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It Took 4.5 Years for russia to Repair AS-31 Losharik Nuclear-Powered Sabotage Submarine

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Illustrative photo: a deep-sea underwater station, the real looks of the AS-31 Losharik remain unknown / Open-source photo
Illustrative photo: a deep-sea underwater station, the real looks of the AS-31 Losharik remain unknown / Open-source photo

In the russian military, the submarine is tasked to disable enemy equipment and other operations at great depths of up to 6 km

Major repairs have been completed on the russian AS-31 special purpose deep-sea submarine, better known by its nickname Losharik. Now it must pass several tests, one of them is to submerge to its maximum operational depth of 6 km.

According to the russian TASS state-owned news agency and its sources, the final tests are scheduled for the summer of this year. Thus, the total period of restoration of this nuclear-powered submarine will be 5 years from the disaster that happened to the AS-31 in the Kola Bay of the Barents Sea on July 2, 2019.

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This photo is believed to show the AS-31 Losharik / Defense Express / It Took 4.5 Years for russia to Repair AS-31 Losharik Nuclear-Powered Sabotage Submarine
This photo is believed to show the AS-31 Losharik, other sources claim this is actually a Project 1910 Kashalot submarine

Back then, a fire broke out on Losharik, the official information says 14 out of 25 crew members died due to smoke inhalation. Allegedly, the fire was caused by low-quality Chinese or "import-substituted" lithium-ion batteries. At the time of the fire, AS-31 was docked to its carrier, the BS-64 Podmoskovye which is a converted strategic missile submarine of Project 667BDRM.

The russian media state that Losharik received new equipment during the repair and underwent some modernization. Reactor's nuclear fuel was replaced, too.

However, those additional operations performed on the submarine could be just attempts to explain why the rapid restoration of AS-31, promised by the russian Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigu, ended up taking years. Not to mention, it's yet to be decided whether Losharik will pass the tests or not.

Allegedly, this is the AS-31 Losharik in a dry dock / Defense Express / It Took 4.5 Years for russia to Repair AS-31 Losharik Nuclear-Powered Sabotage Submarine
Allegedly, this is the AS-31 Losharik in a dry dock / Open-source photo

For reference, the AS-31 Losharik is not a conventional but a "spy submarine," designed to carry out sabotage missions at a considerable depth. Western media experts assume that the list of its activities may include thwarting underwater communications and submarine detection systems, in particular the IUSS on the choke point between the Faroe Islands and Iceland (the GIUK gap).

The Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom GIUK Gap / Defense Express / It Took 4.5 Years for russia to Repair AS-31 Losharik Nuclear-Powered Sabotage Submarine
The Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom GIUK Gap was considered an important naval chokepoint during the Cold War era / Image credit: CIA via Wikimedia Commons

Namely, the unofficial name Losharik is related to the characteristic design of the russian underwater vehicle, in which all internal compartments are made in the form of spheres made of titanium alloys, reminiscent of the character of a little-known Soviet cartoon.

The layout of the AS-31 Losharik and the character it was named after / Defense Express / It Took 4.5 Years for russia to Repair AS-31 Losharik Nuclear-Powered Sabotage Submarine
The layout of the AS-31 Losharik and the character it was named after / Open-source images

Notably, there are no reliable images of the AS-31 Losharik, therefore all the given pictures show the design and looks of this deep-sea submarine only with some degree of probability. In particular, some of the photos may actually feature the older AS-15 vessel of Project 1910 (codename Kashalot).

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