10 largest submarines in the world

Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective, does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

Submarines are the most inconspicuous of ships. They, like sea animals, move in the water column, only occasionally coming to the surface. But in size, these ships may well exceed the living inhabitants of the depths. Here are the largest (in terms of displacement) submarines that exist now.

The largest submarines in the world

Nomination a place Name of product Weight
The largest submarines in the world 1 Project 941 “Shark” (48,000 tons) 48,000 Tons
2 Borey (24,000 tons) 24,000 TONS
3 “Ohio ” (18,750 tons) 18,750 TONS
4 Dolphin (18,200 tons) 18 200 TONS
5 “Vanguard” (15,900 tons) 15,900 TONS
6 “Triomphant” (14335 tons) 14,335 TONS
7 “Ash” (13800 tons) 13 800 TONS
8 Pike-B (12,770 tons) 12,770 TONS
9 “Condor” (10,400 tons) 10 400 TONS
10 Seawolf (9130 tons) 9 130 TONS

1st place: Project 941 “Shark” (48,000 tons)

Rating: 5.0


Akula is a Soviet nuclear submarine, the largest of all submarines in the world. It was created in the midst of the Cold War – in 1972 they began to work on the project, in 1976 the first copies appeared. It was planned to build twelve such submarines, but as a result, only six were produced.

The Akula's length is 173 meters, and its displacement is 48,000 tons. The submarine is driven by two propellers, which are powered by nuclear reactors. It accelerates to 25 knots (46 km / h). The internal structure is non-standard – under the steel shell there are as many as two titanium hulls, the design resembles a catamaran. The torpedo and stern compartments are located separately, as well as the submarine control center.

Between the main buildings lie 20 silos with the largest combat missiles in the world – the R-39, weighing 90 tons and a flight range of 8,300 km, each carrying 10 warheads. One such boat could release 200 atomic bombs towards the enemy – enough to turn an entire continent into a radioactive desert.

The submarine's crew is 160 people and can go to sea for up to half a year. Inside there are amenities such as a gym, sauna, pool and large relaxation room. Evacuation in the event of the death of a submarine has been thought out – the entire crew is placed in two rescue chambers on board. However, the threat of such damage is small – two separate hulls increase the safety margin.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the Sharks began to be decommissioned. Now only one of the six submarines is in operation, updated and named “Dmitry Donskoy”.

2nd place: “Borey” (24,000 tons)

Rating: 4.9

10 largest submarines in the world

Borey is a modern alternative to the Akula, a Russian submarine, produced since 2013. Now there are three such submarines in operation, the first, which was launched, was named “Yuri Dolgoruky”. This is a kind of symbolism – rockets from such a submarine are able to reach any point in the Northern Hemisphere.

Displacement “Borey” is half that of “Akula” – 24,000 tons, length – 170 meters. The boat has two hulls – lightweight and durable. The latter is divided into eight compartments – torpedo, command, combat, two missile, steam generator and two energy. The nuclear reactor is located in the eighth compartment. A feature of the submarine is the use of a water-jet propulsion device that works like a pump instead of propellers. This reduces the effect of torque on the submarine, which allows to reduce the size of the stabilizers, and also reduces noise – the Borei is five times quieter than the boats of the previous (third) generation.

The submarine is armed with sixteen Bulava missiles with a range of 9,300 km. Each of the missiles carries up to ten nuclear blocks capable of separating and moving independently. In addition, eight torpedo launchers are located in the bow of the submarine.

3rd place: “Ohio” (18,750 tons)

Rating: 4.8


In the United States, Ohio submarines are leading in size. They were produced in 1981-1997 in the amount of 18 copies, since 2002 these are the only missile carriers that America uses. Each sub has two crews, which take turns out to sea. The purpose of the submarines is combat patrolling.

The submarine's rugged hull consists of four compartments. The first (bow) accommodates the crew, there are the submarine control systems, as well as recreation areas. The second compartment is designed for missiles, there are also berths for the combat crew of the missile complex. The third contains a nuclear reactor and steam generators, and the fourth contains turbine installations. The lightweight body covers the top of the durable and has a small footprint.

