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U.S. and Soviet Submarine Milestones of the Cold War

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Definitions of “beam,” “draft,” “displacement”

1967: Yankee Class (Soviet and Russian)
Comparable Firepower


Soviet Yankee Class
Yankee-class submarine
Photograph courtesy U.S. Naval Historical Center

Yankee-class subs were the first Soviet ballistic missile submarines with firepower comparable to that of their U.S. counterparts. The Yankee-class submarines were significantly quieter than Hotel-class submarines due to a smoother hull shape, special propeller design, exterior sound-deadening coatings, and other modifications.

Several subs in the class were modified, such as the K-403 and K-411, whose missile compartments were converted to carry miniature submarines.

In 1986, on K-219, a missile-fuel leak caused an explosion and a resulting fire killed four people. The ship sank off the U.S. East Coast (about the disaster).

All but two Yankee submarines have been decommissioned and have had their missile compartments cut out to comply with the START II arms-reduction treaty.

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Length: 426 ft (130 m)

Beam: 38 ft (12 m)

Draft: 29 ft (9 m)

Displacement: 9,300 tons

Propulsion: 2 pressurized-water nuclear reactors, 2 propellers

Crew: Approx. 120

Armament: 6 torpedo tubes, 16 ballistic missiles

First Sub Commissioned: November 5, 1967

Maximum Speed: 26 knots (28 mph/44 kph)