Algeria will soon order two Kilo class diesel electric submarines from Russia, which will join the four already in its fleet.
A Russian defence industry source told ITAR-TASS that Algeria plans to order the two Project 636 Varshavyanka (Kilo class) submarines in the first half of this year, for delivery by 2018. The submarines will be constructed at the Admiralty Shipyard in St Petersburg.
The value of the contract may be more than $1.2 billion, according to Interfax.
Algeria already operates four Kilo class submarines. In June 2006 Rosoboronexport signed a contract with the Algerian Navy for the construction of two Project 636 Improved Kilo class submarines under a roughly US$400-600 million contract. Construction of the first submarine started in 2006 and the second began in 2007. They were handed over to the Algerian Navy in March and September 2010 where they joined two Project 877EKM Kilo diesel electric submarines, which Algeria received in 1987-1988. The latter two were upgraded by Russian shipyards.
The Project 636 Varshavyanka class is mainly intended for anti-shipping and anti-submarine operations in relatively shallow waters. The tear-drop hulled submarine is 72.6m long, 9.9m wide and can dive to 300 meters. The design has a displacement of 3076 tons. Underwater, it reportedly has a speed of up to 25 knots. The complement is 52 and the submarine has an endurance of 45 days. The boat is fitted with six 533mm torpedo tubes and carries up to 18 homing or wire-guided torpedoes, or 24 AM-1 mines.
The outer hull is covered with sound damping tiles and its machinery as well as design is regarded as very quiet. Designed by the Rubin Central Maritime Design Bureau of St Petersburg, the submarine entered service in 1982. The type was originally built at the Komsomolsk shipyard and lately by the Admiralty Shipyard in St Petersburg. It is in service with the navies of Russia, China, Vietnam, Iran, India and Poland, among others. Some 50 have been built.
The Algerian Navy has been undergoing expansion in recent years as it faces problems such as smuggling, illegal migration and indigenous terrorism. These threats mainly affect Algeria’s harbours and maritime communication routes and ships passing through the Straits of Gibraltar. Consequently, the Algerian Navy maintains a well-trained and well-equipped fleet to provide security to more than 1000 km of coastline. The country is also maintaining a strong navy to deter its neighbours, notably Morocco.
In April 2012 it emerged that Algeria had signed a contract with the China Shipbuilding Trading Company for three light frigates, after ordering two Meko A-200N frigates from Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems in March 2012. The three light frigates will displace around 2 800 tons fully loaded, and will be powered by MTU diesel engines. Algeria has also ordered two new Tiger class corvettes from Russia. The Tiger corvette (Project 20382) is an export model of the Project 20380 Steregushchy class, which is the Russian Navy’s newest corvette class.
In January Italian shipyard Fincantieri launched the Algerian Navy’s Kalaat Beni-Abbes landing helicopter dock ship, which will be delivered to Algeria later this year. Algeria may order a second of the type in the coming months.