Foxtrot-Class: The Classic Cold War Russian Submarine That Served Everywhere

November 22, 2023 Topic: military Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: FoxtrotFoxtrot-ClassCold WarRussiaSoviet Navy

Foxtrot-Class: The Classic Cold War Russian Submarine That Served Everywhere

The first Foxtrot keel was laid down in 1957 and commissioned in 1958 and the last was completed in 1983. This submarine was well armed and ready to fight.

Foxtrot-class submarine, Explained: Military collectibles have become increasingly popular in recent years, and while most people will need to be content with a helmet or old uniform, those of certain means can buy almost anything. Brad Pitt owns a World War II Supermarine Spitfire and Russian T-54 tank, while the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen amassed one of the largest collections of military tanks in the world.

In January 2022, something even rarer than a Spitfire or T-54 came up for sale: a Foxtrot-class submarine that had been in service with the Soviet and later Russian Navy.

According to MySubmarines.com, which is offered the boat for sale, it was decommissioned by the Soviet Navy for museum purposes in 1993. It had reportedly served with the Soviet Baltic Fleet during the Cold War period, and then it was used as a training vessel for crews from overseas.

It has been used as a museum ship since 1998, and as a result, it is internally just as it was when it was retired from service with all the equipment and no compartments removed; while the forward battery compartment was adapted and can now be used as a function or educational space seating around 30 people.

"It is an ideal submarine for keeping it in a museum," noted the sellers.

Of the seventy-four Foxtrot-class submarines constructed, seven are now preserved and that includes examples located next to the RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, and one (B-413) in Kaliningrad, Russia. A former Foxtrot that served with the Indian Navy as the INS Kursura (S20) is also now a museum ship at RK Beach, Visakhapatnam.

Meet the Project 641 Foxtrot-Class

Officially designated Project 641, this class of diesel-electric was developed to replace the earlier Zulu-class. The first Foxtrot keel was laid down in 1957 and commissioned in 1958 and the last was completed in 1983. The boats were built for the Soviet Navy at the Sudomekh division of the Admiralty Shipyard (now Admiralty Wharves), Saint Petersburg.

Additional hulls were also built for other countries.

Each of the submarines displaced nearly 2,000 tons when surfaced and 2,515 tones submerged. Overall length was 295 feet with a beam of 24.2 feet, and a draught down to 19.3 feet. The boats were powered by three Kolomna 2D42M diesel units, which provided 2,000hp to three shafts. The Foxtrot-class submarines were able to maintain a maximum surfaced speed of sixteen knots and a maximum submerged speed of fifteen knots, and just nine knots while snorkeling. The range was 20,000 nautical miles.

The submarines were manned by a crew of twelve officers, ten warrant officers and fifty-six sailors.

The Foxtrot had some serious teeth, as each boat was equipped with ten torpedo tubes – six in the bow and four in the stern. The subs carried a total of twenty-two torpedoes. During the Cold War, the Project 641 submarines were a regular component of all four Soviet Navy fleets, and at least four subs took part in the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962.

The last of the submarines of the Project 641 Foxtrot-class was retired in 2014. 

About the Author

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military hardware, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes.