The Ukrainian Submarine Zaporizya Made Her First Dive

Ukrainian Submarine U01 Zaporizya returning from trials. Photo: Ukraine Armed Forces

The effort of the Ukrainian Navy and the resources they spend to put their only submarine Foxtrot class (Project 641) U-01 Zaporizya back to full operational status is amazing.

I have tried to follow and report of these efforts since I have heard about it, in February 2010. After being left unused and unmaintained for a very long periods, the submarine was painstakingly and gradually restored to operational status with the help of Russian Navy.

On 18th July 2012 U-01 Zaporizya made her first succesful dive and her underwater performance was tested. I think that the dive may have been limited to the periscope depth but nevertheless it was an important step in the restoration of the submarine back to the service.

The trial dive of the vessel has been successful. According to a special commission, the submarine is completely controllable, which is the most important thing,” the acting commander of the Ukrainian Navy, Vice Admiral Yuriy Ilyin said after the test dive in Sevastopol on Wednesday.

“We do not doubt that the sea trials of the Zaporizhia submarine will be successful and the submarine will enter the fleet,” Ilyin said.


Russians Doubled Their Submarine Force In The Black Sea


The existing Russian Varshaviyanka (project 877) class submarine Alrosa on left and the newly gained Russian Foxtrot (Project 641) class submarine Zaporizya on right. Photo: Anton Blinov.

Last weekend on 22 March 2014, a second submarine joined the Russian Black Sea Fleet. This Foxtrot (Project 641) class submarine, launched in 1970 is not among the new constructions to strengthen the Black Sea Fleet. It is more or less adopted.

According to RIA Novosti the half of the crew of the Ukrainian submarine Zaporizya decided to join the Russian Navy.

Captain 1st Rank Anatoly Varochkin, the commander of the Black Sea Fleet’s submarine flotilla, told RIA Novosti that half of the Zaporizhzhia’s crew, including the captain, refused to serve in the Russian Navy and left the vessel. “Half of the submarine’s crew is ready to serve [Russia] and fulfill their tasks. They know their vessel and will continue service,” Varochkin said adding that the submarine was in a poor technical condition.

Well the submarine is old and she can probably cannot dive deeper than her periscope depth which might be between 12 to 15 meters. But it is not important what the Russians got it is important how they have got it.

The Russian blogger Anton Blinov has an excellent set of photos taken at the re flagging ceremony of the old Soviet, old Ukrainian new Russian submarine.


For further reading:
The Ukrainian Submarine Zaporizya Made Her First Dive
The Ukrainian Submarine Is Back In Regular Service
The Sole Ukraine Submarine Conducted Sea Trials In Black Sea
Russians Teach Ukrainians How To Escape From A Sunken Submarine
Turkey To Train Ukrainian Submariners?
Renewal of Naval Relations Between Russia and Ukraine
Russia Is Helping Ukraine To Maintain A Submarine

An Update On Submarines Of The Black Sea Navies

The submarines are getting fashionable again by the navies of the Black Sea nations.

Well not every country is happy to have a silent service in its navy. Bulgaria its sole Romeo (Project 633) class BNS Slava in 2011 and sold her bulk in December 2013, effectively ending its submarine service after 94 years.

But Bulgaria is the exception. Ukraine has spent considerable amounts of money and time to get her only submarine a veteran Foxtrot (Project 641) class U-01 Zaporizya back in to service. This boat is in regular service since January 2013.

The Russian Black Sea Fleet has one active Kilo class (Project 877) diesel submarine, Alrosa (originally Varshavyanka) and one Tango class submarine Svyatoy Knyaz Georgiy. Though still listed as an active unit the status of the Svyatoy Knyaz Georgiy is dubious. This is why Russia is planning to add 6 new submarines to the BSF in the next couple of years. The first of these boats Novorossiysk is launched in November 2013 and is expected to enter into the Black Sea in July 2014.

According to Romanian website, Romanian Navy decided to modernize and reactive it’s only submarine Delfinul.  She is a Kilo class diesel submarine. She entered into service in 1986 and she has not been used since 1996.

The cost of reactivating the submarine is estimated between $20 – 30 million. It is also not clear whether the announcement of the Romanian Defense Minster in Contanta was just for a lip service or for real.

