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Russia commissions second Lada-class submarine

Kronstadt , the second Lada-class SSK on order for the Russian Federation Navy, is pictured during its commissioning ceremony at Admiralty Shipyards on 31 January. ( United Shipbuilding Corporation)

The Russian Federation Navy (RFN) formally commissioned Kronstadt, the second Project 677 Lada (Sankt Petersburg)-class diesel-electric submarine (SSK), in a ceremony at Admiralty Shipyards in St Petersburg on 31 January.

Speaking at the ceremony, which was announced by Admiralty Shipyards the same day, RFN Commander-in-Chief Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov said that Kronstadt would be assigned to the Northern Fleet. This follows earlier speculation that Kronstadt and some or all or subsequent boats in the class would be deployed to the Baltic to rejuvenate that fleet's moribund submarine capability.

The Lada class was intended to replace the Kilo class in Russian service and to form the basis of a next-generation export conventional submarine offering. Its development, however, has been protracted and plagued with technical difficulties.

Despite being accepted by the RFN in 2010, the lead boat in the class, Sankt Petersburg, has never undertaken an operational deployment and in April 2023 it was reported that it would be decommissioned instead of undergoing an expensive modernisation programme.

The construction of Kronstadt has also been protracted. The boat was first laid down in July 2005 but as the problems with the lead unit became apparent, work was halted in 2009. Building resumed in the summer of 2013, and Kronstadt finally launched in September 2018, entering factory trials in December 2021 and state acceptance trials in December 2022.

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