ARKHANGELSK, May 30 (Itar-Tass) - The nuclear submarine Yekaterinburg damaged in a fire in 2011, will be repaired afloat at the Zvyozdochka shipyard, its director Vladimir Nikitin said on Thursday.
"We have such workload with all building rigs occupied; so Yekaterinburg will be repaired on the float," Nikitin said.
At a number of conferences with submarine designers, a possibility was considered to keep the torpedo launchers. "Whereas the hydro-acoustic system was slated for replacement immediately after the fire, opinions differed regarding the torpedo launchers in the bow section of the submarine. We finally decided that they will remain in service," the Zvyozdochka director said.
Yekaterinburg is to be handed over back to the Navy in 2014. Its service life was extended to 2019.
A fire at a dry dock of repair plant # 82 in the village of Roslyakovo, Murmansk region, where the submarine had been brought, occurred at around 16:20, Moscow time, on December 29, 2011. Reports said wooden scaffolding around the vessel caught fire and spread to hull insulation. To put out the blaze, the submarine had to submerge.
The fire was fully extinguished on December 30. Nine people were injured. The Investigative Committee opened a criminal case under Article 374 of Russia's Criminal Code /negligent destruction or damage of military property/.
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said then the submarine would be fully repaired. The repairs are estimated to cost around 500 million roubles.
An inspection team reported that the fire had destroyed the hydroacoutsic set and the antenna array, and seriously damaged the hull's rubber coating.
The fire was caused by gross violations of safety requirements during hot works on the submarine's light hull in its nose section, following collision with a tow-boat as it moored at the Gadzhiyevo base, the inspectors said.
A defense sector official confirmed that the submarine had carried a full set of 16 intercontinental ballistic missiles Sineva with nuclear warheads, torpedoes and mines with conventional charges. The torpedo tubes were loaded and heated to 70 degrees Celsius during the blaze: "when submarines dock for small repairs, their armaments, including nuclear missiles, are not dismantled. Such was the procedure in the USSR; it continues today."
K-84 Yekaterinburg is a strategic nuclear-powered submarine of Project 667 BDRM "Delfin." It was built at the Sevmash shipyard and added to the Navy's arsenal on December 30, 1985.
The submarine is 166 meters long; its width is 12 meters, and displacement - 19,000 tons. It can carry 16 R-29RM ballistic missiles. Its cruising speed is 24 knots /approx 44 kilometers/. It has a crew of 140.
Zvyozdochka specializes in medium repairs of the nuclear submarines of Project 667 BDRM, the backbone of Russia's seaborne strategic nuclear forces. It modernized Yekaterinburg and handed it over to the Northern Fleet in 2003. The company repaired and handed over to the Navy the Novomoskovsk submarine, completing the modernization of all the six submarines of this class. Earlier, the company upgraded K-51 Verkhoturye /1999/, K-84 Yekaterinburg /2003/, K-114 /Tula /2006/, K-117 Bryansk /2008/ and K-18 Karelia /2010/. The project to upgrade the Novomoskovsk was worth eight billion roubles.