Military Review

Walking in three depths

Only one submarine in the world has sunk to the 1000 meters.

Walking in three depths

Remember this date: 4 August 1984 of the year. It was on this day that the nuclear submarine K-278, which became notorious as “Komsomolets” in five years, made an unprecedented stories world military navigation dive - arrows of its depth gauges first froze at the 1000-meter mark, and then crossed it. None of the combat submarines of the world could not hide at such a depth - it would crush the soft-boiled. But the crew of the K-278 was under the protection of heavy-duty titanium shell.

The former head of the Technical Department of the North tells about what kind of ship it was fleet Rear Admiral Engineer Nikolai Mormul:

- In 1983, the nuclear submarine K-278 entered the USSR Navy. About this ship, the only one in the series, then myths were added. So, in the Western press wrote that this is the largest submarine in the world: length - 122 meters, width - 11,5 meters, displacement - 9700 tons. She was considered the most high-speed. Neither is true. And yet the ship was a real miracle. Its heavy-duty titanium hull allows diving to a depth that no boat in the world has reached - 1000 meters.

Incidentally, only 15 August 1936, mankind was able to reach a depth of one kilometer. This achievement belongs to the French hydronaut - Professor Bib and his colleague Barton. They plunged into the Atlantic near Bermuda in a bathysphere, on every porthole of which a force in 19 tons was pressing ... But that was a scientific experiment. We were building a combat boat, which was supposed to be the ancestor of a series of ultra-deep atomarines, a new subclass of submarines ...

The boat was built for a long time. The hull was made of pure titanium, and many difficulties arose during the development of this metal. He is aggressive to other metals, and the pairing of titanium structures with serial equipment required new technical solutions. When titanium was saturated with hydrogen, cracks were formed; therefore, welding was performed in a special gas medium. However, when the boat underwent deep-sea testing at such a staggering depth, all efforts were justified.

A unique titanium ship was compared to an orbiting space station. Its main purpose was to study a complex of scientific, technical and oceanological problems. It was both a laboratory, a test bench and a prototype of the future civilian submarine fleet - more speedy than surface merchant and passenger ships, more reliable than aviation, because the operation of submarines does not depend on the time of year and weather.

Onboard the K-278 were one nuclear installation and weapons: missiles and torpedoes, two of which had nuclear heads. However, the submarine was not intended for delivering nuclear strikes on the coast: its combat mission was to protect the enemy from submarine missile carriers, the "city killers."


So, 4 August 1984, the "Komsomolets" went to the point of immersion, which was located in one of the deep-sea basins of the Norwegian Sea. The ship was commanded by Captain 1 of rank Yuri Zelensky, the senior on board was Hero of the Soviet Union, Rear Admiral Yevgeny Chernov, Commander of the 1 Flotilla of nuclear submarines, he is also the chairman of the State Admission Commission. In the compartments were the chief designers of the unique ship - Yuri Kormilitsyn and Dmitry Romanov.

- Before the dive, all systems with in-flight communication, torpedo tubes were carefully checked, weapon... - Evgeny Dmitrievich Chernov talks about that memorable day. - Understand, from this depth you can not emerge.

They went into the abyss slowly - by invisible hundred-meter steps, lingering on each of them to inspect the compartments. The test program was extensive. They checked not only the tightness of the hull, but also the possibility of firing from a great depth of torpedoes, the Iridium emergency ascent system, which made it possible to blow the ballast tanks with gases of burnt powder checkers.

Dive per kilometer took several weary hours. Any minute could be the last in the life of the crew. One thing is when a test pilot risks himself and only himself, having a parachute, and another when you are at mortal risk for almost a hundred people and no parachutes behind ...


The foreman of the team of navigator electricians K-278 of the midshipman of the stock Veniamin Matveyev tells:

- On that day, a black piece of paper was cut off from the depth gauge in the central post, which covered the scale of secrecy for the sake of the maximum depth figure. We gasped: 900, 1000, 1100 meters ... This is twice as much as an ordinary nuclear submarine can sink!

We are sitting with Matveyev on the main street of Voronezh opposite the cafe "Captain Nemo". Above the entrance glitters with marine bronze the mock-up of the fantastic “Nautilus”, invented by Jules Verne. Next to me is a real person from a fantastic action: walking a thousand meters, beyond the three extreme depths for ordinary atarinas. And he tells about it as an ordinary naval case. Rather, trying to tell like that, no, no, and breaking into an enthusiastic patter, although it has been more than a quarter of a century. This is not forgotten.

