Whiskey class submarines

Project 613 (NATO “Whiskey”) class submarines

215 submarines (1951-58)

The mass-built Soviet Submarines

The classic attack submarines of the “Whiskey” class (Project 613) have been after the VIIC U-Boat type the most prolific submarines in history.

With 215 units, they have largely exceeded the fleet of “Fleet Snorkels” (Gato class) of the last war. To these were added no less than 21 built by China from Russian parts and equipment. All were registered by an “S” against a “B” for large conventional SMs such as Foxtrot or Zulu, or “K” for nuclear (heavy) and “TK” for Typhoon series (super heavy), or SS for special units.

“Orzel”, polish Whiskey class model

⚠ Note: This post is in rewriting for a massive expansion. Completion expected in 2024.

They were therefore registered from S-80 to S-393 in non-consecutive sequences, built between 1951 (S-80, prototype) and 1958 (the last, S-365), to Gorkiy, Nikolayev, Baltic and Komsomolsk. Whiskey was one of three projects studied in 1946 by the Bureau (TTZ). The 613 projects were medium submersibles, Zulu, big ones. They inherited Project 608 of 1939 and 1943 claiming a unit of 600-700 tons diving at 120 meters, but after the study of the U250 refloated, the project was totally questioned.

In 1947, the TTZ having been rebuilt, the design of the new 613 project began and ended in 1948. The S-80 was put on hold in March 1950. They integrated the study type XXI but still did not the Walter patent. They therefore had a large electric battery and a gun, and two other 25 mm AA.

Note: This is an introduction on the matter, a starter article. It will be extensively rewritten soon, with the carrer of each ship detailed, and posted on Facebook.

Design of the S-80 type

Their hull and equipment were not very different from WWII units, but the specification for a dive over 200 meters, and greater autonomy, as well as mass production, resulted in a submersible more than 1000 tons. Their artillery differed according to the initial versions (Whiskey I, II, III and IV, the latter having a schnorchel).

The Whiskey V, on the other hand, had a new, better profiled hull and no artillery pieces (Project 613M). They formed the new production standard in 1955. Their sonars were very much inspired by those of the Type XXI whose engineers were now working (rewarded by a golden bridge) for the USSR.


The Whiskey formed the spearhead of the Soviet navy during the first part of the Cold War, like the “gato” modernized (Guppy) for Americans. There were many transfers abroad in the late 1950s: Albania 4, Bulgaria 2, China 5, Cuba 1, Egypt 7, Indonesia 14, North Korea 4, Poland 4, Syria 1. There were also accidents, such as the S-178, sinking after a fatal collision with a refrigerated ship in 1981 in front of Vladivostok, the S80, converted into a missile launcher, in 1961, or the S-137, the famous “Whiskey on the Rocks” whose the Western press gaussed and had come up on pitfalls trying to spy on the Swedish Naval Base Karlskrona in 1981.

Submarine monument in Surabaya. Interior:

But overall, they were considered very successful and solid. There were still 60 in service in 1985, of which 50 were now active. In 1990, there were 18 left in reserve. On the other hand, there were many conversions and modifications, experimental test variants. This was the case of the series of 26 units of the 613V project, the range of action increased by “Jumboization”, 4 of the pole-and-shoot version (NATO “Canvas Bag”), 6 anti-ship missile launchers with 2 ramps SS-N-3 (NATO “Twin cylinder”), 6 with 4 SS-N-3 ramps on the side of the kiosk (NATO “Long Bin”), and 13 other prototypes. One of these “Whiskey” is currently visiting the USA. In addition, the S-194 is for sale in Sweden for 250 000 € and another in the USA for 450 000 $.

Whiskey I class SS
Whiskey I class SS submarines

Whiskey Long Bin
Whiskey “Long Bin” class SSG

Whiskey twin cylinder
Whiskey “twin Cylinder”

Whiskey twin cylinder

Whiskey class illustration


Displacement: 1050-1350 tons Surface/dive
Dimensions: 76 x 6.3 x 4.55 m
Propulsion: 2 diesel, 4 electrical generators, 6800 hp. 18,25/13 knots, Max. Dive 220 m max
Armament: 6 TLT 533 mm 4 bow 2 stern (12 torpedoes), 2 guns 57 mm, 2 of 25 mm AA.
Electronics: Feniks, Tamir, Sonars Nakat and Flag Radar sensors

Read more/src
Conway’s all the world’s fighting ships 1947-1995

Author: dreadnaughtz

Naval Encyclopedia webmaster. Find more on the "about" page.

2 thoughts on “Whiskey class submarines

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *