Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Russia's Admirality Shipyards will lay down two new diesel-electric submarines in 2017, according to state media reports.
The vessels will be the the first of six planned Project 636.3 submarines to be acquired for the country's Pacific Fleet. Project 636.3 is an effort to develop improved Varshavyanka-class subs, which go by the NATO reporting name Kilo. The last of six Varshavyanka-class submarines built for the Black Sea Fleet was launched in 2015.
Defense officials say work on the project will be conducted in St. Petersberg, but did not disclose an official timeline. Russia's TASS news agency reports the Kremlin expects the work to be completed in 2021.
Kilo-class submarines are designed for anti-ship and anti-submarine operations in relatively shallow waters.
The Kremlin signed off on the construction of six new submarines in September 2016. Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering, the submarine's developer, says the new vessels will feature improved combat effectiveness and enhanced stealth and navigation capabilities.