The Ukrainian Submarine Is Back In Regular Service

I am very much respecting all the efforts Ukrainian Navy is putting to maintain a submarine force. Given their limited resources and their dependence on foreign counties on some critical issues they could easily give up their silent service just like Bulgarians did, or the Danish. By giving up their silent service they could have saved important resources some of which might have been used to speed up the construction of their corvette. But no! The Ukrainians are determined to keep their silent service up and running even if it means using an almost obsolete 41-year-old submarine probably only limited to (or near) periscope depth.

According to Ukrainian Defence Ministry the sole Ukrainian submarine the Foxtrot (project 641) class diesel-electric submarine Zaporizya returned to regular service.

In Sevastopol held celebrations to mark the adoption of a large submarine “Zaporozhye” to combat fleet.

Congratulate Submariner with a significant event came to head the Center for Naval Operations Navy captain 1 rank Andrei Tarasov, veterans-submariners, sailors and family members of chefs – representatives Vilnyanskiy district administration of Zaporozhye region.

The celebrations began with the alignment of personnel and head to “Zaporozhye” Navy flag and flags roztsvichuvannya.

The commander of a large submarine “Zaporozhye” Captain 2 rank Robert Shahyeyev said that last year the crew at the same time was very difficult and responsible, but by the number of successful assignments.

- Last year, “Zaporozhye” took part in joint Ukrainian-Russian exercises “Fairway of Peace”, the sea trials out to sea and conducted a dive to periscope depth, and also participated in a joint celebration of Fleet of Ukraine and the Russian Navy Day in Sevastopol – said the commander of the submarine.

At the end of the crew members of a large submarine “Zaporozhye” and present guests were photographed together in memory.

Well, hats off to this remarkable success.

The Sole Ukraine Submarine Conducted Sea Trials In Black Sea

Ukrainian naval ensign raised on Zaporizya. Photo: Official Ukraine Armed Forces

I was slow to follow this event but it is important.

Between 23 and 27 April 2012, the sole Ukrainian submarine Zaporizya conducted a series of test in the Black Sea. This is the first time that the 42 year old submarine sailed alone since 1992.

The Foxtrot (Project 641) class Zaporizya is the only submarine in Ukrainian inventory. She her large scaled overhaul started in February 2010. The aim of Ukrainian Navy was to have her ready for duty by the end of May 2011.

According to Jane’s Fighting Ships , Zaporizya has maximum speeds of 16 kt surfaced and 15 kt dived, with a range of 20,000 n miles at 8 kt surfaced and 380 n miles at 2 kt dived.

Although the age and the condition of the submarine will restrict her operations below water considerably without any doubt this trials mark a very important step for the Ukrainian Navy as they have regained their submarine force back. I must say that I envy the courage of the crew of the boat.

Today, April 27, after successfully conducted in the Black Sea the first phase of sea trials to return submarine Sevastopol Naval Forces of Ukraine “Kiev”.

At 15.20 pryshvartuvalasya submarine to berth wall of the 13th shipyard Black Sea fleet.

The crew of the submarine “Zaporizhia” personally met the Commander of Naval Forces Admiral Viktor Maksimov Ukraine. Chairman of the host committee captain 1st rank Roman sleek submarine commander Captain 2nd rank Robert Shaheyev commander reported the successful completion of the campaign.

Commander of Naval Forces Admiral Viktor Maksimov Ukraine by telephone reported the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Dmytro Salamatin the successful completion of the first phase of sea trials and mooring berth at the factory.

Head of the Ministry of Defence Dmitry Salamatin greeted the crew of the submarine “Zaporizhia” the successful performance of assigned tasks and return to Sevastopol.

Ship for the first time since 1993 on April 25 went to sea with its own power plant. For three days the crew submarine was tested in a complex work of power plant at different running modes and performance equipment and technology.Members of the combat units together with experts sudnoremontnykamy-tested health equipment and various tools.

In particular, in the electromechanical part of the battle were determined allowable load on the main diesel engine, with dimensions appropriate parameters at different frequencies of rotation of the crankshaft and the line shaft. Reliable feeding device horizontal and vertical steering wheels steering, tested hydraulic and air system pressure.

In addition, by controlling the verification capacity of the battery when running motors at full power in the above-water position, and also tested other systems and mechanisms.

