Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Russia, Italy revisit S1000 non-nuclear sub project

Russia and Italy have revisited the project of S1000 non-nuclear submarine. The project was frozen four years ago. This small submarine has been designed specifically for exports to the third world countries - Egypt, Morocco and others. According to latest reports, there will be only 20, not 50 percent of Russian components in the new submarine. However, Russia will be responsible for the promotion of the submarine on the market.

In particular, not that long ago, the sides discussed an opportunity to restart the joint project. They named several specific measures to promote the submarine in the world market, and agreed to cut the cost of the ship. The last detail is the most interesting one. How is it possible to make a submarine cheaper and more affordable for international customers?

According to reports that appeared in Russian and Western media, the project will become less expensive by abandoning the use of Russia-designed Club missiles underwater launch systems. This, in turn, would cut the costs for their transportation to Italy and customs clearance. According to latest agreements, the ratio of Russian and Italian components in the sub now makes up 20 to 80 respectively (vs. the previous 50 to 50). Thus, Russia will have only one-fifth in the future submarine.

During the conceptual design stage, it was planned to equip the future submarine with Italian-French remote-controlled Black Shark torpedoes and Club complexes that may boast of many years of faultless operation. Why has Club become so expensive all of a sudden?

The fact that the boat has been designed for sales to not very wealthy third world countries - Egypt, Indonesia and Morocco. However, the list of potential buyers includes not a very "poor" country - South Africa.

According to the Kommersant, Russian state company Rosoboronexport (defense export corporation) will be responsible for the international promotion of the submarine. This function originally belonged to the Italian side. The decision may be related to the fact that Russia sells most of its weapons through Rosoboronexport: the corporation has extensive international ties.

The unique project S1000 was launched in 2004. The project is being developed by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri and the Russian Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering Rubin (based in St. Petersburg). The same design bureau works on strategic nuclear submarines for the Russian Navy. In particular, Rubin designs state-of-the-art nuclear-powered submarines of Borei and Borei-A projects.

The works on S1000 sub were conducted in accordance with the technical inquiry and at the expense of the Italian Navy. The conceptual design was practically completed in 2008. Afterwards, the project was virtually shelved due to the lack of funds. It was assumed that a small non-nuclear sub would operate in warm waters, near islands and in shallow waters.

It was originally believed that the construction of S1000 submarines would be Italy's prerogative. The time for the development of technical documentation and the construction of the lead ship was limited to 48 months from the signing of the first contract.

Noteworthy, neither the Italian nor the Russian navies intend to pass S1000 submarines into service. The submarine will be produced exclusively for exports to third countries.

Indeed, Russia will not be able to use such subs due to the geographical position of the country. Russia is washed by cold seas only, and transporting small submarines to tropical areas does not make any sense, officials with the Russian navy believe.

With the length of 56.2 meters, the diameter of 5.5 meters and the displacement of about 1,100 tons, the submarine can reach the speed of up to 14 knots. The immersion depth of S1000 makes up 250 meters. The crew will consist of 16 men and six troops.

Andrey Mikhailov


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