The impetus for the creation of such missile carriers was the appearance of nuclear weapons in the USSR. Then it became clear to US military analysts that a preemptive strike that completely disarms the enemy was no longer possible – it would not be possible to hit all strategic targets, and the enemy side would inevitably inflict retaliatory damage on the aggressor. Then it was decided to move from the strategy of “massive retaliation” to “realistic intimidation.”

The Ohio submarines are the embodiment of this “strategy of intimidation”. Despite the fact that their displacement is a quarter less than that of the Borey, the weapons are superior to all missile carriers in the world. The silos contain 24 Trident missiles, each carrying 6-8 warheads.

Currently, 4 out of 18 boats have been converted to Tomahawk cruise missiles. This is done under an arms reduction treaty that only allows 14 ballistic missile boats.

4th place: “Dolphin” (18,200 tons)

Rating: 4.7

10 largest submarines in the world

Submarines of the “Dolphin” project were produced in the late USSR. During 1984-1990, seven copies were launched. The layout of these submarines is typical for missile carriers: the movement is provided by two propellers powered by a nuclear reactor, the missile silos are located behind the wheelhouse and fenced off, the torpedo tubes are placed in front (at the bow of the boat). Lightweight and durable casings are made of steel and have a sound-absorbing coating.

The submarine is armed with 16 R-29RM missiles. Each of them can carry 10 small warheads or 4 large warheads. The missiles can be launched when the submarine is at a depth of 55 meters and moves at a speed of 6-7 knots, their range is 8300 km. Now the dolphins have changed their weapons – now they are carrying Sineva missiles.

One of the submarines of this project, “Novomoskovsk”, participated in the training military operation “Begemot-2”, which involved practicing actions in the event of the worst outcome of the Cold War. The crew released all the missile carrier's ammunition, with an interval between launches of 14 seconds. The boats of this project were also used for peaceful purposes: from the Dolphins, two artificial satellites were launched into low-earth orbits.

5th place: “Vanguard” (15900 tons)

Rating: 4.6

10 largest submarines in the world

“Vanguard” (translated into Russian – avant-garde) is the name of a series of British submarines produced in the 1990s. There are four such boats in total. They replaced the same number of Resolution submarines, which had ceased to meet the requirements of the time.

The Resolution submarines were armed with Polaris missiles capable of covering 4500 km. This range required the submarines to be unacceptably close to the Soviet border. When the Trident missiles were created in the USA, covering 7400 km, Great Britain needed missile carriers adapted for them. Such boats could retreat further from the Soviet borders, into the Irish Sea, under the protection of the NATO fleet.

The Vanguard submarines became the embodiment of the missile carriers mentioned above. These are submarines of single-hull architecture. The hull is made of steel and houses 16 missile silos. They are covered with a dome-shaped superstructure that shelters from sea water. Rockets can be fired from depths of up to 30 meters.

Initially, it was planned to create 6-7 such submarines, but after the collapse of the USSR, this was no longer necessary, and only four were released. Now one of these submarines is constantly on alert in the Atlantic Ocean.

6th place: “Triomphant” (14335 tons)

Rating: 4.5

10 largest submarines in the world

Le Triomphant is the name of a class of French submarines, created in 1989-2009 in the amount of four pieces. They were created as a replacement for the older Redutable submarines. The design of the Triumfan began in 1982. The main requirements that the submarine had to meet were high secrecy and quick detection of enemy anti-submarine defense.

To solve the first of the problems, studies were carried out, which showed that the easiest way to detect a submarine is by its acoustic field. To reduce the noise, it was equipped with a pressurized water reactor, characterized by low noise, and a water jet was installed instead of the traditional propeller. In addition, the diving depth was increased to 300 meters.

For the rapid detection of anti-aircraft weapons, the submarine was armed with a hydroacoustic complex and a variety of devices that capture radio waves and optical light. Information from the SAC and these devices is processed by an automatic combat control system.

