Algeria has ordered two Kilo class diesel electric submarines from Admiralty Shipyards in St Petersburg, Russia, with the contract currently underway. They will join the four already in Algeria’s fleet.
The ITAR-TASS news agency yesterday quoted Admiralty Shipyards director-general Alexandre Bouzakov as saying that “The date of the start of construction of two submarines to the foreign customer has been fixed, the contract is underway.”
The two Project 636 Varshavyanka (Kilo class) submarines will be delivered by 2018. 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 3 076 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 533 mm 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.
Algeria is in the process of expanding its navy in recent years as it faces problems such as smuggling, illegal migration and indigenous terrorism. 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 A200N 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.