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Business news, 10.11.2006 15:04

St. Petersburg shipyard launches multipurpose submarine

submarine St. Petersburg's Admiralty Shipyards held a ceremony Friday to lay the keel of the Sevastopol, a serially produced multipurpose submarine.

Admiralty Shipyards said in October it would begin construction of a fourth-generation diesel-electric submarine in November. "The Project-677, or Lada-class diesel submarine, whose keel will be laid November 10, will be named after a city associated with Russian naval glory - Sevastopol," a company source said. "It is to be launched in 2010."

Igor Dygalo, aide to the Navy commander, said that today's event "testifies to the fact that Russia's shipbuilding program now enjoys stability, and we will see the results as soon as 2010."

He said the project's submarines will eventually replace the diesel submarines now in use.

The Sevastopol will be the third Project-677 submarine designed by the Rubin design bureau.

The shipyard said in early August it had started a second round of sea trials of the St. Petersburg, a Project-677, or Lada-class, submarine.

The submarine, whose export version is known as the Amur 1650, features a new anti-sonar coating for the hull, an extended cruising range, and advanced anti-ship and anti-submarine weaponry.

A second Lada-class submarine, the Kronshtadt, which is the first in the production series, is also being built at the shipyard.

Admiralty Shipyards is a state-owned company that specializes in the design, production and modernization of civilian and naval surface ships and submarines.

Since 1910, the company has constructed 300 submarines (including 41 nuclear submarines) and 68 deep-diving and submersible vehicles. It accounts for 15% of the global submarine sales market, and has built Kilo-class submarines for India, China and Iran.

Russia's submarine fleet suffered a series of disasters in recent years, most notably with the sinking in the Barents Sea of the advanced nuclear submarine the Kursk in 2000 during military exercises, and many Soviet-era nuclear submarines continue to languish in docks for lack of funds to scrap them.

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