Soviet`s Oscar class, Projects 949 (Granit) and 949A (Antey), Cold War SSGN’s

The Oscar class is the general NATO classification for a nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine that was originally constructed by the Soviet Union from 1975 till 1998. In the USSR, they were produced under Project 949 (Granit, NATO Oscar- I) and Project 949A (Antey, NATO Oscar- II).

Oscars were the largest guided missile submarines in service until the first deployment of the new (rebuilt) Ohio class SSGN cruise missile submarine on October 15, 2007, and the third largest submarines in terms of displacement and length. Only the Typhoon class Soviet/Russian submarines and the American Ohio class submarines are larger.
The Oscar class/Soviet`s Granit nuclear-powered cruise missile attack submarine, which displaces more than 18,000 tons when under water, is one of Russia`s largest and most capable submarines. As with earlier cruise-missile submarine, the Oscar was designed primarily to attack American aircraft carrier battle groups.

These large submarines are said to be slow to dive and maneuver, though they are credited with a submerged speed of about 30knots, sufficient to keep pace with their targets. The improved Oscar II is about 10 meters longer than the Oscar I, possibly making room for a quieter propulsion system, and feature upgraded electronic systems. The Oscar II is also characterized by a substantially enlarged fin, which should improve underwater maneuverability, as well as the substitution of the Oscar-I`s four-bladed propeller with a quitter seven-blade propeller.

The submarine is equipped with two dozen SS-N-19 missiles with a range of 300n/miles- three times as many anti-ship cruise missiles as earlier Charlie and Echo II class submarines. The missiles, which are launched while the submarine is submerged, are fired from tubes fixed at an angle of approximately 40 degrees. The tubes, arranged in two rows of twelve each, are covered by six hatches on each side of the sail, with each hatch covering a pair of tubes. The launchers are placed between the inner pressure hull and the outer hydrodynamic hull. The torpedo tubes fire both torpedoes and shorter range anti-ship missiles.

In the 1980s the Rubin Design Bureau was responsible for developing a number of third generation nuclear submarines with cruise missiles, including Projects 949/Soviet`s Granit-Oscar I and Project 949A/Soviet`s Antey-Oscar II.

There were two different versions of the Oscar subs:
Oscar I (Project 949):
Two Oscar-I submarines were built at Shipyard no.402, Severodvinsk and assigned to the Soviet Northern Fleet: K-525 Arkhangelsk, laid down July 25, 1975; scrapped at Sevmash 2001 and K-206 Murmansk (ex-Minskiy Komsomolets), laid down April 22, 1979; scrapped at Zvezdochka 2004.
Oscar II (Project 949A):
Eleven Oscar-II submarines were completed at Shipyard no.402, Severodvinsk.

Five were assigned to the Soviet Northern Fleet: K-148 Krasnodar, laid down July 22, 1982; K-119 Voronezh, laid down February 25, 1986; K-410 Smolensk, laid down December 9, 1986; K-266 Orel, (ex-Severodvinsk), laid down January 19, 1989; K-141 Kursk, laid down March 22, 1992; launched May 16, 1994; commissioned December 30, 1994; lost with all hands, 118 officers and crew, when exploded in bow section and sank in the Barents Sea on August 12, 2000; raised September-October 2001.

Six were assigned to the Soviet Pacific Fleet, all originally commissioned in the Northern Fleet before transfer to the Pacific: K-173 Krasnoyarsk, laid down August 4, 1983; K-132 Irkutsk, laid down May 8, 1985; K-442 Chelyabinsk, laid down May 21, 1987; K-456 Vilyuchinsk (ex-Kasatka), laid down February 9, 1988; K-186 Omsk, laid down July 13, 1989; K-526 Tomsk, laid down August 27, 1991.

Three more Oscar-II submarines were planned but construction stopped dew to lack of funds.K-139 Belgorod, laid down July 24, K-135 Volgograd, laid down September 2, 1993; K-160 Barnaul, laid down April 1994.
At one stage it had been planned to develop a new fourth-generation follow-on to the Oscar, but this plan was later scrapped.

A distinguishing mark is a slight bulge at the top of the fin. A large door on either side of the fin reaches this bulge. These are wider at the top than on the bottom, and are hinged on the bottom. The Federation of American Scientists reports that this submarine carries an emergency crew escape capsule; it is possible that these doors cover it.

Specifications, Oscar II class, Project 949A, Antey:
Oscar I
is of a double hull configuration and one of the biggest submarines ever constructed. The missile tubes are fitted between the pressure and outer hulls with a gap of some 4.0m’, 12 per side, angled upward at about 40 degrees from the vertical.
Oscar II is an enlarged version of the original SSGN design with a section added aft of the sail structure, some 2,500 tons more, probably for modification to the propulsion plant.

Displacement (srf/sub tons):
Dimensions (L*B*D feet/meter): 505’2*59’7*29’5/154.0*18.2*9.0
Propulsion: 2*190MWt VM-5 Pressurized Water nuclear Reactor (PWR), 2* GT3A geared steam turbines 49,000hp, 2 shafts, 2 spinners
Speed (srf/sub knots): 15/28
Range (srf/sub miles@knots): not relevant
Diving depth (feet/meter): 1,000/300 although 2,000/600 is claimed
Complement: 107 officers and crew
Missile: SSM- 24 Chelomey (US/NATO SS-N-19 Shipwreck) (Granit P-700) range 300n/miles, warhead nuclear 550kT or 750 kg HE
A/S- Novotor (US/NATO SS-N-15 Starfish) (Tsakra) fired from 21” tubes, range 24.5 n/miles, warhead nuclear 200kT or type 40 torpedoes. Novotor (US/NATO SS-N-16 Stallion) fired from 26” tubes, range 54 n/miles, warhead nuclear 200kT (Vodopad) or type 40 torpedoes (Veder).
Torpedo: 4*21" (533mm) + 2*26” (650mm) bow torpedo tubes combination of 65 and   53 torpedoes. A total of 28 weapons including tub-launched A/S missiles.
32 can be carried

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Image Country Year Description
Guinea-Bissau 2001 Oscar II class (type 949), SSGN
Russia 2006 Nuclear submarine SSGN Oscar II class, Project 949A (1986) (sheet of 14 stamps)
Russia 2006 Nuclear submarine SSGN Oscar II class, Project 949A (1986)
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