K-141 Kursk

Article

August 19, 2022

K-141 Kursk - Russian nuclear-powered submarine of the third generation, project 949A (series: Antiej, NATO code Oscar II) designed to fight large surface units, especially aircraft carriers. The construction of the unit was completed in May 1994, and then entered service in the Russian Northern Fleet in the same year. The ship conducted mainly training activities in Arctic waters, in the summer of 1999 she made a cruise to the Mediterranean Sea to observe the activities of NATO conducting the Operation Allied Force at that time. In the summer of 2000, in the Barents Sea, he took part in the largest exercise by the Russian navy since the collapse of the Soviet Union. During these exercises, on August 12, 2000, the ship was destroyed and sank with the entire 118 crew, as a result of an explosion concentrated to the value of 85-98% hydrogen peroxide (HTP) used in Russia as an oxidant in transported by submarine torpedo 65-76 Kit. The rescue operation of the survivors failed due to the low efficiency of the outdated Russian rescue equipment, the ossified bureaucratic system of the Russian navy, and the Russian defense ministry's refusal to accept foreign aid. Examination of the wreckage after recovery from the sea showed that 23 people survived torpedo explosions inside the ship's hull, who, while waiting for rescue from the surface, took refuge in the last, stern compartment of the unit. In view of the prolonged rescue operation due to Russian refusals to accept international aid, all of them died.

Building and construction

The ship was designed at the Rubin Design Bureau (formerly CKB-18) as one of the third generation Project 949A units, known in the West as Oscar II, by adding one section behind the kiosk, an enlarged version of the earlier Project 949 units (Oscar I). The additional section was probably intended to modify the engine room by adding a mass silencing system and an improved MGK-540 sonar. Additional silencing made the ship, like all units of its project, much quieter than earlier Soviet submarines. However, the surface displacement increased by 1,300 tons. The ship's double-hull structure was divided into nine interconnected compartments that were normally accessible except for compartment number 6, which housed two 100,000 horsepower pressure reactors, which were passed through a special anti-radiation corridor. The outer light hull consisted of a shell made of 8 mm thick steel sheets supported on a rigid cylindrical hull made of 50 mm thick steel sheets. The space between the outer shell and the rigid hull was variable and ranged from one to four meters depending on the location. It housed the ship's equipment, sonars and cruise missile silos. The entire light hull was covered with anechoic rubber coatings, suppressing sounds coming from the inside of the unit and diffusing the acoustic beam of the active enemy's sonar. The two reactors were arranged in a line in the middle of the ship, each in a separate pressure-sealed compartment. Each pressurized reactor casing was placed in a water-filled absorption vessel with a volume of 25 meters3, which itself was mounted on a vibration-damping base, in order to absorb the shocks caused by nearby explosions outside the ship. The fuel contained cermet rings or uranium-aluminum dispersion in zirconium, surrounded by 20 to 45% enriched Uranium-235 (30% core equivalent), in 48 assemblies with a total weight of 200 kilograms for each reactor core. The gym was equipped with an emergency stop system