Known in Russia as Project 641B Som (Catfish) and to NATO as the Tango class, these submarines were the largest class of conventional submarines ever built.
The submarines of the Tango class are 91 meters long 9 meters wide and have a draft of 7 meters, they displace 3,000tons surfaced and 3,800 tons submerged.
Designed to replace the older Project 641 Foxtrot class, these submarines were capable of ocean-going duties, however they were never produced in any great numbers, a total of 18 were built but now all have been retired, only three have been preserved.
Located on the Tushino Reservoir on the Moscow canal, next to the A90 Olyolnok Ekranoplan the B396 was laid down at the Gorky shipyard on January 22nd, 1979, launched May 17th, 1980, and became part of the Russian northern fleet October 24th, 1980.
On May 16th, 1981 a fire in compartment 6 poisoned 4 of the crew, the result was due to air regeneration cans heating up setting fire to the combustible material in the compartment.
Also, during 1981 she was used as a movie set in which the movie True Klimov Lieutenant was filmed onboard her, also during 1981 she deployed to the Mediterranean Sea and transferred to a new home port on the Black sea.
June 1982 saw the submarine take part in a large exercise which included the Northern and black sea
fleets, which saw her also take part in other tasks in the Norwegian and Barents Sea.
This led the ship to be awarded in November 1983 with an excellent ship award, and awarded the prize of the Chelyabinsk region committee of the Komsomol, and she was given the honorary title of Novosibirsk Komsomolets.
Between September 5th, 1984 and March 5th, 1985, the submarine conducted patrols off the coast of West Africa and would repeat this patrol between May 3rd, 1986 to November 30th, 1986.
January 1st to July 5th, 1988 the submarine took part in exercises in the Norwegian sea with the Northern fleet, and hunted NATO submarines during this time along side B440 a project 641 (Foxtrot) and B401 a Project 877 (Kilo)
September 1988 saw the submarine be transferred to the Baltic fleet based at Khronstadt and placed in repair and overhaul, Her systems were heavily upgraded to carry the electronic warfare systems MG-519, MG-533 and MG-512 she was also fitted with MGS-30 systems at this time.
The repairs were completed on October 25th 1990 and sent to Polyarny to work up the crew and submarine.
January 1991 the submarine was sent along with the icebreaker Snow Storm after loading ammunition to the Northern fleet once again, where she remained tied up.
April 1st, 1992 the submarine was formally de named after the breakup of the Soviet Union and returned to being called B396.
March 26th to June 22nd, 1993 the submarine made a patrol into the North Atlantic this would be her last active patrol.
January 22nd, 1998 the submarine was formally withdrawn from service after 18 years of service, the crew was disbanded on May 1st, 1998.
In April 2001 the submarine began conversion into a museum and on August 24th, 2003 she was transferred via white sea – Baltic canal to her new home in Moscow.
July 2006 she formerly opened to the public.
Write up courtesy of Blair Shaw
To organize a more rewarding and in depth tour on any naval museum ship or naval museum in Russia please speak to Captain 1st Rank Igor Kurdin and his associates at the Submarine Veterans club by contacting him via email at Subclub@mail.ru
Alternative website: https://www.moscovery.com/russian-navy-history-museum/