It was one of the most innovative projects of the Soviet Navy. The K-222, also known as the Golden Fish, was capable of sailing as quick 44,7 knots (82.8 km/h) in submerged position
It was a unique effort by Russian engineers and vessel designers, who had been commissioned to develop a brand new kind of submarine radically different from all former projects. The result was Project 661, an extremely fast attack submarine built with a titanium hull.
The vessel was laid down in late 1963 and commissioned six years later.
In December 1970 it set its official world speed record. An attempt to push for even higher speed was made in 1971. The new record was originally to be announced at the start of the 24th Soviet Party Congress, but that time schedule failed because of bad weather in the Barents Sea. Still, later that same day, the ship captain set out to the Motovsky Bay north of the Kola Peninsula and pushed the vessel’s two reactors to the utmost. Three stretches were planned, but only two executed, reportedly because the turbines were about to get out of control. The speed during the tests reached 44,85 knots (83,06 km/h), but it is still the result from 1970 that has remained the official record, notes at Wikipedia read.
The world had never seen a vessel like the K-222.
But it came with a hefty price. The submarine is believed to have costed up to two billion rubles, or approximately 1 percent of the Soviet Union’s 1968 GDP. It became the only vessel built of the project. In addition to its high cost, the K-222 created too much noice and had several more downsides.
The Golden Fish served in the Northern Fleet from 1970 to 1984. It had its home base in Zapadnaya Litsa and later Ura-Guba on the Kola Peninsula.
It was officially taken out of service in 1989 and decommissioning started in 2008. In 2015, the spent nuclear fuel was remove and the reactor compartment is to be brought to the storage site in Saida Bay near Murmansk.
But the life of the historical submarine did not completely come to an end. The conning tower of the vessel is now being rebuilt to become a memorial in the city of Severodvinsk, the site of its original construction.
In early July, the tower was brought from the submarine repair yard of Zvezdochka to the nearby yard of Sevmash.
According to Sevmash, the reconstruction will start as soon as an agreement is concluded with the city of Severodvinsk. When completed, the K-222 memorial will be placed in the local Primorsky Park.
The memorial is dedicated to builders of the sub, as well as its designers and experts that undertook repair works and upheld its battle preparedness, Sevmash reports.