Research Story of the Week

Shchuka B-class [NATO name 'Akula'] Statistics

DIMENSIONS: 110.23 m by 13.6 m by 13.78 m

WEIGHT: 8,632 tons surfaced, 12,770 tons submerged.

POWER PLANT: 1 OK-650B pressurized water reactor, 190 Mw; 1 Type GT3A steam turbine. The Shchuka B can maintain a surface speed of 11.2 knots and a submerged speed of 33.3 knots.

HULL SYSTEMS: The Shchuka B-class [NATO name 'Akula'] submarine has a double-hulled configuration, consisting of a pressure hull and an outer hull. There are seven watertight compartments within the pressure hull. Maximum operational diving depth is 600 m.

WEAPONS: The Shchuka B is an attack submarine (SSN), but it is capable of carrying nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. Submarines of this class have four 650 mm torpedo tubes and four 533 mm torpedo tubes (the most recent versions of the Shchuka B have six tubes.) The 650 mm tubes can be fitted with liners to allow additional launch capability for 553 mm munitions. A submarine can carry up to 40 weapons.

LAND ATTACK CRUISE MISSILES RK-55 Granat (SS-N-21, NATO name 'Sampson') land attack cruise missiles. The Granat has a 200 kt nuclear warhead. The missile is 8.09 m long, 0.77 m in diameter, weighs 1,700 kg, and has a range of 3,000 km. It is launched from 533 mm torpedo tubes and can be launched from a submerged submarine.
ANTISHIP MISSILES AND TORPEDOES Type 86R and/or Type 88R(SS-N-16 NATO name 'Stallion') antiship missiles and/or torpedoes.


Type 88R (SS-N-16) missiles are 6.7 m long, 0.53 m in diameter, and weigh 1,850 kg. The missile has two configurations used on submarines - Vodoley and Veter. Vodoley carries a 5 kt nuclear warhead. Veter carries a Type 40 torpedo. Type 88Rs have a range of 50 km. The missile is launched from a 650 mm torpedo tube and flies to its target using a solid-fuel booster.
Type 81R Vyuga (SS-N-15 NATO name 'Starfish') antiship missiles. The Vyuga can carry a 5 kt nuclear warhead or a Type 40 torpedo. It has a range of 35 km. The missile can be launched from 533 mm torpedo tubes and flies to its target using a solid-fuel booster.


[1] S.S. Berezhnoy, Atomnyye podvodnyye lodki VMF SSSR i Rossii, (Moscow: Naval kollektsiya, 2001), p. 32.

[2] "Project 971 Shchuka B Akula Class Attack Submarine (Nuclear Powered)," FAS Web Site,

[3] "PLAT - Proekt 971 'Shchuka B'," Rossiyskiy podvodnyy flot Web Site,

[4] "SSN Akula Class (Bars Type 971) Attack Submarine, Russia," Naval Technology Web Site,

[5] "Type 971 'Akula' Class," A Brief Guide to the Russian Navy Web Site,

[6] "SS-N-16 Stallion," FAS Web Site,

[7 ] "SS-N-15 Starfish RPK-2 Viyoga" FAS Web Site,

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