K-278 Komsomolets (1983)

K-278 on the surface, 1 January, 1986. US Navy photo.

Nation
Ship Class
Ship Type
Laid Down
1978
Launched
1983
Commissioned
1983
AD/BC
AD
History

K-278 was a one-off nuclear submarine, laid down 22 April, 1978. Classified as Project 685 "Plavnik" ("fin", NATO: Mike), K-278 was built as a testbed for new tech, and he worked surprisingly well. Commissioned 28 December, 1983, K-278 set a depth record of 3,350 feet on 4 August, 1984. As a result of this achievement, he was one of the few Soviet submarines to receive a name, Komsomolets. Komsomolets caught fire on 7 April, 1989, while about 335m (1,100 feet) down. He was able to surface, and only four crew died in the fire, but the sub soon sank, resulting in thirty-eight more dying from drowning or hypothermia before rescue arrived. Komsomolets is in 5,500 feet of water in the Barents Sea, with two nuclear torpedoes. Several expeditions have been dispatched to look at the subs condition, and the torpedoes have been sealed by a special compound.