Russia recommissioning special operations midget submarines

Russian president Vladimir Putin is planning to recommission Cold War-era fleet of midget submarines, which are virtually undetectable.

The Piranha-class vessels can operate very close to the shore and can be used to drop mines or fire torpedoes.
With a crew of nine, the Piranha can approach silently and can even deploy combat divers or up to six special forces.

Putin is believed to be willing to sanction £230billion in military spending.

It is understood that one of the old Piranha vessels has been upgraded to act as a sales platform, to show off the potential of the weapons system to other buyers.

One military source told The Sun: ‘Putin is breathing life into many old programmes and thinks subs are an effective way of getting what he wants militarily. The Piranhas can come extremely close to land and are almost impossible to detect as they are so small.

Project 865 Piranha is a type of Russian midget submarine. The NATO reporting name for the class is Losos, which means “salmon” in the Russian language.

The Losos was designed for special operations and engaging surface ships located offshore, and is thus very durable and almost completely silent.

The hull is made of a titanium alloy, which helps with signature management because it is not magnetic. The non-magnetic alloy would greatly reduce the effectiveness of enemy magnetic anomaly detectors or magnetic limpet mines against this type of vessel

Divers can be deployed on sabotage missions. The divers remain in contact with the submarine, which is capable of supplying them with oxygen for breathing, electricity, warmth, and monitors to ensure that underwater instruments are operating normally. The Piranya’s 1200 kW lead-acid batteries allows the submarine to remain underway for ten days and the submarines at sea replenishement capabilities allows the submarine within 8 hours to receive enough food, fuel and lubricants, and air for an additional ten days.

In 1991 the St. Petersburg-based Special Boiler Design Bureau (SKBK) completed development of the Kristall-20 AIP system for the Piranha. The AIP underwent comprehensive testing and was accepted by the customer – the Ministry of Defense. However, AIP systems were never installed in submarines due to reductions in defense spending.


Designation: 865

Displacement (tons):
218 surfaced
390 submerged

Speed (kts):
6.65 knots dived
6.43 knots surfaced

Dimension (meters):
28.2 meters long
4.8 meters beam
5.1 meters draft

2 diesel 160 (kW)
propulsion motor 60 (kW)

Propulsion: 1 propeller

Endurance: 10 days

Diving Depth: 200 meters

Crew: 9

2 mine laying devices for 2 mines or
2 torpedoes

· Active/passive radar
· Active/passive sonar

1 periscope

SOURCES – FAS, Wikipedia, Daily Mail UK