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Victor-III class submarine nose-dives, as seen in The World Is Not Enough (1999).

The Victor-III class is the NATO reporting name for a type of nuclear-powered submarine that was put into service by the Soviet Union in 1979; 25 were produced until 1991.[1] The vessel was primarily designed to protect Soviet surface fleets and to attack American ballistic missile submarines.

The Victor III Class, like its earlier versions served as a replacement for the Soviet November Class Submarine.

A depiction of a Victor class submarine was used prominently in the 1999 James Bond film, The World Is Not Enough, as a key element in the film's antagonists' plan.

Real-world background

As with other members of the Victor-class, the Victor-III featured a teardrop shape, which allowed it to travel at high speed. Quieter than previous Soviet submarines, these ships had 4 tubes for launching SS-N-21 or SS-N-15 missiles and Type 53 torpedoes, plus another 2 tubes for launching SS-N-16 missiles and Type 65 torpedoes. 24 tube-launched weapons or 36 mines could be on board. The Victor-III caused a minor furore in NATO intelligence agencies at its introduction because of the distinctive pod on the vertical stern-plane. Speculation immediately mounted that the pod was the housing for some sort of exotic silent propulsion system, possibly a magnetohydrodynamic drive unit. Another theory proposed that it was some sort of weapon system. In the end, the Victor-III's pod was identified as a hydrodynamic housing for a reelable towed passive sonar array; the system was subsequently incorporated into the Sierra class and and Akula-class submarine SSNs. The Victor III class was continuously improved during construction and late production models have a superior acoustic performance.[2] They were 106m long. 21 disposed.[3]

Film appearance

In the film The World Is Not Enough, the antagonists, Renard and Elektra King, steal a Victor-III class submarine in order to use it as a bomb. The plan involved the submarine being piloted into the Bosphorus, where it would self-destruct after having its reactor core overloaded with a plutonium fuel rod, resulting in an explosion that would kill eight million people and contaminate the waters of the Bosphorus, leaving the Russians unable to use their oil pipeline in the Bosphorus, and therefore leave Elektra with a monopoly on the world's crude oil market.

The submarine was at first under the command of Captain Nikolai, nephew of Valentin Zukovsky. Renard had hired Nikolai and his crew for smuggling purposes, until Renard turned the tables and had the entire crew poisoned and killed. He and his men then hijacked the submarine and tried to pilot it out on their kamikaze mission.

Unfortunately, James Bond - alias 007 - shot Elektra dead and sneaked himself aboard the submarine. In the ensuing fight which resulted in the deaths of all of Renard's men, the submarine was sent crashing to the seabed, with a ruptured hull. Despite learning of the deaths of his co-conspirators, Renard pressed ahead with his plan, but was killed by Bond, who fired the plutonium rod out of the reactor and into Renard's heart. However, the submarine flooded, its coolant system destroyed, which still caused the submarine to explode, but not before Bond fired himself out of the submarine through one of the torpedo launchers.



  1. Submarines of the Russian and Soviet Navies 1718-1990, Norman Polmar and Jurrien Noot, Naval Institute Press, 1991
  2. Run Silent, Run Deep - Navy Ships
  3. 671 (). Retrieved on 19 December 2014.
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