Nothing remains of the Libyan submarine fleet except for rusty structures distributed on the ports, after it was a dream of a striking naval power project that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi sought to build in the seventies and eighties.
Among the many dreams of the late Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, is to have a military force that terrorizes his enemies and protects his sprawling country.
The regime made great efforts in this direction, especially in the seventies and eighties of the last century, and allocated huge funds to purchase thousands of tanks and hundreds of warplanes of various types, including long-range Tu-22 bombers, as well as warships, including those designated for landing.
The Gaddafi regime attached special importance to the naval forces because Libya has a long coastline on the Mediterranean, more than 1,800 km, and because of the series of tensions with the United States and its fear of a threat to the Sixth Fleet, the American arm in the Mediterranean basin.
Gaddafi set out from an early period to build a naval force, he tried to provide it with various types of ships and missile boats, and he bought important weapons of these types from France and Italy and then relied more on the Soviet Union to achieve this dream.
Military cooperation between Libya and the Soviet Union began in 1973. Between 1973 and 1983, Moscow sent about 500 military advisers and translators to Libya. With the expansion of military cooperation between the two countries, the number of these experts doubled, with Libya acquiring various modern Soviet equipment and weapons.
The Libyan submarine project began its story at the end of 1971, with a meeting between leaders in the Libyan Navy and officials in the Soviet Navy, but it ended in failure, due to the lack of experts in submarine affairs in the ranks of the Libyan delegation.
The Libyans tried again to buy submarines from the Soviet Union, and the attempt was successful this time, as the Libyan Navy obtained the first of six diesel-powered submarines in December 1977, and the submarine called Badr joined the Libyan Navy, followed by the Al-Fateh submarine in February 1978, and one in March 1978, and dozens of Libyan sailors received training courses in Soviet military institutions.
By 1983, Libya had acquired three other submarines of the same type, bringing its fleet of submarines to six bearing the following names: “Badr, Al-Fateh, Uhud, Al-Madraqa, Khaybar, Hunayn.”
NATO calls such Soviet submarines of Project 641 the “Foxtrot class.” The length of this submarine is 89 meters, its weight at buoyancy is 1983 tons, and the weight when diving is 2515 tons. It is capable of surface navigation for a distance of 37,000 km, and under water. For a distance of 20,000 km.
What happened to the Libyan submarines?
The Libyan submarine crews were unable to deal with this type of modern and advanced weapons that require great care and capabilities for their operation and maintenance, so neglect began to creep in after two years of obtaining them.
The Libyan submarine fleet has rarely carried out real naval missions in the Mediterranean, and these submarines remained motionless in the rusting Libyan ports, five of them in the ports of the east of the country, and one was sent in the early nineties to Latvia, then belonging to the Soviet Union to carry out reforms and remained there after its dissolution.