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Russian shipyard to float out new stealth sub for Navy in May

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A Varshavyanka-class submarine. An Admiralty shipyard photo

MOSCOW (BNS): Russia's Admiralty Shipyard will float out the second of six Project 636.3 Varshavyanka-class diesel-electric stealth submarines for the Navy's Black Sea Fleet in May this year.

Construction of the submarine, named Rostov-on-Don, had started at the Shipyard's St. Petersburg facility in November 2011, and it is expected to be delivered to the Navy in another two years.

The first submarine of the class, the Novorossiisk, was laid down in August 2010, while construction of the third vessel, Stary Oskol, began in August 2012.

While the lead sub Novorossiisk will begin dock trials on February 1, construction of the fourth vessel, the Krasnodar, is expected to start on February 20, Ria Novosti reported quoting the shipyard.

The much anticipated delivery of the submarines, dubbed "black holes in the ocean" by the US Navy because they are nearly undetectable when submerged, is a key part of Russia's naval strategy in the Mediterranean, where Moscow has recently deployed a permanent task force consisting of some 10 surface ships, the report said.

An improved variant of the Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines, the Varshavyanka-class of subs feature advanced stealth technology, extended combat range, modern inertial navigation system and the ability to strike land, surface and underwater targets.

Each vessel has an underwater speed of 20 knots, a cruising range of 643 kilometers with the ability to patrol for 45 days. It can carry a 52-member crew and will be armed with 18 torpedoes and eight surface-to-air missiles.

The submarines have primarily been designed for anti-shipping and anti-submarine missions in relatively shallow waters.

The Russian Navy currently operates 20 diesel-electric submarines and the Black Sea Fleet has only one Kilo-class submarine, the Alrosa, which was inducted in the Navy in 1990.

All new six Varshavyanka-class submarines will be deployed at the Novorossiisk naval base by 2016, according to the Russian Navy.

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