Algeria’s Deputy Minister of Defence, Lt Gen Ahmed Gaïd Salah, commissioned two new KILO-class submarines (OUARSENIS and HOGGAR) at the Mers El Kébir naval base in Oran on 9 January.
Ordered in 2013-2014, the two Project 636 KILO-class diesel-electric boats arrived in Algeria from the Admiralty Shipyard in Saint Petersburg in the second half of 2018. Two similar boats, ordered in a $400 million deal in 2006, were delivered in 2010 and joined two older Project 877EKM KILOs, delivered in 1987-88 and subsequently upgraded by Russian Shipyards. An additional two 877EKM boats are believed to be on order, with delivery scheduled over the next two years.
Ordered at the same time as the newly-commissioned boats were TEST-71 torpedoes, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). This is widely regarded as the most destructive of the current generation of Russian torpedoes, configured for both ant-surface and anti-submarine warfare.
The 3,000t, 73m Project 636E design has a reported submerged speed of approx. 25 kts and an endurance of up to 45 days. Carrying 18 torpedoes for its six 533mm tubes, it can also carry 24 AM-1 seamines or four KALIBR cruise missiles. Its basic design, coupled with an advanced acoustic dampening cladding make it among the quietest submarines in its class, according to leading maritime strategists.