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Russian Running Lights - Shape and Location?

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Postby Crazy Ivan » Mon Aug 04, 2003 12:48 pm

Anybody know what the red and green running lights look like on the modern Russian boats (AKULA in particular, but an Alpha might give me a clue) and where (presumably on the sail) they are located? My research has so far failed to turn up this detail. If anyone can point me to a close-up photo, it would be most appreciated. (Yes, I've been through the Russian sub website, all 700+ images!) Thanks. :cool:
George "Crazy Ivan" Protchenko

“There are the assassins, the dealers in death; I am the Avenger!”-Nemo
"I'm disinclined to acquiesce to your request; means No!"-Capt.Barbossa
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Postby Ramius » Mon Aug 04, 2003 9:14 pm

I have plowed through all those pictures too.Somewhere I seem to recall seeing white light on top of the sonar pod.Also the port and starboard lights are in the sail,if I recall correctly,roughly in the first 1/3 section of the sail.
I have a pretty good running collection of pictures of russian boats.Even some sho nuff video of real russian submarines.
I am always interested in the unusual and hard-to-find info on the Alfa,Akula,Typhoon,Oscar,and the mysterious Begula.
If anybody has something off mainstream,I would love to see it.
Meanwhile,if you will e-mail me your adress,I will try to find that picture for you.
"A little revolution now and then is a good thing"
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Postby Dolphin » Tue Aug 05, 2003 12:07 am

Hello Crazy,

There appear to be Navigation lights in all the logical places (see lower left image). The Russian designs have retractable limber hole doors inside their outer hulls to allow both drainage and a smooth hull to greatly reduce flow noise when retracted. The same likely applies to other appendages such as navigation lights etc. I have noticed these bumps on the sail sides which look like retractable Nav lights. Notice they are open in harbour and with the retractable limber holes open too. These same areas are smooth in other images in the same 'sail' areas of the same submarine class. Excellent web site BTW. The image (below right) of the Akula stern towed array housing with the two individuals pointing seem to be pointing at another 'bump'. This 'bump' looks more like a sonar transducer or even just a drain for the rudder fin. I am guessing it is the former. Does not look like a Navigation light here. Any of our Russian experts have any ideas?

Steve Reichmuth


Postby SubEd Tordahl » Tue Aug 05, 2003 11:27 am


For what it’s worth…………….

Another important aspect, if you want to get truly “Scale” here, is arc of visibility. Which is common to ALL Navies of the world.

We’re talking power driven vessel > 50m underway, you will require a masthead, port and starboard as well as a stern light. Note US Submarines display a special yellow flashing Morse “S” every 3 seconds, though I’m honestly not sure (highly doubt it) if RU has adopted this:
1Submarines may display, as a distinctive means of identification, an intermittent flashing amber (yellow) beacon with a sequence of operation of one flash per second for three (3) seconds followed by a three (3) second off-period. Other special rules made by the Secretary of the Navy with respect to additional station and signal lights are found in Part 706 of Title 32, Code of Federal Regulations (32 CFR 706).

These arcs perform an important function since you can roughly determine another vessels angle-on-the-bow heading at night or periods of reduced visibility.

Visit for more information concerning arc’s and visibility.

BTW, I placed Nav lights on “Sub” Eddies 1/72 K432 (ALPHA) and though I located them where they appeared to be scribed, I can be wrong (Scale Shipyard Hull, excellent boat). They’re not scale in size and the port and stbd have 180 deg arcs as opposed to 112. But it suits us fine when we run at night.

I agree with Steve’s assessment of the component on the stbd side of the rudder in the right picture. It in itself would most likely NOT be the stern light (unless there is one on the other side) because it would not give the full 135 deg arc.

Hope this adds a dimension in your quest for Nav light knowledge.
"Sub" Ed Tordahl
"Here on the ocean floor is the only independence......
Here I am free......" Nemo
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Postby Crazy Ivan » Tue Aug 05, 2003 11:53 am

Thanks for the input guys. I agree that the aft white light is probably the bump on the very top of the pod. I have not seen any indication of a forward or masthead light, but I suppose it would be a subltle feature at the top of one of the big electronic masts. I know it has to be there somewhere. Those are nice closeups, Steve. I have not seen them before. I'll have to spend some time browsing the ksf website. Interesting idea about the retractable red & green lights. Ed, I think you are probably right about the strobe being strictly a US feature. I'll check that USCG site for further details. Wayne, "you've got mail"! Thanks again. :)
George "Crazy Ivan" Protchenko

“There are the assassins, the dealers in death; I am the Avenger!”-Nemo
"I'm disinclined to acquiesce to your request; means No!"-Capt.Barbossa
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