Submarine At The Beach

Status: Real
image Supposedly this is a picture of a Russian nuclear sub cruising by a beach somewhere in Russia. I've noticed this picture posted on a number of blogs, but the info about it comes from However, no source for the photo is indicated. Is it real? I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be. Here in San Diego it's quite common to see nuclear subs cruising past, especially if you're at Cabrillo Point or Coronado. I imagine the same must be true in Russia.

Update: For comparison, here's a photo I took about two weeks ago of an American submarine cruising off Cabrillo Point, San Diego. In my picture you can see sailors standing on top of the sub as it comes into harbor. Interesting that there are no sailors standing on the Russian sub, especially since it seems like a nice day when the photo was taken.

Update: Stone (in the comments) found a Russian site with more pictures of this sub at the beach, which leads me to conclude that the picture is real because it's unlikely that someone faked an entire series of pictures. According to the machine translation of the Russian site, the pictures were taken at Severodvinsk on the White Sea.

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Military Photos

Posted on Wed Jul 05, 2006


That would be quite the sight. We have a navy base stationed on Garden Island, just south of Perth but apart from the odd carrier, I've never seen a sub before.
Posted by Nettie  on  Thu Jul 06, 2006  at  05:35 AM
I noticed in the photo none of the people on the beach seem to be paying any attention to this huge submarine going by. That could be a clue it's photoshopped.

It could also mean the sight is so common in that area everyone has seen it many times before and therefore doesn't care. However, based on my experience of having lived on military bases when I was young, anytime something big was moving, we all stopped to watch.
Posted by Captain Al  on  Thu Jul 06, 2006  at  08:20 AM
Does the size of the sub correspond to real sizes of subs? It's quite far out in the water--note the blue effect of atmosphere, and the size of the waves (visually very tiny) as you get close to the ship. I don't know much about subs, but from the visual clues, this thing would have to be the length of a large cruise ship.
Posted by cvirtue  on  Thu Jul 06, 2006  at  12:09 PM
The submarine is a Russian Typhoon class balistic missle submarine and yes it is almost the size of a cruse liner.

It is also way to close to shore for that size of a vessel and it is not nearly common enough to be considered routine and unnoteworthy, people would be looking.

Finally, balistic missle subs don't cruse the coastline. They go straight to deep water and then dive.
Posted by Randalray  on  Thu Jul 06, 2006  at  01:39 PM
>>It is also way to close to shore for that size of a vessel and it is not nearly common enough to be considered routine and unnoteworthy, people would be looking.<<

How close to shore it is depends on the depth of the channel. Also, if there's a base nearby, and that's where it's heading, it would be a pretty common sight.

Here in San Diego nuclear subs and aircraft carriers are a pretty common sight. After a while people get used to them.

I'm just saying it's definitely possible that it's real. But whether it is real or not, I don't know.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Thu Jul 06, 2006  at  02:36 PM
I'm about 90% sure that this is a shop; I seriously doubt a Typhoon would be able to get this close to shore without running aground. I'll have some folks who are better at this take a look and weigh in.
Posted by Stone  on  Thu Jul 06, 2006  at  04:02 PM
Well, I had them look at it, and it seems like this might be a legit pic after all. It's possible that there's a deep-water channel that the sub is following.

More info and pics (if you speak Russian, at least):

Color me surprised.
Posted by Stone  on  Thu Jul 06, 2006  at  08:16 PM
well,how many warm water ports do the Soviet subs call in at? It sure as heck isnt Murmansk!!
Posted by bruce  on  Fri Jul 07, 2006  at  01:50 AM
I'll just quote my partner here:
"The Typhoon is huge. It's 175 metres long. Do you know how they make these things? They take three Delta-class hulls and they weld them together, and then they put another hull around it. It's as large as a WWII aircraft carrier. The Typhoon is a HUGE sub."