The first three representatives of the class are armed with 16 M45 missiles, capable of carrying up to 6 nuclear homing units, flying up to 6000 km. On the fourth boat, Le Terrible, they are replaced with M51.1, with a range of 9000 km. Now all four missile carriers are planning to re-equip with M51.2 missiles. All boats are still in service.

7th place: “Ash” (13800 tons)

Rating: 4.4

10 largest submarines in the world

Work on the Yasen nuclear-powered submarine project began in 1977. At that time, a huge variety of types and varieties of combat sumbarins were used for various strategic purposes. This made them difficult to manufacture, repair and operate. “Ash” was to become an example of a universal submarine capable of replacing many other types at once.

“Ash” design is one-and-a-half-hull, light hull only in the bow. The boat is covered with rubber-like material on all sides, which reduces noise. The submarine is distinguished by the absence of torpedo tubes in the bow: instead of them, the antenna of the hydroacoustic complex is located, and the torpedoes are moved to the middle of the hull.

The boat is powered by a single nuclear reactor with increased reliability. It moves due to the screw, at low speeds – a less noisy propeller motor. The submarine is armed with 10 torpedo tubes, and also has 8 missile silos, each of which can hold 4-5 cruise missiles – they can be of various types and calibers.

The possibility of various combinations of weapons allows the Yasen submarines to be used for various purposes. She is capable of hitting both other submarines and surface ships and ground targets.

8th place: “Pike-B” (12,770 tons)

Rating: 4.3

10 largest submarines in the world

The submarines of the Shchuka-B project were created to replace the Soviet submarines Shchuka, known for their reliability and stealth. New submarines have reduced their noise, increased displacement and crew accommodation comfort. Also new “pikes” differ in speed: they can accelerate to 33 knots.

The boat has a two-hull design. An interesting feature is the block structure of the internal equipment. This made it possible to work on parts not inside the submarine, but in the workshops, which made the process faster and easier. The blocks were also isolated from the body by rubber shock absorbers, which further reduces acoustic vibrations.

Tools for the production of low-noise propellers were purchased from the Japanese company Toshiba. Despite the secrecy of the order, other countries became aware of it, as a result of which the United States imposed sanctions on the company. The “pikes” are armed with a torpedo-missile system, which includes 8 torpedo tubes. Like the Ash, this submarine can be used to engage a wide variety of targets.

To date, 14 copies of the Schuk-B have been produced. Of these, four are operational.

9th place: “Condor” (10,400 tons)

Rating: 4.2


Submarines “Condor” – a continuation of the Soviet project “Barracuda”. Only two such submarines were built during 1982-1993, at that time they were the most silent and hardly noticeable submarines in magnetic fields. Like the “barracudas”, they have a titanium case – they wanted to use that for the “Shchuka-B”, but they refused because of the high cost.

With the boats of the Barracuda project, these submarines are similar in armament: the Condor has 6 torpedo tubes with 40 torpedoes and missiles. Strategic cruise missiles “Granat” are adapted for underwater launch and can engage ground targets at a distance of up to 3000 km.

The design of the submarine is double-hulled. The robust case is made of titanium alloy and consists of 7 watertight compartments. In case of an accident, a rescue capsule is placed on the submarine, which can accommodate the entire crew and surface independently.

10th place: “Seawolf” (9130 tons)

Rating: 4.1

10 largest submarines in the world

The Sea Wolves are modern American submarines, conceived as a response to the Soviet Union's creation of the Pike-B submarines. It was planned to create 30 such boats, but with the collapse of the USSR, this was no longer necessary, and now there are only three copies.

The Seawolf submarines are among the newest, fastest and quietest in the US Navy. Therefore, most of the information about them is classified, their purpose is unknown (it is believed that the boats are multipurpose) and the internal structure. There is also no comprehensive information about where exactly the submarines perform their functions – they are usually referred to the Pacific Fleet, but the location may well change.

In 2013, one of the “sea wolves” appeared in Norway. It is assumed that the submarine passed under the Arctic ice to get there. This is not the first appearance of a submarine of this class in the Arctic Ocean – before that, the Connecticut submarine belonging to it participated in the ice test. Perhaps one of the “wolves” prowls under the ice even now.

Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

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