Russia: Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering Tests Air-Independent Powerplant


Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering conducts testbed trials of air-independent powerplant with electrochemical generator for non-nuclear submarines, reported RIA Novosti referring to the bureau’s Director General Andrei Diachkov.

As of today, all Russian conventional subs are powered by diesel electric propulsion plants, but Russian Navy command plans to shift to submarines with radically new powerplants.

Operation principle of such propulsion lies in the fact that onboard hydrogen formation occurs by reprocessing of diesel fuel.

“Analyzing researches done in this area, we have come to the conclusion that air-independent powerplant should provide a submarine not only with long-term submergence position but with high silence and safety”, said the Rubin‘s director.

Having assessed foreign experience in development of air-independent powerplants, designers of Rubin reached a conclusion that Russian powerplant would be based on electrochemical generator. “In this case, there are no motion parts, and that’s pretty good from the viewpoint of silence. In contrast to German variant, we avoid onboard hydrogen storage because it is explosively dangerous and needs additional infrastructure ashore and complicated systems inside a sub”, pointed out Diachkov.

The air-independent powerplant will be placed in modular section which will not imply fundamental transformation and re-designing of the whole submarine, but simple putting-in additional section. By the way, such possibility is provided for Amur-class submarines.

Besides, customers recently display active interest in lithium-ion batteries, added Diachkov.

“Lithium-ion batteries offered at market make possible that a sub stays underwater at least 1.4 times longer, although only 35-40% of this technical idea’s potential has been unveiled so far”, said the interviewee.

According to him, Rubin design bureau is engaged in improvement of lithium-ion batteries with the view to increase their capacity and so – underwater endurance of a diesel submarine. “This trend is very challenging”, Diachkov said.

Source: rusnavy, September 16, 2011;