Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Soviet submarine K-19
|Laid down:||17 October 1958|
|Launched:||8 April 1959|
|Commissioned:||30 April 1961|
|Fate:||In October 2003 it was announced that scrapping would start at the Nerpa Shipyard "soon"|
|Displacement:||4030 tons surfaced,|
5000 tons submerged
|Length:||114 meters (374 feet)|
|Beam:||9.2 meters (30 feet)|
|Draft:||7.1 meters (23 feet)|
|Propulsion:||two 70 MW VM-A reactors powering two geared turbines connected to two shafts (39,200 shaft horsepower (29 MW))|
|Speed:||15 knots (28 km/h) surfaced,|
26 knots (48 km/h) submerged
|Range:||35,700 miles at 26 knots (48 km/h),|
32,200 miles at 24 knots (44 km/h) (80 percent power)
|Endurance:||50 days (limited by food)|
|Depth:||250 meters (820 feet) test,|
300 meters (984 feet) design
|Complement:||125 officers and men|
|Armament:||three ballistic nuclear missiles (650 km range, 1.4 megatons), four 533 mm (21-inch) torpedo tubes forward, two 406 mm (16 inch) tubes forward, two 406 mm (16-inch) tubes aft|
Construction of K-19 began 17 October 1958. The boat was christened 8 April 1959. Traditionally Russian vessels are christened by women but K-19 was christened by a man. The bottle of champagne bounced off the boat without breaking, which the crew took as a bad omen. The boat was completed 12 November 1960, and commissioned 30 April 1961.
On 4 July 1961, K-19 was conducting exercises in the North Atlantic close to Southern Greenland when she developed a major leak in her reactor coolant system. A team of eight engineering officers and crew worked for extended periods in high-radiation areas to jury-rig a new coolant system. While all of the crew received substantial doses of radiation, all eight men in the repair crew died horribly of radiation exposure within a week. The crew was evacuated to a diesel submarine, and K-19 was towed to the home base. The damaged reactors were removed and replaced, a process that took two years. K-19 returned to the fleet, having acquired the nickname "Hiroshima."
On 15 November 1969 K-19 collided with USS Gato (SSN-615) in the Barents Sea at a depth of 60 m (200 ft). She was able to surface by means of an emergency ballast tank blow. The impact completely destroyed the bow sonar systems and mangled the covers of the forward torpedo tubes. K-19 was repaired and returned to the fleet.
On 24 February 1972 a fire broke out onboard K-19 while the submarine was at a depth of 120 m (380 ft) some 1300 km (800 miles) from Newfoundland. A total of 28 sailors died in the fire. The boat surfaced, and surface warships evacuated the crew except for twelve men trapped in the aft torpedo room. Towing was delayed by a gale, and the aft torpedo room could not be reached because of conditions in the engineroom. After the gale abated, the boat was towed to Severomorsk on 4 April, and the men were rescued after surviving 24 days in the lightless, heatless, torpedo room. The rescue operation lasted more than 40 days and involved over 30 ships. K-19 was again repaired and returned to the fleet.
The submarine was decommissioned in 1991 and in 1994 transferred to the naval repair yard at Polyarny. In March 2002 she was towed to the Nerpa Shipyard , Snezhnogorsk , Murmansk to be scrapped. It was announced in October 2003 that scrapping would start ""soon".
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