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Russian Black Sea Fleet sub arrives for first dock repairs after Mediterranean mission

The Black Sea Fleet’s Project 636.3 diesel-electric submarine Krasnodar is currently staying in Baltiysk

MOSCOW, July 29. /TASS/. The Black Sea Fleet’s Project 636.3 diesel-electric submarine Krasnodar arrived in the Baltic region for its first planned dock repairs after the completion its mission in the Russian Navy’s Mediterranean taskforce, a source close to Crimean military circles told TASS on Wednesday.

"The submarine is currently staying in Baltiysk where preparatory measures are underway before the start of repairs at the Kronshtadt Marine Plant," the source said.

TASS has no official confirmation of this information yet.

According to the data of specialized foreign websites, a Project 636.3 Russian submarine accompanied by a tugboat transited the English Channel on July 20. It was tracked by UK Navy ships.

As the source specified, the same-type submarine Stary Oskol that was on combat patrol together with the Krasnodar in the Russian Navy’s Mediterranean Squadron, has already undergone repairs at the Kronshtadt Marine Plant. The sub took part in Russia’s Main Naval Parade on July 26 and returned to the Shipyard.

A source in military and diplomatic circles earlier told TASS that the Stary Oskol was expected to return to its operation off Syria’s coast within the Russian Navy’s Mediterranean taskforce in July.

Currently, the same-type submarine Rostov-on-Don is operating in the Russian Navy’s Mediterranean Squadron. As the Black Sea Fleet’s press office reported, it will subsequently sail to Russia’s northwest for planned repairs.

Project 636.3 conventional subs

The Admiralty Shipyard (part of Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation) has built a series of six Project 636.3 diesel-electric submarines for the Black Sea Fleet. The three of them, the Veliky Novgorod, the Kolpino and the Rostov-on-Don, numerously delivered strikes with Kalibr-PL cruise missiles against terrorist targets in Syria.

The submarines Stary Oskol and Krasnodar joined the Russian Navy’s permanent Mediterranean taskforce in April 2019 to replace the same-type subs Veliky Novgorod and Kolpino, which had stayed in the Mediterranean Sea after their transit from the Baltic Sea and then sailed to the Black Sea. Their crews were rotated every three months. In late December 2019, the Stary Oskol arrived at the Kronshtadt Marine Plant for repairs.

Project 636.3 submarines are referred to the third generation of diesel-electric subs. These submarines are considered among the world’s most noiseless vessels. They develop a speed of up to 20 knots, can dive to a depth of about 300 meters and their sea endurance is 45 days. The sub has a crew of 52 men and displaces about 4,000 tonnes.

Project 636 submarines are considered to be the most noiseless among Russian conventional subs. They have been dubbed the ‘Black Hole’ for their unique quietness. They are also furnished with modern radar and communications systems, sonars and 533mm torpedoes.

Russian Navy’s Mediterranean taskforce

The Soviet Navy’s 5th Mediterranean Squadron served as a prototype for the Russian Navy’s permanent Mediterranean task force operating at present. The 5th operational Soviet Squadron dealt with the tasks of naval presence in the Mediterranean theater of operations during the Cold War period.

Its main rival was the US Navy’s 6th Fleet. The Soviet Squadron was disbanded on December 31, 1992, a year after the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

As it emerged in 2013, Russia was creating a new operational Mediterranean task force in its modern history. Russia’s new permanent task force is dealing with planned and urgent combat missions arising in the Mediterranean theater of operations, including warding off threats for Russia’s national and military security.