Quebec class submarine
The Quebec-class submarine was the NATO reporting name
NATO reporting name
NATO reporting names are classified code names for military equipment of the Eastern Bloc...

 of the Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 Project 615 submarine
A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability...

 class, a small coastal attack submarine of the late 1950s.


Prior to WWII, work on closed cycle diesel engines was carried out by S.A. Basilevskiy, who developed a powerplant codenamed REDO. The exhaust gases from the diesel engine were compressed and the carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

 extracted and dumped overboard, before the purified gases were mixed with stored oxygen and fed back into the engine. A prototype of this powerplant was installed in the experimental submarine M-401, laid down at Gorky
Nizhny Novgorod
Nizhny Novgorod , colloquially shortened to Nizhny, is, with the population of 1,250,615, the fifth largest city in Russia, ranking after Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, and Yekaterinburg...

 on 28 November 1939 and launched on 31 May 1941.

The M-401 made 74 cruises in the Caspian sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

 including 68 dives and 360 nmi (666.7 km) of submerged running on its closed-cycle plant. Further work was temporarily suspended due to the war but was resumed after hostilities ended, at Leningrad.

The data obtained from trials of the M-401 formed a basis for the design of the Project 615 Quebec class.


Quebec-class submarines were fitted with two regular diesel engines and a third, closed-cycle diesel engine, which used liquid oxygen
Liquid oxygen
Liquid oxygen — abbreviated LOx, LOX or Lox in the aerospace, submarine and gas industries — is one of the physical forms of elemental oxygen.-Physical properties:...

 (LOX) to provide air-independent propulsion
Air-independent propulsion
Air-independent propulsion is a term that encompasses technologies which allow a submarine to operate without the need to surface or use a snorkel to access atmospheric oxygen. The term usually excludes the use of nuclear power, and describes augmenting or replacing the diesel-electric propulsion...

 while the submarine was submerged.

The Quebec class had a streamlined conning tower with a fixed snorkel housing at the rear end. They were armed with four torpedo tubes in the bow, for which no reloads were carried, and earlier boats also had a twin 25 mm anti-aircraft gun faired into the forward end of the tower, making them some of the last submarines to be constructed with deck guns.

The Quebec class were plagued with problems caused by the liquid oxygen. Their endurance was limited to 14 days due to evaporation of the oxygen, and the propulsion system led to several serious incidents. In 1957 two submarines were lost due to accidents caused by the oxygen system. M-256
Soviet submarine M-256
M-256 was a Project 615 short-range, diesel attack submarine of the Soviet Navy. She was commissioned into the Baltic Fleet.-Design:...

, suffered a fire off Tallinn
Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It occupies an area of with a population of 414,940. It is situated on the northern coast of the country, on the banks of the Gulf of Finland, south of Helsinki, east of Stockholm and west of Saint Petersburg. Tallinn's Old Town is in the list...

 in the Baltic, which led to the loss of 35 men, while M-351 sank in the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 with no casualties. Other incidents caused oxygen-fueled flames to burst out from the boats, which led to their crews to nickname them zazhigalka ("lighters") or Zippo
A Zippo lighter is a refillable, metal lighter manufactured by Zippo Manufacturing Company of Bradford, Pennsylvania, U.S. Thousands of different styles and designs have been made in the seven decades since their introduction including military ones for specific regiments.-Establishment:George G...

s after the well-known cigarette lighter.


Thirty units were built between 1952 and 1957 of the 100 planned before the project was abandoned and the Soviet Union developed nuclear powered boats. The last were retired in the 1970s.

A unit, the M-261 is on display in Krasnodar
Krasnodar is a city in Southern Russia, located on the Kuban River about northeast of the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk. It is the administrative center of Krasnodar Krai . Population: -Name:...

 in Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 and another, the M-302 in Odessa
Odessa or Odesa is the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast located in southern Ukraine. The city is a major seaport located on the northwest shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 .The predecessor of Odessa, a small Tatar settlement,...

 in Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...


External links

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