Google Earth Imagery Update: Russian submarines

Google has done another imagery update. We have mapped out the approximate locations of imagery for March, April and May, 2016 and show the additions since the last update, which was just a week ago.

May imagery. Red:Recently added imagery. Blue:imagery as of May 29th.

April imagery. Red:Recently added imagery. Blue:imagery as of May 29th.

March imagery. Red:Recently added imagery. Blue:imagery as of May 29th.

To view the outlines in Google Earth download this KML file. Note that these are fairly low resolution maps so the outlines are larger than the actual imagery.

Thank you to GEB reader Ben Reuter for letting us know in the comments of our month end post that there is new imagery of the Russian naval yard at Severodvinsk showing what he says is Russian submarine BS-64.

Possibly Russian submarine BS-64. April 28th, 2016.

There is also a slightly newer image:

Possibly Russian submarine BS-64. May 16th, 2016.

Ben says it is the world’s longest submarine. However, according to Wikipedia, BS-64 is 167 m whereas it lists Russian Typhoon-class submarines at 175 m. Within the same naval yard are what we believe are three different Typhoon-class submarines, possibly TK-208, TK20 and TK17.

Possibly Russian submarine TK-208 (the larger sub in the image)

Possibly Russian submarines TK-20 and TK-17

Measuring them with the Google Earth ruler we get:
BS-64 at 169.5 m
TK-208 at 170 m
TK-20 at 165 m
TK-17 at 165 m

Keep in mind that there may be extra length underwater and we are only measuring the visible parts. In addition, TK-208, TK20 and TK17 all have the exact same body length, but the rudder part seems a bit longer on TK 208, we think because it is a bit higher in the water, exposing parts that are submerged in the other two.

Based on historical imagery, it would appear TK20 and TK17 have not been moved since 2009 and even have 3D models of them in that position, and if you turn on the Panaromio layer there are a couple of photos taken on board one of them.

So, do any of our readers know which of these submarines are still in active duty of some sort? Secondly, which is truly the longest and are they all four, longer than any other submarines in the world?

To find the submarines in Google Earth download this KML file. Be sure to look around as there are other smaller submarines too!

Also of interest, the Wikipedia page shows a declassified satellite image of a Typhoon-class submarine berthed where we think TK-208 is now. It was captured in 1982. It is interesting to compare the state of the art satellite imagery available only to governments at that time, and classified “Top Secret”, whereas now we have better quality imagery (although surprisingly not that much better) freely available to the public.

About Timothy Whitehead

Timothy has been using Google Earth since 2004 when it was still called Keyhole before it was renamed Google Earth in 2005 and has been a huge fan ever since. He is a programmer working for Red Wing Aerobatx and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.


  1. ben reuter says:

    Hi Timothy!
    Thanks, but it is not worthwhile to mention me. Many people contribute to your fine work!
    About BS-64. You got it.
    BTW: If you switch the history layer to 9/21/15 you find this monster out of the water and can use the ruler 64.586300° 39.816667°
    I would say Typhoon and Delta IV Stretch (BS-64) is about the same (~175m).
    To those who are interested: In your other picture there is an Akula I class on top of the Typhoon TK-208. It is K-295 Samara waiting for overhaul.
    Here are some other IDs
    Both images (April is better than May image) show basically the same ships. Just the position of K-295 Samara is sligthly different

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