During sea trials are carefully checked the reliability of communications, radar, search, sonar equipment and mate.

Overall, during sea trials the boat was about 135 nautical miles in the above-water position.

It should be stressed that the test took place in view of strict control in terms of security, the deployment of all necessary protective systems and equipment.

The reactivation of the submarine creates a new dilemma for the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Keeping the 41 year old submarine with a very limited remaining service life, will be very difficult and expensive, draining valuable resources needed for other naval projects. On the other hand scrapping the sole submarine of the navy after so much public attention will not be a good political move.

I think the words of the Ukrainian Defense Minister Dmytro Salamatin sums the situation nicely: I wish you, to the number of dives always coincided with the number rises to the surface “

Russians Teach Ukrainians How To Escape From A Sunken Submarine

According to blog RusNavy Intelligence, Russian and Ukrainian navies conducted a submarine evacuation exercise together. Since Viktor Yanukovych’s election as Ukraine president, the cooperation between Russian and Ukrainian navies has grown considerably. Russia is actively helping Ukraine to maintain and renovate its only submarine U01 Zaporizya.

The Foxtrot (Project 641) class Zaporizya is the only submarine in Ukrainian inventory.  She is undergoing a large scaled overhaul since February 2010. The aim of Ukrainian Navy is to have her ready for duty by the end of this month.

The timing of this exercise is interesting as it is coincident with the larger exercise of similar aim Bold Monarch, organised by NATO. The only Russian submarine in Black Sea Alrosa, is participating to NATO’s exercise off the coast of Spain.

>Submarine News Around The Region

>As I go trough the backlogof stories accumulated while I had no PC, I found these two news of special interest:

Zaporizhzhya with engines running.
Photo: e-Crimea
  1. The work on Zaporizhzhya: Zaporizhzhya is Ukraine’s sole Foxtrot class (Project 641) submarine. She has entered into overhaul in February 2010. She is being overhoauled in 13th Repair Unit with Russian help.

    According to Ukrainian website e-Crimea, the diesel engines of the submarine were tested. Ukraine schedules to end static tests by 15 February 2011 and start sea trials. The submarine is expected to return to active duty after completing her sea trials in May 2011.

  2. Papanikolis in active service: On 22 December 2010, the first Type 214 submarine of Greek Navy, HS Papanikolis entered into active fleet. She was commissioned in 3 November 2010, after a unique and long history of procurement
    Papanikolis in Kiel, a 2009 photo.

    For years Hellenic Navy refused to accept HS Papanikolis claiming the boat was not meeting the requirements. Poor performance from the AIP system, problems with the ISUS combat system, poor surface sea keeping in high seas, and hydraulic system issues were among the major flaws reported. And these flaws were mentioned again and again in printed in internet media to such extend that today it is very difficult (may be impossible) to convince the Greek people that theses flaws were remedied by the Germans.

    According to Greek blog Strategy Report the Greek Defence minister made the following statement:

    “From 2006 until today, yet the public is poisoned with myths and rumors. This submarine is part of today in power in the country is the “submarine tilted”, the “floating coffin”, the “submarine with fins. It should really be ashamed of those who cultivate this systematic undermining of a public asset and a strategic, I would say more precisely, the operational advantage of the National Armed Forces. [Grammer, wording and syntax of Google Translate]

    And the Greek Navy found it neccessary to make the following statement to malicious reports:

    ” From the Navy General Staff announced that a day before the ceremony admitting the submarine “Papanikolis” the fleet, after the ship for more than two months sailed by controlling all the means available under extreme weather conditions, from the Norwegian Sea at Kiel and thence across the Atlantic and the Mediterranean to Greece, some circles make a last attempt to undermine and discredit the most modern and well ship the Greek Navy. The mythology, however, “on the submarine tilted” denied in the most solemn manner.The Navy further states categorically that the “current story” of journalistic [notorious] page is not accurate and has no “source” within the Navy (as in the original version said), nor was any attempt to cross before the posted Internet. [Grammer, wording and syntax of Google Translate]

    By the way, Papanikolis may be the most modern submarine in the region but she still lack an adequate punch.

>Turkey To Train Ukrainian Submariners?

>The Russian naval website reports that Turkey might help Ukraine with the training of the Ukraine submariners.