We've seen the odd Collins sub cruising off Garden here, but not nearly close enough to be snapworthy.
Posted by Nightbringer  on  Fri Jul 07, 2006  at  04:35 AM
The sea must be the black sea, which has plenty of Russian coastal resorts. The home port of the black sea fleet is actually in Ukraine, the Crimea, so it could be there. But... the black sea is not home to any ballistic missile subs, and the last of the Typhoons was retired anyway.
Posted by beezle  on  Fri Jul 07, 2006  at  06:14 AM
My partner says that the Dmitry Donskoi is still serving as a test platform in the Russian navy.
Posted by Nightbringer  on  Fri Jul 07, 2006  at  07:51 AM
Never mind the technical sub stuff, it's so obviously fake. The haze on the sub does not jibe with the "nearby" ocean. There is also something amiss with the depth-of-field here, too. Too much in the photo is way too sharp. It just seems wrong.
Posted by Steve  on  Fri Jul 07, 2006  at  08:26 AM
sorry to say, but it looks like a big fake to me.
The sub looks very blur to me, and as you mentionend, noone on the beach looks at it(even if a car is passing, at least some ppl would look at it, and here a submarine is sure not that usual)
Posted by frank  on  Fri Jul 07, 2006  at  08:57 AM
It looks legit to me. My guess is that the photo was taken at Severodvinsk on the White Sea, near Arkhangelsk. The Russians are currently testing their latest SLBM from there.
Posted by skribe  on  Fri Jul 07, 2006  at  07:41 PM
And oh, a comparison of a Typhoon against what I think is a Kiev class aircraft carrier. This is only a few kilometres from the beach.
Posted by skribe  on  Fri Jul 07, 2006  at  09:58 PM
A cursory examination of the photograph shows that this vessel is traversing a deep channel-note that it has passed on the far side of the channel marker buoy astern.

There is also a shoreline visible on the far side, indicating that this is either a narrow bay (unlikely) or a wide estuary.

A further look at the photo will show that there are indeed people watching the passage of the submarine-note the three women beyond the pole just to the left of frame centre. They are clearly looking.

The atmospheric haze is consistent with a well lit object at a relative distance of about three quarters of a kilometre between the hours of noon and three pm (approximately), local time.

The vessel is a Project 941 Akula class ship, or Typhoon 2. The Severstal (TK20) is still in service, I believe and is based in Nerpich'ya, though it may be one of a small number still in service.

If one clicks on the photo to enlarge it, one will find the bridge crew perfectly visible on the top fwd part of the conning tower (sail).

It is entirely possible, if not likely, that this beach is actually within the security area af the naval base to which the channel is the entrance. If so, the beach goers will be more than familiar with seeing this and other vessels coming and going.
Posted by Sionnach  on  Sat Jul 08, 2006  at  01:07 PM
according to the Russian report (for those that dont speak russian) the photo was taken of an Akula class submarine by an associate on a beach at severodvinsk (the same sub base that the Kirsk set out from) this sight would therefore not be uncommon in the area. also if you examine the people in the sea you will see that there is one figure with their hand up sheilding their eyes from the sun looking in the direction of the sub. I would say this is a genuine photo.
Posted by Asrai  on  Sun Jul 09, 2006  at  07:37 AM
also on the second picture down on the russian site, on the far left of the picture you will notice that there is a volleyball type game taking place, directly behind these players (looking like they are in the same group) there are 2 men also with their hands up to their eyes staring out to sea you can tell they are looking that way by the fact they are sheilding their eyes from the sun which is over the water and the fact that their feet are pointing in that direction
Posted by Asrai  on  Sun Jul 09, 2006  at  07:58 AM
The Russians call it an Akula (which means shark). The NATO designation is Typhoon. Not to be confused with the NATO designated Akula, which the Russians call Shuka-B (Shuka means pike).
Posted by skribe  on  Sun Jul 09, 2006  at  08:00 AM
I don't really see anything that doesn't fit in, so I don't see any reason why it couldn't be a series of real pictures. Or it could just be a very good series of manipulated pictures.

Is there even anything to give a time frame as to when these pictures were taken, other than the type of submarine? Just going by the class of SSBN, these pictures could have been taken any time within the past 25 years or so and could have been from a time when it was more common to see them sailing by.

Perhaps somebody with more of a naval background can see some modifications on the sub's hull that will give us a better idea of when the pictures could have been taken?
Posted by Accipiter  on  Sun Jul 09, 2006  at  12:34 PM
I say it's photoshopped. The sub should have a bow wave riding up over the prow. It should also be generating a wake from both the bow and the stern
Finaly, the perspective is wrong. It should be at a slight angle, as the photo is taken from an elevated position off the bow of the submarine.

