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Scorpion Russian Submarine 


    A Red flag flies in Long Beach Harbor. Parked ominously close to thee  Queen Mary ship is a pitch black Russian submarine. Code Name: Scorpion 



Commissioned by the Russian Navy until 1994, the Foxtrot-class submarine is in near operational condition and available for viewing. The intent is for its displays to promote friendly relations with Russia and give Americans an opportunity to experience a slice of Russia's maritime history.  


The Povodnaya Lodka 641 Design Pacific Fleet sub offers a look into the  Cold War years in which the United States and Russia remained on constant alert of each other. Built in 1972, Foxtrot was the largest diesel-electric Soviet sub traversing the Pacific waters. Its handpicked crew of 78 was not only responsible for operations of the vehicle but also kept careful watch over state-of-the-art monitoring equipment and 22 nuclear-tipped torpedoes. 


Built in Sudomekh Shipyard, Leningrad, the 299'6" long vessel can travel 16 knots (15 submerged), with a range of 20,000 miles and a 3 to 5 day submersion.   There were 79 Foxtrots built between 1958 and 1984 with some sold to India, Libya, Cuba and Poland. 

Three diesel engines in Scorpion generate power for electric motors driving three propellers.  To dive, ballast tanks are flooded with water, creating negative buoyancy. Diving horizontally, more than 30 degrees shift can cause it to lose control. In an emergency, crew survival is believed possible from as far as 820 feet below surface with crew escaping in survival suits via torpedo tubes, the conning tower or aft escape hatch. Crews served up to 3 months at sea and were kept at a sanatorium 10 of their 30 days shore leave to convalesce.


Photos ©  Debbie Stock 


Not to worry...on the horizon, waves the red, white and blue.


The Scorpion submarine tour includes the torpedo room, crew's quarters, galley, formerly "top secret" communications center and a gift shop. There's also a 75-seat theater where guests watch a video detailing submarine history. Low heeled shows are recommended. Open daily 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. 


Hunt for Red October offers a glimpse into the counter intelligence operations likely performed by Scorpion and other such underwater vessels. The 1968 disappearance of the U.S.S. Scorpion, Howard Hughes and the CIA's plot to steal a Soviet sub and the story of how an American sub secretly tapped Soviet communications cables beneath the waves are reported in another book,  Blind Man's Bluff : The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage.