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Golf class submarine

Golf class submarine

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Project 629, also known by the NATO reporting name
NATO reporting name
NATO reporting names are classified code names for military equipment of the Eastern Bloc...

 of Golf class, were diesel electric ballistic missile submarine
Ballistic missile submarine
A ballistic missile submarine is a submarine equipped to launch ballistic missiles .-Description:Ballistic missile submarines are larger than any other type of submarine, in order to accommodate SLBMs such as the Russian R-29 or the American Trident...

s of the Soviet Navy
Soviet Navy
The Soviet Navy was the naval arm of the Soviet Armed Forces. Often referred to as the Red Fleet, the Soviet Navy would have played an instrumental role in a Warsaw Pact war with NATO, where it would have attempted to prevent naval convoys from bringing reinforcements across the Atlantic Ocean...

. They were designed after six Zulu class submarine
Zulu class submarine
The Soviet Navy's Project 611, NATO reporting name Zulu class, were one of the first Soviet post-war attack submarines. They were roughly as capable as the American GUPPY fleet-boat conversions. They were a contemporary of the Whiskey class submarines and shared a similar sonar arrangement...

s were successfully modified to carry and launch Scud missiles. All Golf boats had left Soviet service by 1990.

Class history


Design was started in the mid-1950s at the OKB-16 design bureau along with the D-2 missile system which it was to carry, and was based on the Foxtrot
Foxtrot class submarine
The Foxtrot class was the NATO reporting name of a class of diesel-electric patrol submarines that were built in the Soviet Union. The Soviet designation of this class was Project 641....

. The submarine was originally designed to carry three R-11FM
Scud
Scud is a series of tactical ballistic missiles developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and exported widely to other countries. The term comes from the NATO reporting name SS-1 Scud which was attached to the missile by Western intelligence agencies...

 ballistic missiles with a range of around 150 km. These were carried in three silos fitted in the rear of the large sail behind the bridge. They could only be fired on the surface but the submarine could be underway at the time. Only the first three boats were equipped with these—the remaining ones were equipped with the longer range R-13 missiles.

The first boats were commissioned in 1958 and the last in 1962.

The boats were built at two shipyards — 16 in Severodvinsk
Severodvinsk
Severodvinsk is a city in the north of Arkhangelsk Oblast, Russia, located in the delta of the Northern Dvina River, west of Arkhangelsk. Administratively, it is incorporated as a town of oblast significance . Municipally, it is incorporated as Severodvinsk Urban Okrug. The city was founded as...

 and 7 in Komsomolsk-na-Amure in the Far East. Fourteen were extensively modified in 1966–1972 and became known as 629A's by the Soviet Navy
Soviet Navy
The Soviet Navy was the naval arm of the Soviet Armed Forces. Often referred to as the Red Fleet, the Soviet Navy would have played an instrumental role in a Warsaw Pact war with NATO, where it would have attempted to prevent naval convoys from bringing reinforcements across the Atlantic Ocean...

 and Golf IIs by NATO (the original version having been designated Golf I). The major change was the upgrade of the missile system to carry R-21 missiles and increased speed. A few others had different conversions, for example one boat was converted to a minelayer (629E).

All boats had left Soviet service by 1990. In 1993, ten were sold to North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

 for scrap.

In 1959 the project technology were also sold to China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 which built a single modified example in 1966 which is apparently still in service.


Project Azorian


On March 8, 1968, 1560 nautical miles (2,889.1 km) northwest of Oahu
Oahu
Oahu or Oahu , known as "The Gathering Place", is the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands and most populous of the islands in the U.S. state of Hawaii. The state capital Honolulu is located on the southeast coast...

 in the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

 the Golf II class submarine K-129 exceeded its crush depth for unknown reasons and imploded, the accident being registered by the SOSUS
SOSUS
SOSUS, an acronym for Sound Surveillance System, is a chain of underwater listening posts across the northern Atlantic Ocean near Greenland, Iceland and the United Kingdom — the GIUK gap. It was originally operated by the United States Navy for tracking Soviet submarines, which had to pass...

 network. The entire crew of 98 was lost and the vessel sank with three ballistic nuclear missiles as well as two nuclear torpedoes. The United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 recovered parts of the submarine in July 1974 from a depth of around 5 km, in an operation named Project Azorian.

Two nuclear submarines that had been facing retirement, and , were rebuilt and pressed into service as deep sea search vehicles. After Halibut discovered a sunken Soviet submarine containing at least one intact ballistic missile complete with nuclear warhead, Melvin Laird, United States Secretary of Defense
United States Secretary of Defense
The Secretary of Defense is the head and chief executive officer of the Department of Defense of the United States of America. This position corresponds to what is generally known as a Defense Minister in other countries...

 under President Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

, approved Azorian. Six years later, 350 nautical miles (648 km) north of the Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

an Leeward Islands
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands or the Leeward Islands are the small islands and atolls in the Hawaiian island chain located northwest of the islands of Kauai and Niihau. They are administered by the U.S. state of Hawaii except Midway Atoll, which has temporary residential facilities and is...

, a mechanical claw descended 17000 feet (5,181.6 m) to the bottom of the Pacific and, guided by computers on board the Glomar Explorer, clamped onto 5,000 tons of twisted, rusting steel and began slowly raising it to the surface. It is unknown for sure how successful the effort was, but the United States has admitted to recovering a portion of K-129, which included six bodies of Soviet sailors.

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