In this article we are going to deal with various design aspects of Typhoon class SSBN using pictures. We have also added some pretty rare images from sea trials, refits etc which has facilitated in discovering a not so well known capability of this submarine.
It is a common trend to build a prototype of something before mass production starts, this is a pic of 1/10th scale model of a Typhoon being tested at sea so that this design’s performance was known before it was put into production.
This is a pic of TK-208 seen during her first sea trials. The Soviets were so happy with this revolutionary design and its performance under its first commander, who was also involved in her design and construction phase, that they made its commander “Captain First Rank A. V. Ol’khovikov” the Hero of Soviet Union (doesnt this resemble a fictitious captain??).
In this picture, I have marked two features on the hull. The one marked as “1” is a deflector which deflects ice before it gets into the propellers. The hatch like thing marked as number “2” encloses a towed communications array, there is a similar one on the port side too.
All the areas seen in light color have been covered with fiberglass which provides protection for Typhoon’s sonar arrays. We can see it has a conventional bow mounted sonar and 2 wide aperture arrays on starboard side, this increases its sensitivity to sound manifold.
Ever wondered what are those encircled holes in the pic above for? well the answer is shocking, Typhoon has 2 towed sonar arrays which are deployed through those holes. This removes the possibility of a sub trailing Typhoon without it knowing about the trail. It might have 2 different arrays for different frequencies like American subs have.
And the Guinness book of world records for most number of towed sonar arrays goes to TK-208, the lead ship of Typhoon class SSBNs. She was reportedly fitted with a 3rd array atop her rudder the hole for which has been encircled in the pic above.
At first, due to lack of info we thought that at sea SLBM replenishing tenders were not completed but it seems they managed to complete atleast one. This allowed Typhoons to fire their SLBMs and get new ones without returning to their base.
The vacant space seen above is for Typhoon’s port side rescue pod . All Soviet subs had a single rescue pod which could evacuate the entire crew in case of a mishap or during war, however Typhoons had 2 pods ie 1 each for a parallel hull.
During their patrols in the Arctic, they broke through ice as thick as 3m many times. This was only possible due to the sheer amount of reserve buoyancy they had (49%). These pics were taken by the crew during one of those incidences.
The tube like structure marked by the number “1” is the housing for the port side towed array whereas the scoop marked by “2” takes in sea water for non radioactive cooling circuit of the reactor. This scoop took in water due to forward movement of the sub, this provided natural circulation and thus removed the need of pumps. Similarly in the inner radio active coolant circuit, coolant moved due to its temperature gradient as well which removed the need of pumps at low and medium speeds. This made Typhoons almost as quiet as Ohios at low speeds and slightly more noisy at higher speeds.
He is Sergei Nikitch Kovalyov, the chief designer of Typhoon class SSBN. He has also designed Yankees, Hotels and Deltas, a total of 92 submarines were built based on his design.
Pictures taken from: http://imgur.com/a/pZCb0