|For other submarines.|
|“|| Akula Sub ready for the deep.|
The Akula was a class of Soviet submarine in service during Great World War IIII. The Akula is armed with only torpedoes and specializes in anti-ship operations. These torpedoes are an improvement over early designs as they have a sophisticated tracking system to ensure a hit on enemy vessels.
|“|| Mayday! MAYDAY!|
- Akula under attack
Recent years have seen the Soviet Union pursuing an aggressive policy towards all perceived threats to its waterways, including the sinking of numerous civilian cargo ships and passenger liners. Emblematic of this attitude is the Akula Attack Sub, a stealthy and deadly undersea killer that is often held up as a symbol of Soviet aggression. For all of its notoriety, however, details about the Akula were largely a mystery until an Allied cargo ship found a Soviet sailor adrift in open waters, miles from all known Soviet naval forces.
The sailor, an illiterate peasant impressed into the Soviet naval service, was a crewmember of the Akula Sub K-420. During regular maintenance of one of the Akula's torpedoes, he had inadvertently damaged that torpedo’s motor, preventing an attack on the undefended Allied ship. The captain, uncharacteristically calm, ordered the sailor into a loaded torpedo tube to attempt a repair before the enemy escaped. He then ejected the crippled torpedo into the ocean along with the surprised sailor, who, resigned to his fate, swam to the surface to await capture.
Based on evidence like that gleaned from the Soviet sailor’s interrogation, Allied commanders have been piecing together the story of the Akula Sub. During its design, the Soviet navy knew it needed an effective ship killer, but also that they would have to crew these ships with poorly trained crews, often with no maritime experience. As a result, they chose the RU-7 torpedo as the Akula's main weapon. Based on the previous generation of Soviet torpedoes, the RU-7 is a time-tested design, reliable, effective, and easily used even by an inexperienced crew.
Soviet commanders realized, however, that an even more powerful weapon was needed to deal with the new generation of larger, more heavily armored naval vessels, so the Akula fleet was also given the new RU-20 "supercavitating" torpedoes. Monstrous in size and power, the RU-20s give the Akula an immense destructive capability. However, their power is offset by a slow firing rate, trading a lengthy loading and firing sequence for high reliability.
Beyond the technical specifications of the sub, the captured sailor also gave insight into life aboard an Akula. The frantic pace of Soviet naval operations requires Akulas to stay at sea for years at a time. These long tours, in cramped quarters, skulking under tons of ocean while searching for prey, take a heavy psychological toll on the crews, and Akula captains use a heavy hand to maintain discipline and combat effectiveness. Failure is not tolerated, and reprimands are harsh. Some critics argue that these extreme conditions are detrimental to the Akulas’ ability to carry out their missions, but their overwhelming effectiveness against enemy naval forces indicates otherwise. Indeed, the price of failure seems to be the whetstone that hones both crew and sub into such a deadly weapon.
|“|| What's that dripping sound?!|
The Akula is actually quite conventional as far as submarines go. It has two turbines, and the hull design shows some of it's ancestry in the Typhoon Attack Submarine. There are 2 torpedo tubes protruding out the front, from which both normal torpedoes and Ultratorpedoes are fired. Normal torpedoes are fired one at a time in short sequence while both Ultratorpedoes are fired at the same time. The conning tower of the Akula sub is a new, more streamlined design when compared to the Typhoon. The Akula also features rather heavy armor, making it one of the best-protected vessels in the Soviet Navy, second only to the Dreadnought. To produce the Akula submarine, Soviet Commanders must have already built both a Naval yard and a Super Reactor. The Akula must surface to fire it's normal torpedoes, which are more accurate and faster than the older Typhoon's, but otherwise stays submerged, even when under attack. It costs $1800 to produce at the Naval Yard and is thus somewhat expensive.
|“|| We've been hit haven't we?!|
Ultra-torpedoes are the Akula's special attack. They are fast-accelerating torpedoes that lack guidance systems but pack extremely powerful explosives. They can only move in a straight line and will keep on moving until they hit land, a structure, or a unit (be it friend or foe). The recharge time for the ultra-torpedoes is considerable and the ability should be used strategically. They are highly effective against structures and slow-moving units such as aircraft carriers. One tactic used by Soviet commanders is to fire one salvo of regular torpedoes, and since the submarine lines up with the target, the ultra-torpedoes are much more accurate when they are fired.
Alternatively, if the enemy has no submarine defense, the ultra-torpedoes can be used in a sort of building sniper manoeuvre, by placing the Akula in "hold fire" mode (thus preventing it from automatically surfacing) and then launching the ultra-torpedoes at a high-value target. Since the Akula does not have to surface to fire the ultra-torpedoes, this is extremely effective at killing off outlying power plants, or even better, base defenses, without fear of retaliation. The ultra-torpedoes also have incredible range (technically infinite, as long as they don't hit anything), so if your aim is good enough, they can do this far enough away from the target as to be even outside of your enemy's sight, leaving them short a power plant and clueless as to what killed it. In serious competitive play, this has a very big psychological impact on most opponents.
|“|| Send them to the abyss!|
Akulas were first deployed by the Soviet Commander in Geneva, after the Allies used the Chronosphere to teleport Aircraft Carriers into Lake Geneva, making the Naval threat higher than expected. They also played a significant role in the battle of Mykonos, the destruction of Von Esling Airbase, Easter Island and the battle for New York, significantly countering Allied naval power. They are the primary anti-ship vessel of the Soviet Navy and have good armor and excellent firepower against ships (and only ships).
|“|| Stay on them Crew!|
The Akula submarine is more capable than the Allied assault destroyer on a one-on-one basis, and it can only defeat a Naginata Cruiser if it uses its ultra torpedoes. It is only capable of attacking naval vessels and is somewhat more vulnerable to large numbers of enemies than the Naginata, which has the Type-S torpedo special attack and a higher rate of fire. The time it takes to surface also results in a significant pre-attack delay. On the other hand, they are great for taking out important ships and for scouting. While submerged, they are invulnerable to most weapons except base defenses, torpedoes and the Assault Destroyer's main gun. As with the Naginata's Type-S, care must be taken when using the Ultratorpedoes, lest they incur friendly fire. The Akula is best used in 'wolf-packs' of up to 6 submarines; they work exceptionally well as an escort to the Dreadnought.
Notes from the Field
Battlefield reconnaissance has revealed at least these facts about the Akula Sub:
- Dive! Dive! -- Akula Subs spend most of their time submerged, needing to surface only to target their RU-7 torpedos. Since most surface and air units are unable to target submerged vehicles, Akulas are able to travel most waters with impunity. They excel at escorting more vulnerable ships, such as the Dreadnought, as well as carrying out hit and run operations against enemy naval bases.
- Heavy Hitter -- The RU-20 supercavitating torpedoes are extremely powerful, but they carry no internal guidance. This allows them to be fired underwater; but they cannot track targets, travelling instead in a straight line. They also lack the ability to distinguish friend from foe, and more than one Soviet ship has been sunk because it accidentally crossed in front of one of these devastating weapons.
- Stand-Off Capability -- Enemies of the Soviet Union have begun fielding defensive structures that can target and destroy even submerged Akula subs. The RU-20's extreme long range and destructive power makes it the weapon of choice for the discerning commander to take out these defenses.
- High Tech -- Their titanium alloy hull make Akulas very expensive, and the Soviet Admiralty dole them out sparingly to field commanders. In addition, they require a Super Reactor to charge their advanced batteries. This means that Akulas are usually only found in the most intense combat zones.