“When torpedo firing was announced at a depth of 800 meters,” recalls Veniamin Matveyev, “my friend, midshipman Solomin, a torpedo technician called me from the torpedo compartment,“ Venya, come to us. If anything, then we immediately together ... "

Came to the bow compartment. The commander of the mine-torpedo warhead, Senior Lieutenant Trushin, was in the central post.

I got up next to a friend ...

When the front covers of the torpedo tubes were opened, they saw how the rear depths had shaken from the pressure head. Trembled, but the monstrous outboard pressure kept. The torpedo came out fine ... And the pressure was growing. The ramparts suddenly bent, then again took their form. Deadwood glands with sledgehammers hit. Linoleum on the decks healed.

Navigator K-278 captain 3-rank Alexander Borodin:

- Hydroacoustic, which provided our dive from a surface ship, then shook his head: “I almost turned gray because of you. Such a creaking stood, such a rattle ... "But our robust case withstood. Compressing it was such that my iron cot arched like a bow ...

At 700-meter working depth, the reactor was brought to 100-percent power. Finally, the boatswain, who controlled the horizontal rudders, reported:

- Depth - a thousand meters! Roll - zero, trim - zero.

The depth gauge arrow stopped at a four-digit number - 1000. There is a depth of one kilometer!

Rear Admiral Chernov contacted the compartments on the battle line and, looking at the depth gauge, with a quivering voice, uttered the immortal phrase into the intra-carcass microphone: "Stop, instant!" Then he congratulated everyone, and carried the flag of the ship into the compartments. Chernov took out a bottle of cognac and poured it into ten piles, they all clinked glasses with the chief designers. They drank, hugged.

Float in no hurry.

“Success must be consolidated,” said Chernov and addressed the chief designers of the boat, who were in the central post, “Yuri Kormilitsyn and Dmitry Romanov:

- If we dive for another twenty meters, will we withstand a possible failure?

“We must endure,” answered the creators of the titanium record holder. The main ship builder, Mikhail Chuvakin, also nodded — he wouldn't crush.

And they went to a depth of 1027 meters, to a place where the submarine propellers never rotated.

According to the evil whim of fate, in five years the underwater record holder will forever go precisely to this depression at the bottom of the Norwegian Sea. But then they were on top of the victory ...

Minutes of super-deep swimming stretched intolerably. As if monstrous pressure not only compressed a solid body, but time itself was pressed into it. It was possible to live for a good hour at such a moment ... And alarming reports came from the compartments - a flange flowed there, a wooden panel cracked from a sharp decrease in the case diameter ...

Chernov hesitated with the team to ascend. We had to experience everything to the end. Then, like bullets, titanium bolts cut off with inconceivable compression began to fly off. But in general, all the mechanisms worked without comment, the ship was perfectly controlled both in depth and horizon. And most importantly - he could shoot from this abyss, while remaining invulnerable to depth charges and enemy torpedoes, which would have been crushed halfway to the goal.

“I could not stand it and firmly hugged the shipbuilders in turn,” recalls Chernov. - Thank you guys ... Just think, they plotted this titanium miracle even 25 years ago! In 1969 year ... And as if by request we plunged just on the birthday of "Fin". (This is the name of the factory K-278, and it was not necessary to change it to please our politicians.) Honestly, I did not want to leave from such depth. Who and when would come to her? No one else came ...

On the rudders of depth on that historic day the boatswain Atarmen midshipman Vadim Polukhin sat. This, obeying his hands, left atarin at a record depth. He was sitting in a helmet so that, God forbid, some pressure-cut bolt did not hit the head.

Reserve michman Veniamin Matveyev:

- Checked on that dive everything that could be checked. Including the powder blasting system of ballast tanks. From such a depth you cannot blow through any compressed air - only by the force of powder gases. Ascended, more precisely, ascended from the depth of 800 meters in 30 seconds.

Rear Admiral Chernov raised the periscope and swore - everything is gray, impenetrable.

- Navigator, what about your periscope? Raise the zenith!

Raised anti-aircraft periscope - all the same, pitch darkness.

They detached the upper manhole hatch - sneezed. All in powder smoke. The boat floated in a cloud of smoke. But surfaced! With unthinkable to this time depth. With the latest ascent system. Everything was confirmed, everything was justified.

