History of the Akula III
The Akula class, Soviet designation Project 971 Shchuka-B (Russian: Щука-Б, lit. 'Pike-B', NATO reporting name Akula) are a series of fourth generation nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) first deployed by the Soviet Navy in 1986. There are four sub-classes or flights of Shchuka-B, consisting of the original seven Project 971 boats (codenamed Akula I), commissioned between 1984 and 1990; six Project 971Is (Improved Akulas), commissioned between 1991 and 2009; one Project 971U (Akula II), commissioned in 1995; and one Project 971M (Akula III), commissioned in 2001. The Russians call all of the submarines Shchuka-B, regardless of modifications.
Some confusion may exist as the name Akula (Russian: Акула, meaning "shark" in Russian) was used by the Soviets for a different class of submarines, the Project 941, which is known in the West as the Typhoon class. The Project 971 was named Shchuka-B by the Soviets but given the designation Akula by the West after the name of the lead ship, K-284.
According to defence analyst Norman Polmar, the launch of the first submarine in 1985, "shook everyone [in the West] up", as Western intelligence agencies had not expected the Soviet Union to produce such a boat for another ten years
K-157 Vepr is the only completed Akula II (see the table below). The Akula II is 3 metres (9.8 ft) longer and displaces about 700 tons (submerged displacement) more than the Akula I. The added space was used for additional quieting measures. K-157 Vepr became the first Russian submarine that was quieter than the latest U.S. attack submarines of that time, which was the improved Los Angeles class (SSN 751 and later).Two of these submarines were used to build the Borei-class SSBNs.