Nuclear submarines as oil tankers

Potentially mad scheme: After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian navy was casting about for ways to raise revenue and came up with the idea of using Typhoon-class submarines as oil tankers. The Soviets had built six Typhoon-class nuclear subs which were, and still are, the largest submarines ever made. The main selling point of this idea was that the subs could travel under Arctic ice, eliminating the need for expensive ice-breakers. From wikipedia:

In the early 1990s, there were also proposals to rebuild some of the Typhoon-class submarines to submarine cargo vessels for shipping oil, gas and cargo under polar ice to Russia's far flung northern territories. The submarines could take up to 10,000 tonnes of cargo on-board and ship it under the polar ice to tankers waiting in the Barents Sea. These ships – after the considerable engineering required to develop technologies to transfer oil from drilling platforms to the submarines, and later, to the waiting tankers – would then deliver their cargo world-wide.

The idea was abandoned when someone over there decided that a nuclear sub filled with 10,000 tons of oil might pose some safety concerns.

More info:

     Posted By: Alex - Tue Mar 16, 2021
     Category: Military | Atomic Power and Other Nuclear Matters | Transportation | 1990s

A lot less engineering would be needed if they just carried (dry) cargo in the missiles and fired them to their destinations.
Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 03/16/21 at 09:57 AM
They could have set them up as mobile hotels and made more money that way. Imagine taking an underwater cruise below the North Pole. I would buy a ticket but I'd bring my own food to eat.
Posted by KDP on 03/16/21 at 05:26 PM
How would the get enough ballast to be able to go under the ice sheets? Oil floats. A canister (submarine) full of oil will float, won't it?
Posted by Jessica on 03/17/21 at 09:44 AM
@Jessica -- The vast majority of the volume of a submarine is air. While you'd be ripping out a lot of equipment to turn it into a tanker, that's a fraction of the weight of the hull and propulsion system alone.

During WWII, Type XIV submarines were mostly tankers, carrying fuel and motor oil to resupply other subs at sea. Google "WWII Milch Cows" for more info.
Posted by Phideaux on 03/17/21 at 12:51 PM
@ Phideaux - Thank you! I had no idea about such operations, my coworker is an ex-submariner and he never brought up this fact. Will have to ask him to tell me his side of the story next time he's in. In the meanwhile, I'll keep on reading 😊
Posted by Jessica on 03/18/21 at 11:34 AM
@Jessica -- You're welcome. If you ever need totally useless arcane information, I'm your man! 😉
Posted by Phideaux on 03/18/21 at 03:16 PM
An intense 14-hour-long accidental fire on the attack submarine Perle while it was in dry dock for repairs last June left the front section of the boat unusable, according to the French Defense Ministry. It suffered structural damage to steel components that could not be repaired.
Posted by saad on 04/15/21 at 03:53 AM
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.