The execution of the most important test was reported to the Soviet Navy Commander Admiral Fleet of the Soviet Union Sergey Gorshkov and members of the government. About that unprecedented and still unsurpassed record they did not blow the newspapers. They found out about him only when the nuclear submarine K-278 disappeared forever in the depths of the Norwegian Sea, perhaps in the very place where the main world record of submarine shipbuilding in the 20th century was made.

Well, all right - secrecy ... But the fact that the crew was not rewarded for such an accomplishment - this does not fit in my head. Why?

Reserve michman Veniamin Matveyev:

- Before the dive, Admiral Chernov said: either they will award everyone, or no one. So it happened - no one. But the fact is that we in the Norwegian Sea received a radio - to return to the base and take on board the Moscow admirals. Chernov did not want to go back, wrote down in the logbook: “I take control of the submarine” - and ordered to dive. “We don’t need riders,” he said.

True, later our commander, captain of the 1 rank, Zelensky received the Order of the Red Star, and Chernov received the October Revolution. But it was a degree below what they represented. The commander was going to Hero ...

Colonel Medical Service Evgeny Nikitin, author of the book "Cold Depths", spoke more specifically on this matter:

- Admiral Ivan Matveyevich Kapitanets, Commander of the Northern Fleet, visited the ship returning from the tests. He congratulated everyone on the successful conduct of the main tests, called the crew before the formation “the crew of heroes” and ordered to present all its members to state awards.

The award sheets for the crew members were issued and handed over to the fleet commander. However, the awarding of submarine heroes did not take place. The political directorate of the fleet objected, which did not see the crew’s merit in conquering a thousand-meter depth submarine. I didn’t see it, probably because besides political worker V. Kondryukov (K-278 full time political officer. - N. Ch.) There was not a single political contributor in the list of awards presented. Political directors did not understand that a qualitatively new subclass of submarines was born ...

And then no one wanted to talk about the awards at all - “Komsomolets” forever went into that abyss, in which he once set his world record ...

Alas, the unique achievement of TASS is not reported. And the name of the commander who committed this unthinkable dive, did not become the property of wide publicity. I will name it as an archival discovery in the hope that one day it will go into all the textbooks of maritime history and monographs - captain of the 1 rank Yury Zelensky.

To my shame, at our first meeting with him, I could not tell him words worthy of his feat. We argued ... It was in the first days after the death of the Komsomolets. In complete despair of such a loss (there, in the Norwegian Sea, my good companion, captain of the 1 rank Talant Burkulakov, died), the submariners and engineers, journalists and rescuers converged wall to wall. They argued about everything - whether Vanin's crew was to blame, whether the boat was reliably designed and built, whether the fishermen arrived on time, why the Navy’s rescue service did not work ... They broke spears in the same way as ten years later they would have to break them in the days of the tragedy. Kursk ". A spear? Rather, the old rake, on which it’s painful and insulting to attack ... we parted on such a note. The "horseless horse" Zelensky soon left for Severodvinsk, he was put to death in his career, because he began to cross the conclusions of the Government Commission and dared not only to have his special opinion, but also to publicly express it.

Quietly and bleakly, he finished his naval service as a captain-dispatcher of the factory harbor in Severodvinsk ...

And his name should be in the Pantheon of the submarine fleet of Russia. The national hero, alas, is unrecognized and unknown to anybody, like most of the heroes of our fleet. They suffered the fate of the heroes of the First World War. Then the October revolution broke out and a new countdown began, a new account of merit and deeds. Something similar happened after August 1991. Before that - the mode of secrecy, after that - the mode of uselessness ...

Nevertheless, the captain of the 1 rank, Yuri Zelensky, was the first submariner in the world to steal his ship beyond the kilometer mark of depth. Remember it forever.


Fortunately, I happened to meet again with Yuri Zelensky. This time, not in a hurry, thoroughly - in the St. Petersburg club of submariners. It was in 2005. All the color of the submarine fleet of Russia: combat admirals and submarine commanders gathered in the club cabin of the club. They applauded an elderly modest man in a civilian jacket. It was very similar to the way Alexander Marinesko, who had emerged from a deep, everyday shadow to his combat counterparts, was once met in Kronstadt.

27 years spent Zelensky in Severodvinsk. In these years, such a term was exiled to these regions for serious crimes. And his - for the feat. However, Zelensky did not consider his Severodvinsk service to be a punishment: he accepted and tested there the newest nuclear submarines - as many as eight "hulls", as the shipbuilders say. With his light and experienced hands they went to plow the ocean depths.


