Akula Class Submarine

Akula Class submarine (Project 971) is a nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) first deployed by the Soviet Navy in 1986. The class is also known under the name Bars (meaning "snow leopard"). There are four sub-classes or flights of Shchuka, consisting of the original seven Akula Is, commissioned between 1984 and 1990; six Improved Akulas, commissioned between 1991 and 2009; one Akula II, commissioned in 1995; and one Akula III, commissioned in 2001. The Russians call all of the submarines Shchuka-B, regardless of modifications.

Akula Class SubmarineSome potential for confusion may exist, as the name Akula (Акула meaning "shark" in Russian) was used by the Soviets for a different submarine, the Project 941, which is known in the West as the Typhoon class. By contrast, the Project 971 (the subject of this article) was named Shchuka-B by the Soviets but designated as the "Akula class" by the West after the name of the lead ship, K-284.

The launch of the first submarine in 1985, according to defense analyst Norman Polmar, "shook everyone in the West up", as Western intelligence agencies had not expected the Soviet Union to produce such a boat for another ten years. More details