Project 971 Щука-Б (Shchuka-B, ‘Shchuka’ meaning “pike”, NATO reporting name “Akula”), is a nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) first deployed by the Soviet Navy in 1986. There are four sub-classes or flights of Shchuka, consisting of the original seven “Akula I” submarines which were commissioned between 1984 and 1990, six “Improved Akula” submarines commissioned between 1991 and 2009, one “Akula II” submarine commissioned in 1995 and one “Akula III” commissioned in 2001. The Russians call all of the submarines Schuka-B, regardless of modifications. The name Akula (Акула meaning “shark” in Russian) is the Soviet designation of the ballistic missile submarine class designated by NATO as the Typhoon class submarine. The name Akula was used as the NATO designation of the Projekt 971 because the first of the class was the K-284 christened Akula.