Ukrainian defense minister Mikhail Yezhel told that he will meet with Turkish counterpart during the visit to Albania, where he will attend annual session of the Southeast Europe Defense Ministerial.

“We’re going to discuss issues of air information exchange and military technical cooperation with Turkish defense minister. I think we should also deliberate the possibility of training of our submarine’s crew. By the way, that was Turkey who agreed to help us in this matter”, underlined the minister.

Currently Ukraine has only one Foxtrot class (Project 641) submarine Zaporizhzhia. She has entered into overhaul in February. There are no reports of her return to the active service.

A systematic and regular training for Turkish Submariners started in 1917 and continued ever since. Turkish Navy has one Submarine Training Center in Gölcük. The Submarine Training Center offers various courses to foreign navies such as Officers Submarine Specialization; Petty Officers Submarine Specialization; Submarine Command and Control; Submarine Fire Control Coordination and Submarine Escape Training Damage Control Courses.

As Turkey does not operate any Foxtrot class submarines any training provided by Turkish Navy will be focusing on general aspects of submarines.

>Bulgaria Will Cease Its Submarine Force

>Bulgarian Defense Minister Anyu Angelov, stated that the life of the only operational Bulgarian submarine Slava has expired, and it will probably be retired in the coming months.

“Calling it a submarine force is too strong because any such unit must include at least two vessels. As you know, we have only one submarine. Its life has expired, and thus the submarine component of the Bulgarian Navy probably won’t exist any more,”

declared the Defense Minister according to

The decommissioning of Romeo (Project 633) class Slava will mean the termination of Bulgaria’s submarine force after 94 years.

Bulgaria is not the only Black Sea country that struggles to keep its submarines in operational condition. The Romanian submarine Kilo (Project 877E) class Delfinul has not been to the sea in the recent years. Ukraine’s sole submarine the Foxtrot (Project 641) class Zaporizya is in dry dock since last February and her operational status is douptful. There has been no public information released about Russian Kilo (Project 877) class Alrosa submarine after the fire in her engine room and her operational status is not clear.

Keeping submarines operational is a very costly business both in material and in personal aspects.

Currently, besides Turkey’s submarines in the Black Sea, there are no other submarines in operational status.

Photo by BGNES via H/T: Kobus

>Renewal of Naval Relations Between Russia and Ukraine

>Since Viktor Yanukovych’s election as Ukraine president the ties between Russia and Ukraine is improving on the naval front. The relations between two countries were at low ebb after 2008 Caucasian war. At that time Ukraine Forbid Russia to use warships based is Sevastopol to be used in a war.

But since February 2010 the relations are improving fast. First Ukraine prolonged the leasing agreement of Sevastopol Naval base for Russian ships, which was crucial for the continuation of Russian Black Sea Fleet. As a gesture Russia offered help to modernize for the Ukraine’s sole submarine the Foxtrot (Project 641) class Zaporizya.

She was acquired by Ukraine after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, but she was seldom at sea. She entered into a dry dock for an overhaul, in February. In March Russia offered help to to ensure the technical maintenance of her.

“We are stepping up our work. We received an application of our Ukrainian partners on the technical maintenance of the submarine, which they repaired and which is going to be put to use,” Vice Admiral Oleg Burtsev, first deputy chief of the staff of the Russian Navy.

While Zaporizya is still in drydock, Now Russia is considering buying the half finished Slava class cruiser Ukraina from Ukraine.

The construction of the cruiser was launched in 1984 at the Nikolayev shipyard in Ukraine but stalled in the 1990ss due to reduction in military expenditure and break up.

The cruiser initially named as Admiral Lobov was renamed the Ukraina in 1992.

According to news portals, Russian-Ukraine intergovernmental commission discussed the purchase of the Ukraine last week.

“We agreed with the Ukrainian side that we will consider all variants of the ship’s fate and present our proposals by the next meting in the fourth of the year,” said Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky, Commander of Russian Navy.

A another senior Russian Navy official told RIA Novosti the cruiser was only 50% complete and that the repairs and upgrade would cost up to 35 billion rubles.

For the price of this ship, four Kilo class diesel electric submarines or four Steregushchy class corvettes can be acquired for the Russian Navy. We will see if Moscow will pay that amount for a single old warship, to reset relation with Kiev or to buy newer corvettes which are desperately need.


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