Instead of an epilogue to this story, I will quote the words of Vice Admiral Yevgeny Chernov, Hero of the Soviet Union: “Regarding the situation with the assessment of the service of the main crew of the Northern Fleet submarine K-278 of the Northern Fleet and its commander captain 1 rank Yu. A. Zelensky, with tests of a submarine by immersion and swimming at the maximum depth of 1000 meters.

The crew of the nuclear submarine K-278 ("Komsomolets") was formed in 1981 from the best professionals - volunteers of the 1 fleet of nuclear submarines of the SF, was trained according to a specially developed program, took an active part in the completion of the submarine, its mooring, factory and state trials.

On the 1 fleet of the Northern Fleet, the crew of the K-278 was introduced into the first line of the ships of constant combat readiness, fully executed the “Trial Operation Program” and was prepared for the test by immersion and swimming at the maximum depth of immersion.

4 August 1984 for the first time in the history of the world diving combat and combat nuclear submarine K-278 with a displacement of 8500 tons sank to a depth of 1020 meters in the Norwegian Sea to test it at this depth and test the operation of a power plant, technical means, systems, devices and weapons the ship. There were 80 people aboard the deep-sea atomic-powered ship. It was a collective feat and a world record.

The boat was run by a regular crew - 57 man. Test results were recorded by representatives of design offices and shipbuilders. For the first time, the submarine reached the axis of the ocean deep-water sound channel, tested an emergency ascent system from a depth of 800 meters, and torpedo tubes were tested at the same depth for the intended purpose.

The commander of the Northern Fleet, Admiral I. M. Kapitanets, ordered the preparation of award documents for all crew members, which was done immediately ...

The submarine with a regular crew continued its intensive voyage ... The question of awarding the commander and crew of a deep-water submarine "for courage and courage during the tests and development of the new deep-water ship" was postponed. Commander Chernavin was replaced by commanders of Gromov, then Kuroyedov. The latter wanted to find award documents: “I’ll find it, I’ll submit it,” but didn’t have time — Kursk was lost.

At the end of the 80-s, the captain of the 1-rank, Zelensky was assigned to a dead-end post in Severodvinsk and transferred to the reserve there. He was hired by the dispatcher for tows by the Director General of the Emergency Medical Center D. G. Pashayev. Zelensky is “guilty” of not having offended his ship when determining the causes of his disaster. The Commander-in-Chief Kuroyedov gave him an apartment in the Vsevolozhsk District of the Leningrad Region ... ”

The submarine of the project 685 "FIN"

The TTZ for the design of an experimental combat submarine with increased depth of immersion in order to study the conditions of its operation was issued in August 1966. The experience gained during the creation of this submarine was supposed to be used to create a project of deep-sea boats suitable for serial construction. The design process took almost eight years and the technical design was approved only in 1974 year. The increased depth of immersion caused the choice of titanium alloys as a material of a durable case.

For emergency (during 20-30 with.) Creating positive buoyancy at great depths when entering the outboard water outside the boat was installed a system of blowing ballast of one of the tanks of the middle group using gunpowder gas generators. Nasal retractable steering wheels. It was decided to abandon the torpedo loading hatch and durable logging. The entrance to the boat was carried out through the VSC (pop-up rescue chamber). All this has allowed to minimize the number of holes in a robust housing.

The boat had six nasal 533-mm TA with a fast charging device. Each TA had an autonomous pneumohydraulic shooting device. Shooting could be done at all depths.

The ammunition consisted of 22 units (torpedoes and rocket-torpedoes). The typical TA loading option was as follows: 2 torpedoes SAET-60М, 2 Rocket-torpedoes RK-55, 2 jet torpedoes BA-111 "Flurry". On the racks were six rocket-torpedoes and ten torpedoes. The issuance of target designation for the use of rocket-torpedo armament was carried out by SJSC Skat.

The boat received a tactical number K-278. Built on the SMP (serial number 510). Bookmark 22 held on April 1978 of the year. 9 On May 1983, it was launched and after completing state tests on 20 in October of the same year, it became part of the Northern Fleet. In October, 1988 was renamed Komsomolets. This unique ship, the pride of domestic submarine construction, was killed on 7 on April 1989 of the year in 17 hours of 8 minutes in the Norwegian Sea.
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  1. realist
    realist 1 May 2019 07: 17
    little-known pages of glorious history, it seems very few people are interested. it’s a pity that this all happened ...