Alfa Class SSN
The Soviet Navy Project 705 (Lira) was a nuclear powered attack submarine. The class is also known by the NATO reporting name of Alfa. The Alfa class was armed with 6 x 533 mm torpedo tubes and was capable of carrying 18-20 SET-65, 53-65K or VA-111 torpedoes (or) 21 SS-N-15 cruise missiles (or) 12 SS-N-16 cruise missiles (or) 24 mines. They were the fastest military submarines built. Production started in 1974 with the first vessel being commissioned in 1977. By 1983 production ended with a total of 7 submarines. The Alfa class suffered from several problems. It was dangerously noisy at high speeds and the reactors proved to be unreliable (the liquid metal coolant often leaked and could solidify if the system did not run constantly to avoid this). This led to a number of failures, including coolant leaks and one reactor broken down at sea. Four vessels were decommissioned due to freezing of the coolant. Alfa submarines were built with titanium hulls separated into 6 watertight compartments and they were equipped with a rescue capsule for the crew which could be ejected in very harsh conditions. The first vessel was decommissioned in 1987 and four more before the end of 1992. The final vessel was decommissioned in 1995.