The sunlight appears to match, but I still say it's photoshopped.
Posted by cthelmax  on  Mon Jul 10, 2006  at  11:42 AM
Accipiter, this version of the boat entered service between 1980 and 1988, with a "midlife" upgrade in the mid-nineties, when the blister on top of the vertical stabiliser was added.

I believe the photo to be digital and taken through a telephoto lens of between 120-200mm, which would account for the apparent lack of depth of field.

I have also had a better look at the other three photos in the series and can now say that the vessel is putting to sea, rather than coming into port.

She is trimmed to maximise freeboard, hence the splashes from the screws visible to the stern. I am also reasonably certain that she is sailing on the tide-note the absence of a tide mark on the beach, indicating that it is high.
Posted by Sionnach  on  Mon Jul 10, 2006  at  12:36 PM
cthelmax, she is generating a wake. This vessel is moving at maneovering speed, not flank. The hull is designed to minimise cavitation and will therefore not generate a significant bow wave at low speeds, however, the pressure wave is visible in the water in front of the bow.

The perspective is perfectly OK-the deck of this submarine is above the vantage point of the camera by a good margin. It's nearly twenty feet above sea level! In addition, she is not running parallel to the beach, but is bows out to it.

The reason that the bow wake is difficult to see is because it is running close to the hull side, in the vessel's own shadow.
Posted by Sionnach  on  Mon Jul 10, 2006  at  12:49 PM
I know this is some time ago but I found the Russian site where this was first hosted and the caption reads Akula class sub near Severodvinsk.

This is where the missile subs are based and loaded with SSBNs. Using Google Earth you can easily find the base and if you look there are a few Typhoon class subs moored there. No fake but the real deal. Widh I could have been there. Also speaking to my Russian wife she ahs heard it is quite warm there in the summer and nice to visit.
Posted by Johnny English  on  Thu Nov 16, 2006  at  03:33 PM
This photo is definately real. However, the submarine in question is not of the Akula class, but of the Typhoon 2 class.

The headquaters of the Russian Northern Fleet is based at Severomorsk along the northern edge of the Kola Peninsula. Severomorsk is also a major port and weapons handling facility. This coastline, which is ice-free all year due to the warming influence of the Gulf Stream, provides the Northern Fleet unrestricted access to open water. This allows for near continuous year-round training exercises as well as the opportunity for response to political and military crises. The remainder of the Arctic coastline becomes icebound and virtually impassible each winter.

The sub is traversing a deep channel and also keep in mind that the Russian are very sensitive of the prying eyes and ears of the US spy boats. As such most of the waters that surround bases, especially sub bases are heavily mined. So all vessels have to surface and then follow a pre-desinated path, in and out of port.

Hope this helps..
Posted by David Braganza  on  Thu Jan 18, 2007  at  08:21 AM
here is a news clip from russian TV showing a video clip taken from the beach... It is without question real photos guys...
Posted by Capt. J T Levins  on  Tue Feb 13, 2007  at  03:06 PM
"However, the submarine in question is not of the Akula class, but of the Typhoon 2 class. "

Actually, it is an Akula class, but not in the NATO classification. The NATO classification is Typhoon II, but the Russian classification is Akula. The Russian classification for the NATO Akula class is Shchuka.
Posted by Jay  on  Fri Apr 20, 2007  at  10:01 AM
The SEVMASH boat yard in Severodvinsk is the largest in the world. Go to GOOGLE EARTH and have a look at the stuff tied up in SevDvinsk, including an Akula/Typhoon nose-to-nose with a carrier recently sold and being outfitted with MiG-29K's for India.

Related -
Posted by Buck Wheat  on  Fri Jul 20, 2007  at  02:28 AM
You guys are all such sados for spending so much of your time deliberating over this! I think it's a cool picture - doesn't matter to me whether it's real or fake. Laters
Posted by TG  on  Sun Mar 09, 2008  at  08:07 AM
its real heres a vid.
Posted by jl6981  on  Tue Oct 06, 2009  at  06:18 PM
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