W National Geographic: Sub Milestones -- 1st Soviet Nuclear

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

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

1958: November Class (Soviet)
First Non-U.S. Nuclear-Powered Subs


Soviet: November Class
A November-class submarine circa the 1960s
Photograph courtesy U.S. Naval Historical Center

The November class of attack submarines was the first nuclear-propelled Soviet series. In 1962 the first in the class, the K-3, also called the Leninsky Komsomol, was the first Soviet sub to reach the North Pole, a feat first accomplished nearly four years earlier by the United States’ Nautilus.

The November class was plagued by serious and sometimes fatal reactor accidents, such as a 1968 radioactive gas leak on K-27 that killed nine.

Next: First Soviet Nuclear Ballistic Subs >>

Length: 361 ft (110 m)

Beam: 26 ft (8 m)

Draft: 21 ft (6 m)

Displacement: approx. 4,380 tons

Propulsion: 2 pressurized-water nuclear reactors, 2 propellers

Crew: Approx. 105

Armament: 8 torpedo tubes

First Sub Commissioned: July 1, 1958

Maximum Speed: 28 knots (35 mph/56 kph)