The Romeo-class proved an upgraded attack submarine design for the Soviets during the Cold War but the arrival of nuclear-powered types rendered them more or less obsolete.

Authored By: Dan Alex | Last Edited: 12/05/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The 1950s saw considerable growth for the Soviet Navy in regards to its submarine fleet which eventually rivaled that of the United States. The Romeo-class (Project 633) was a new diesel-electric powered group that proved one of the most numerous of its type during the Cold War period (1947-1991), numbering 133 total boats before the end. The series went on to see service with the Soviet Navy as well as the navies of China, North Korea, Algeria, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Egypt, and Syria but its arrival was dampened somewhat by the rise of nuclear-powered submarines begin to take hold in the Soviet naval inventory.

The Romeo-class succeeded the Whiskey-class boats in Soviet service but were, themselves, succeeded by the much improved Foxtrot-class.

The modern North Korean Navy makes some use out of its obsolete Romeo-class fleet (as of 2017). These were received from China in pre-assembled kits which were then completed at North Korean shipyards. At least twenty or so are thought to be in inventory though their value tactical remains suspect. The fleet is thought to be facing (or has already faced) decommissioning in favor of the arriving Sang-O class (detailed elsewhere on this site). The Romeo-class boats from China were known as "Type 033" and this design emerged as a local development/evolution of the Romeo-class boat forced on the nation due to the Sino-Soviet Split. Improvements and redesigns were made to the class throughout its service life by China.

As designed, the Romeo-class boats had a surfaced displacement of 1,475 tons and a submerged displacement of 1,830 tons. Overall length reached 251.2 feet with a beam measuring 22 feet and a draught of 17 feet. Power was from 2 x Marine diesels outputting 4,000 horsepower for surface running and a pair of electric motors for undersea running. These all drove power to 2 x shafts astern. Surfaced speeds could reach over 15 knots and submerged speeds topped at 13 knots. Range was out to 9,000 miles.

Aboard was a crew of fifty-four which included ten officer-level personnel. A complete radar, sonar and Electronic Warfare (EW)/countermeasures fit was also installed. Armament was 8 x 533mm (21") torpedo tubes arranged as six bow-facing and two stern-facing mountings.©MilitaryFactory.com
Their profile was consistent with submarines of the period. The bow was sharp and the deck ran relatively level from bow to stern. The sail was a low-profile, contained design which was seated just ahead of midships. The bow has a bulge along its lower section housing the bow-mounted sonar system. The stern held the rudder control scheme as well as the twin propeller units.

The Soviet Navy originally called for fifty-six of the boats but only twenty were completed from the period spanning 1957 into 1961 - namely because of the growing presence of nuclear-powered types. The rest of the lot were sold to foreign powers (Soviet allies) around the world where most have been decommissioned and scrap. A scant few are thought to remain in Russian Navy service as submarine classrooms and little else. By and large, the design is obsolete by modern standards and holds little tactical value in naval warfare today.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Algeria; Bangladesh; Bulgaria; China; Egypt; North Korea; Russia; Soviet Union; Syria
Operators National flag of Algeria National flag of Bangladesh National flag of Bulgaria National flag of China National flag of Egypt National flag of North Korea National flag of Russia National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of Syria
Soviet Union
National Origin
Hull Class
133 total boats of the class completed.

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.

251.2 feet
(76.57 meters)
22.0 feet
(6.71 meters)
17.0 feet
(5.18 meters)
Displacement (Submerged)

2 x Diesel engines with 2 x Electric motors developing 4,000 horsepower to 2 x Shafts.
15.2 knots
(17.5 mph)
Surface Speed
13.0 knots
(15.0 mph)
Submerged Speed
7,821 nm
(9,000 miles | 14,484 km)
1 knot = 1.15 mph; 1 nm = 1.15 mile; 1 nm = 1.85 km

8 x 533mm (21") torpedo tubes (six bow-facing, two stern-facing).

28 x naval mines could also be carried in the place of torpedo armament.

ALTERNATIVE (Chinese Type 033):
14 x 533mm (21") torpedo tubes OR 28 x Naval mines.


Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War period
Military lapel ribbon for early warship designs
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2


1 / 1
Image of the Romeo (class) / (Project 633)
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2024 Military Pay Chart Military Ranks DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content; site is 100% curated by humans.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane, and MilitaryRibbons.info, cataloguing military medals and ribbons. Special Interest: RailRoad Junction, the locomotive encyclopedia.

©2023 www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-2023 (20yrs)