Romeo Class


Romeo Class

Nationality: Soviet Union

The Soviets originally intended the Romeo Class of conventional diesel-electric attack submarines to be enormous. Some references suggest a total of 560 boats were originally planned. In the event only 20 were built by the Soviet Union. Construction began in 1958 but the advent of successful nuclear propulsion into the Soviet Navy resulted in the curtailment of the production of this Class.

The design was, however, passed to the Chinese and production began in 1962. A total of 84 Chinese Romeo boats were built. In physical appearance the Chinese and Soviet boats were almost identical with the possible exception that Soviet examples often appeared with more sonar equipment in the bows.

Production is also rumoured to have taken place in North Korea. Their navy certainly operated this class and it is believed that not all were from Chinese production.

As the Soviet Navy re-equipped with more modern boats they transferred Romeo Class submarines to Algeria (on loan), Bulgaria, Egypt and Syria.

By 1987 all Soviet-operated Romeo boats had been withdrawn. The Chinese navy had by then reduced its operating fleet by over half and it now thought none remain in front line Chinese service.

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