ST. PETERSBURG, June 26 (Xinhua) -- The Russian Navy on Thursday held an official ceremony in this northern city of St. Petersburg to mark the launch of a new diesel-electric submarine in the latest addition to its Black Sea Fleet.
The General Director of St. Petersburg's Admiralty Shipyards Alexander Buzakov said at Thursday's launching ceremony that the new diesel-electric submarine Rostov-na-Donu, along with other vessels in the ongoing Project 636 series, represented a ' thoroughgoing modernization' of existing Russian submarine technology.
"The outside remains the same, but inside is completely different: a new torpedo defense system, new acoustic technology and new radio-electric equipment," Buzakov said.
The Rostov-na-Donu will join its Project 636 sister sub Novorossiysk for Black Sea duties which will include "working together with surface forces and anti-submarine aircraft to solve complex problems" in its operating areas, according to Russian Navy spokesman Admiral Viktor Chirkov.
As well as covering the Black Sea, the new sub is also set to assist Russian naval activities in the neighboring Mediterranean.
Over the next few years, a total of six diesel-electric submarines are scheduled to join the Black Sea Fleet under the auspices of Project 636, with work on the third and fourth subs in the series, Stary Oskol and Krasnodar, already underway. The vessels are designed to combine a high level of stealth with the ability to detect and attack enemy craft from a long range.
Project 636 is part of a broader development strategy for Russia's Black Sea Fleet. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has promised an investment of more than 86 billion rubles (about 2. 55 billion U.S. dollars) in the Black Sea Fleet up to 2020.